Montgomery’s tubercles, or follicles, are small, oil-producing bumps on the areola, which is the darker area surrounding the nipple on a woman’s breast. These tubercles become more noticeable during pregnancy due to hormonal changes, as they assist in lubricating and protecting the nipples for breastfeeding. Despite varying in size and number from woman to woman, they are a normal part of the breast anatomy.

Key Takeaways

  1. Montgomery’s tubercles, also called Montgomery’s glands, are small, oil-producing glands on the surface of the areola surrounding the nipple of the breast. They are named after the Irish obstetrician who first described them, Dr. William Fetherstone Montgomery.
  2. These tubercles are particularly visible and become more prominent during pregnancy and breastfeeding. They are responsible for producing an oily secretion to lubricate the nipple. This secretion also has antibacterial properties, protecting the nipples from infection during lactation.
  3. While the number of Montgomery’s tubercles can vary greatly from woman to woman, they are a normal feature of the breast. Their presence or increase in visibility is not usually a cause for concern, but any changes to the breasts during or outside of pregnancy should be discussed with a healthcare professional.


Montgomery’s tubercles or follicles are important in motherhood because they play a critical role in breastfeeding.

These are small, oil-producing glands that are found around the areola of the breast.

During pregnancy and breastfeeding, they increase in number and size and produce an oily substance that lubricates and protects the nipple against cracking and drying.

This oil also has antimicrobial properties, which aids in preventing infections, crucial especially during the vulnerable period of breastfeeding.

Hence, Montgomery’s tubercles or follicles contribute significantly to successful breastfeeding and newborn nutrition, underlining their importance for mothers.


Montgomery’s tubercles, also known as Montgomery’s glands, serve a crucial role in the process of motherhood. These small, raised bumps or follicles on the surface of the areola serve a protective function for both the mother and the newborn.

This is because their main purpose is to produce and secrete oily substances that keep the areola and nipple area lubricated and moisturized, thus preventing dryness, cracking, and potential infections that could be harmful during the breastfeeding process. Moreover, Montgomery’s tubercles are believed to serve an essential role in newborn nourishment.

The substance they secrete has a distinct aroma, which could be helpful in guiding the newborn towards the nipple for breastfeeding. Some research suggests that this fragrance is similar to the amniotic fluid smell, making it familiar to the infant.

Therefore, these glands are quite significant in facilitating the early stages of breastfeeding, making the transition to postnatal life easier for the newborn.

Examples of Montgomery’s tubercles or follicles

Expecting Mother: Mrs. Smith is pregnant with her second child. She has started noticing small bumps on her areola that weren’t as pronounced in her first pregnancy. After a quick visit to her obstetrician, she is reassured when they explain that these bumps are known as Montgomery’s tubercles and are a completely natural part of pregnancy. Their biological role is to produce oils that lubricate the breast during breastfeeding and they often become more pronounced during pregnancy.

Breastfeeding Mother: Jane is a new mother who is choosing to breastfeed her newborn son. She has noticed that the small bumps on her areola, which her doctor referred to as Montgomery’s tubercles, are helping to keep her nipples lubricated and less prone to becoming dry or irritated during breastfeeding sessions.

Pre-pregnancy Indicator: Mrs. Robinson has been trying to get pregnant for several months. She has been monitoring her body closely for any changes that could indicate a successful conception. One day, she notices small bumps on her areola that weren’t there before. After some quick research and a trip to her doctor, she learns these bumps – Montgomery’s tubercles – can sometimes be an early sign of pregnancy since they proliferate in response to hormonal shifts. Considering this alongside other signs, she takes a pregnancy test and confirms she is indeed pregnant.

FAQ: Montgomery’s Tubercles or Follicles

What are Montgomery’s tubercles or follicles?

Montgomery’s tubercles or follicles are small, raised bumps that appear around the areolas of the breasts. They are basically sweat glands that produce oils to maintain the health of the nipple and areola.

When do Montgomery’s tubercles become prominent?

Montgomery’s tubercles become more prominent during pregnancy. They may also enlarge and darken with hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur during a menstrual cycle.

Are Montgomery’s tubercles a sign of early pregnancy?

For some women, Montgomery’s tubercles are an early sign of pregnancy. However, changes in their appearance can also occur due to hormonal changes throughout the menstrual cycle, so they should not be used as an absolute indicator of pregnancy.

Do all women have Montgomery’s tubercles?

All women have Montgomery’s tubercles, but they are usually quite small and may not be noticeable at all in some women. They become more obvious when a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding.

Do Montgomery’s tubercles disappear after breastfeeding?

Montgomery’s tubercles may become less noticeable after breastfeeding, but they do not completely disappear. They will still be present on the areola but may decrease in size and prominence.

Related Motherhood Terms

  • Areola
  • Lactation
  • Mammary glands
  • Colostrum
  • Pregnancy

Sources for More Information

  • Mayo Clinic: A non-profit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, comprehensive care to everyone who needs healing.
  • Healthline: Provides medical information and health advice for better life choices by medical experts.
  • Medical News Today: An online health information site that provides health news along with detailed reference material about health topics.
  • Verywell Health: An online resource that provides health and medical information to improve the health of users and their families.