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Relationship between mammary gland structures during pregnancy and breast-feeding

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Abstract

Study Purpose Diagnostic indices for prediction of breast milk production and assessment of care necessary for mammary gland structure during the pregnancy period were investigated. Methods Development of mammary gland during the pregnancy period was examined via ultrasound methodology. Each subject underwent three measurements once per trimester. Quantity of post-partum breast milk production was also measured ; furthermore, the relationship between mammary gland image and production quantity was evaluated. Results and conclusion As previously reported, mammary gland reaches a certain level of development during the course of pregnancy. Four distinct types of developmental pattern were observed. Mammary gland exhibited remarkable development up to the 15th week of pregnancy in comparison with non-pregnant adult females in type 1. In type 2, mammary gland displayed significant development from the 16th to the 35th week of pregnancy. In types 3 and 4, mammary gland tissue development, which was apparent from 35 weeks, was characterized by gland thickness of > 20 mm and < 20 mm, respectively. Among these four types, type 1 mammary gland demonstrated the largest level of breast milk production. Therefore, we suggest that understanding with respect to mammary gland structure during pregnancy contributes toward individual support in breast-feeding following childbirth.

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