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Get Ready, Because We're About to Drop the ‘Breast’ Facts Ever

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is the Health Editor at SheKnows. She is a bioethicist and writer specializing in sexual and reproductive health and the intersection of bioethics and popular culture. She is an adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham ...

Everything you've wanted to know about boobs, but were afraid to ask

Breasts. We all have them, but only half of us are expected to cover them up in public. They can be a source of food, an important indicator of your health and — like it or not — are something we literally carry on our chests every day for most of our lives. So let’s take a look at some of the "breast" facts ever.

We may call them the “twins,” but they’re actually more fraternal than identical. Most women’s breasts are two different sizes, and this is totally normal. Usually the right one is bigger (though different studies of breast volume have come up with conflicting conclusions).

Men have breasts and nipples because all fetuses start off with biologically female characteristics. Then around the sixth week of gestation, testosterone kicks in, causing fetuses with a Y chromosome to develop testes and a penis. But at that stage, the breasts are a done deal.

More: Understanding the Lumps & Bumps in Your Breasts

People who breastfeed typically produce approximately 16 to 42 ounces of milk per day. So just over a course of six months, that’s 23 to 59 gallons.

The word “brassiere” comes from the French for “upper arm”…which is a bit of a stretch, anatomically, but the word has been in use since at least 1907 when it appeared in the pages of Vogue.

No one really “invented” the bra, per se. For as long as women have been around, we’ve been coming up with different methods of support going back as far as ancient Greece and Rome, where women would wrap themselves in bands of fabric. But socialite Mary Phelps Jacobs is credited with receiving the patent for the first modern bra in 1914 after she sewed some handkerchiefs and ribbons together to make an undergarment suitable for wearing under the plunging necklines in style at the time.

More: No, an Underwire Bra Won't Give You Cancer (& 9 Other Breast Health Myths)

You probably already know the importance of investing in a well-fitting sports bra, but did you know that during physical activity, breasts move in a figure-eight shape? And once the ligaments and connective tissue in your breasts wear out — kind of like a rubber band — there’s no way to reverse it (without surgery). And of course, your breasts are beautiful no matter what.

Thanks to the fact that breasts are pretty much everywhere you look, some people may have a certain idea of what “proper” breasts are supposed to look like. But really, breasts come in all different shapes, sizes and colors.

Of course, you should also be familiar with what your breasts look and feel like so you’re able to notice when something is not normal. In that case, it’s best to let a doctor weigh in. But so many of the things we feel like we should be embarrassed about are totally common.

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