Sore nipples are one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent and treat it.
Why does Nipple Pain Occur?
An estimated 90 percent of mothers will experience tender nipples before or after giving birth. It can be caused by everything from ill-fitting clothes to increased levels of estrogen and progesterone in your blood, and it can happen during any trimester or all of them. Ultimately, it’s a sign that your body is getting ready to nourish your baby.
The good news is that you don’t have to suffer nine months of painful nipples. There are plenty of methods for soothing, treating and even preventing the hurt! Here are just seven of the remedies that you might try.
1. Apply Heat
Heat is a time-honored cure for the aches and pains of your body. You’ll just have to be careful when you’re applying it to a sensitive area like your nipples. Don’t make it overly hot and don’t use anything with a rough texture like an electric blanket. The best application would be with a warm, wet cloth placed gently over your nipples. The heat will diminish any inflammation and the moisture will keep them from cracking or drying out.
2. Wear Nursing Pads
Despite their name, nursing pads aren’t only meant for nursing. You can also use them as an expectant mother, especially if you’ve already started to leak. The discharge is called “colostrum” or “pre-milk,” and it describes a clear or yellowish fluid that comes from the nipples when you’re entering your final stages of pregnancy. You can use the soft cotton of nursing pads to absorb the colostrum and keep it from staining or sticking to your clothes. In addition to protecting your wardrobe, you’ll also protect your nipples.
3. Upgrade Your Bra
Buying a good maternity bra is about more than just comfort. It’s also about supporting your spine as your breasts become heavier. Your milk ducts are growing and stretching as they fill up in preparation for the baby, so you’ll need a bra that can withstand their added weight. You might even need multiple bras throughout your pregnancy if your breasts keep growing. If you try to make do with a badly-fitting bra, you’re increasing the likelihood that your nipples will chafe against the fabric as they’re constricted.
4. Apply Nipple Cream
Nipple creams are specifically designed to reduce pain in the nipples. Just make sure to buy a product that’s safe for nursing or expectant moms. Avoid anything with chemical compounds that you can’t pronounce, and stick to organic, all-natural creams with ingredients like beeswax, shea butter, aloe vera and calendula flower. They can soothe your nipples without any artificial interference or side effects.
5. Lie Down With a Cool Compress
If heat isn’t working, you can try something on the opposite end of the temperature spectrum. Cool compresses can be used to relieve burning or itching feelings in both the breast and the nipple. They’re especially helpful if you’re in a reclined position that takes pressure off your chest. Thanks to the increased blood flow in your body during your pregnancy, it’s easy to feel overheated and weighed down, so relaxing and cooling off can be a big help.
6. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration is a sneaky thing that can start affecting your mood and health before you even realize that you’re thirsty. It can also worsen the state of dry, cracked, chafed or swollen nipples. Do yourself a favor and increase your daily water intake. You might also want to decrease your sodium intake so that it doesn’t impact your water retention. Your nipples will thank you!
7. Recognize the Warning Signs of Sore Nipples
Last but certainly not least, pay attention to what your body is telling you. Nipple pain usually builds in stages, so if you can learn to recognize when they’re getting inflamed or irritated, you can treat the underlying cause before it leads to significant soreness. Prevention is always better than treatment.
These are just a few tips and tricks for dealing with sore nipples during pregnancy. Don’t feel like you have to endure them as “a pregnancy thing” that can’t be helped. Keep experimenting with different remedies until you find something that works for you. As a mom-to-be, you deserve it!