Being pregnant for the first time before 30 years old reduces your long-term breast cancer risk.

While pregnant, you may be more susceptible to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs).

Pregnant people have higher levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in their bodies due to their higher food and drink consumption.

The risk of EDC exposure is not only limited to you. EDCs can cross the placenta and may reach your baby.

Our tips to reduce your risk

If you can, buy organic food.

Avoid pre-packaged food and store your food in glass containers.

Use a glass or stainless-steel reusable water bottle.

Avoid cosmetic and personal care products containing EDCs.

Stay active during pregnancy where possible.

Does the breast change during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, the structures of the breast responsible for producing milk are significantly expanded in preparation for breastfeeding. This process is under the control of the milk-producing hormone prolactin, as well as progesterone and oestrogen.

Can I get breast cancer while pregnant?

Pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PABC) is very rare, but possible. This is when breast cancer is diagnosed during pregnancy, or in the first year after giving birth, it occurs in approximately 1 in every 3,000 pregnancies.

Does being pregnant affect my short-term breast cancer risk?

The first pregnancy, at any age, increases the short-term risk of breast cancer. The increased risk peaks 5 years after childbirth and continues for about 24 years.

Is my long-term breast cancer risk affected by my age at first pregnancy?

The overall breast cancer risk during your lifetime is reduced if you have your first pregnancy before the age of 30. This protective effect is not seen for people who are 30 to 34 years old during their first pregnancy. If you are 35 years old or older during your first pregnancy, your overall risk of breast cancer may be increased compared to people who were never pregnant.

Am I more exposed to EDCs during pregnancy?

Some studies have found higher levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in pregnant individuals. One reason for this may be the higher food and water consumption during pregnancy. More studies are needed to measure if this may be the case also for other EDCs that can be found in food and water.

Is there a link between exposure to EDCs during pregnancy and breast cancer?

So far, studies have focused on how EDCs, through maternal exposure, reach the unborn baby in the womb and affect the baby’s health later in life. Studies are needed to find out if there is a link between EDC exposure during pregnancy and breast cancer risk in the mother.

For more details and references, please see our Critical Windows of Susceptibility for Breast Development science review.

Please see our leaflet on how to protect yours and your baby’s health.

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