Lump in Armpit During Pregnancy: Can it be Cancerous?


In this article:

What is a Lump?
Is it Cancerous or Harmless?
How Common are these Lumps?
Can Lymph Nodes Swell During Pregnancy?
Should I See a Doctor?

lump in armpit

A Guide for Lump in Armpit During Pregnancy

What is a Lump?

A woman’s body undergoes many changes during pregnancy both internally as well as externally. If you come across a painless lump in the armpit when you are pregnant, no doubt it will leave you worried. This lump will be weird to look at but it can also indicate a problem that would manifest later on. Knowing what it truly is can help you stay calm and relaxed.

The lump is also a part of the breast. Yes, it may be strange to hear this since we believe that the breast is usually the portion that is present on the region of the chest. In reality, the actual section can extend to the armpit as well, reaching the point of division quite easily. The lines that occur when this happens, resembling a valley of sorts, are termed as milk ridges. Breasts undergo an expansion during pregnancy and even when lactation sets in after the child has been delivered. This can cause the breast tissue to expand in the area of the armpit as well.


Read More:Dark Underarms in Women: Causes and Remedies

Is it Cancerous or Harmless?

Most armpit lumps are harmless and the direct result of abnormal tissue growth. However, armpit lumps may indicate a much more serious underlying health issue. If this is the case, it will most likely require medical intervention.

Some of the most common causes of armpit lumps include:

  • noncancerous, fibrous tissue growth (fibroadenoma)
  • cysts or fluid filled sacs
  • allergic reactions to deodorant, antiperspirant, or soap
  • viral or bacterial infections
  • infections that drain into the lump in the armpit
  • fatty growths (lipomas)
  • adverse reactions to vaccinations
  • fungal infections
  • lupus
  • breast cancer
  • lymphoma
  • Leukemia

The lump can also be an effect of infections. The infections can cause the following symptoms to occur with the armpit lump:

  • swelling throughout the lymph nodes in the body
  • fever
  • night sweats

While the majority of lumps are benign, experts at the Susan F. Smith Centre for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber say it is important for women to speak with their doctor if they notice changes to their breasts.


In general, cancerous lumps tend to be more irregular in shape. They may also feel firm or solid, and might be fixed to the tissue in the breast. They are also often painless. However, in a small percentage of women, a painful breast lump turns out to be cancer.

Read More:Body Odor During Pregnancy: 11 Ways to Get Rid Of It

How Common are these Lumps?

Armpit lumps are very common and are normally caused by a swollen lymph node or gland under the armpit. However, there are many other causes for armpit lumps, some of which may require treatment.

During pregnancy, as the body transits through hormonal and physical changes, the lymph nodes swell up indicating that the body is fighting off specific infections. Lymph nodes are placed around the throat, under the jaw, under the arms, in the groin, behind the ears, and at the base of the skull. And swollen glands in pregnancy are a common thing to happen. They, however, need to be treated immediately so as to avoid any fatalities during pregnancy.

Can Lymph Nodes Swell During Pregnancy?

Sometimes the swelling may occur under the arm due to milk production in the breasts or in the neck region due to infection in the upper respiratory system in pregnancy. It can also be caused due to parasites found in soil and cat litter or due to uncooked meat containing parasites. Enlargement of the gland is sometimes gradual or rapid. The other reasons responsible for it are common infections, immune system disorders, cancer, etc.


Exposure to bacteria or virus can cause swollen lymph nodes. The signs include a runny nose, fever, sore throat, etc. Fixed and hard rapidly growing node indicates a tumour. Swollen lymph nodes pregnancy symptoms indicate an infection or immune disorder. Sometimes night sweats are also a sign of swollen lymph nodes.

This swelling can cause the arms to feel sore and some pain may be experienced.

Should I See a Doctor?

If ever you notice swollen lymph nodes during pregnancy, you must visit the doctor. If the swelling is associated with fever, weight loss or night sweats, it will require a thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional. If the problem persists see a doctor immediately. If you have swollen lymph nodes which aren’t related to cold or flu and last for more than a week then seek a health care professional soon.

Women can develop many symptoms during pregnancy, but swollen glands are not a typical, normal occurrence during pregnancy. Swollen glands represent enlarged lymph nodes which should not be ignored. They enlarge when immune cells fight an infection in the body. It is always safe to consult an OBGYN to regain peace of mind during pregnancy.

At the time of pregnancy, a diagnosis by a doctor can reveal the real cause of swelling in the lymph nodes. The doctor will ask for the medical history after which he will conduct a physical exam. When the doctor suspects the cause, blood test reports are required to confirm or eliminate the suspected cause. If required, an x-ray or CT scan of the affected area is suggested to determine the potential source of infection or finding tumours. A microscopic examination of a sample from lymph is done to diagnose the cause in the biopsy report.


Swelling due to infection resolves to normal after the fever returns to normal. Swelling caused due to bacterial infection requires antibiotics. Specific treatment is given to HIV infected persons. Surgery, radiation or chemotherapy is suggested for patients diagnosed with cancer. Apart from these, if the swollen lymph nodes are painful, a warm compress in the affected area provides relief. An over-the-counter pain reliever can provide instant relief from pain. Adequate rest is also required to recover speedily. Pregnant ladies need great care due to the growing embryo within.

Prevention of Lump in Armpit During Pregnancy

Practising good health habits and avoiding risky sexual behaviour may help prevent swollen lymph nodes. Pregnant ladies should avoid contact with people who are sick. Expectant mothers should follow a healthy diet which is low in saturated fat. You should also include whole grain, vegetables, and fruits.

Hope this article was of help to you! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy, Healthy and Empowered Women!!