Breast soreness is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy. There are various reasons for breast tenderness when you’re expecting.
Throughout a woman’s life, it’s normal to experience tenderness in the breasts. When you’re going through PMS, you probably experience it. Even menopause can cause your breasts to feel sore. However, for many, it’s the first telltale sign that you are pregnant. This sign can occur even within only two weeks after conception.
Differences Between Menstrual and Pregnancy Breast Tenderness
Breast tenderness can be similar during PMS and at the start of pregnancy as both conditions can cause the breasts to be swollen and feel sore and tender. The nipples may also be more sensitive than usual. However, if you’re pregnant, the soreness in your breasts may be far more intense and longer-lasting.
During pregnancy, you can also notice that your areolas have become larger and bumpier than usual. According to a research study, 76.2 percent of women noted that breast soreness was the third most common sign that they were pregnant, followed only by fatigue and nausea.
Changes in Your Breasts During Pregnancy
Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy. Hormones are swirling throughout your body, and you have more blood volume. Your body retains more water to accommodate your growing baby, which causes your breasts to feel sore and sensitive. Even early in your pregnancy, your breasts, in particular, go through a number of changes. They include the following:
- They grow larger by the sixth to eighth week and continue to enlarge throughout the pregnancy. You can expect to increase in bra size by one or two cups.
- Your breasts may also feel itchy as your skin stretches. Stretch marks are also normal.
- Breast tenderness and heightened sensitivity occur.
- Your nipples and areolas often darken, especially if you have a darker skin tone.
- The veins of your breasts darken as a result of increased blood volume.
- By your third month, you may have a yellowish substance, colostrum, leaking from your breasts.
- Your nipples become more pronounced, and they and your areoles will enlarge.
- The bumps on your areolas, Montgomery’s tubercles, may become more pronounced.
Why Does Breast Pain Occur Early in Pregnancy?
Breast tenderness occurs early in pregnancy for a few reasons. However, the chief one stems from the changes in hormone levels. Estrogen, progesterone and prolactin fluctuate early on and continue to do so throughout your pregnancy.
Your body is preparing for the birth of your baby, and your breasts are busy producing milk for breastfeeding. Your milk ducts begin to stretch and expand, which leads to your nipples’ becoming larger and more prominent. Montgomery’s tubercles, the bumps on your areolas, produce oil that allows your baby to more easily latch on to nurse.
Estrogen and progesterone are to blame for breast tenderness in pregnancy. Additionally, there is more fat developing in your breasts in addition to the extra blood flow in your body. All of this contributes to feeling sorer than usual.
How to Ease Breast Tenderness During Pregnancy
Unfortunately, your breast tenderness will probably remain throughout your entire pregnancy. However, there are some measures you can take to ease the pain. They include the following:
- Wear a bra to sleep: Wearing a bra when you go to sleep can help with the tenderness in your breasts. Support can prevent jiggling and control the pain. You can wear a regular bra or a sports bra.
- Use breast pads: Breast pads can protect your nipples if they’re overly sore while you wear a bra. The best option is a seamless bra, but the pads can help with any bra.
- Avoid contact: Being more careful about things coming into contact with your breasts can alleviate the pain. You may want to take baths instead of showers, and the warm water that’s not hitting your body may ease the soreness.
- Stay hydrated and reduce salt intake: You need more water than usual during pregnancy as it is, but staying hydrated can help even more. You should also reduce your salt intake, which can provide some relief.
- Consume the right diet: You should eat plenty of healthy foods during your pregnancy so you can get the right vitamins and minerals. This can ease the pain in your breasts. If you have questions about what you should or should not eat, consult with your doctor.
- Use lotions and creams: Lotions and creams can help with your breast tenderness. Those with lanolin can prevent irritation and infection. Those with shea or cocoa butter are usually the best.
Breast tenderness doesn’t have to dominate your pregnancy. If you keep it under control, you can rest and enjoy yourself while anticipating meeting your baby.