In pregnant women, sore breasts are brought about by increasing hormone levels. This can happen as early as the fourth week of pregnancy. Some mothers may not have pregnancy symptoms at all, while others experience most of it. In particular, sore breasts start during the first trimester, wean off during the second trimester, and may come back during the third trimester. It is possible for breast tenderness to stop earlier than the second trimester. Other breast changes include breast pain, darkening of the nipples, and nipple discharge. You may use cold compresses, comfortable clothes, and hypoallergenic moisturizers or lotions to take care of your sore breasts. It is always best to schedule a consult with your doctor if you feel unsure of any of your pregnancy symptoms.
Whether you are a new mom or not, there’s a high chance you’d agree that pregnancy brings about a lot of changes in the body.
Within the first month, expecting mothers may already have a slew of symptoms on hand — a missed period, morning sickness, sore breasts, and feeling easily tired.
Among these signs and symptoms, breast tenderness is commonly experienced — it is the third most commonly reported symptom in pregnant women at their first trimester.
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Why do breasts become tender during pregnancy?
Like most other pregnancy symptoms, sore breasts are caused by changes in hormone levels of the body, specifically prolactin, estrogen, and progesterone.
After a fertilized egg cell implants itself in the uterus, many hormonal changes are triggered in the body, and the breasts are often the areas heavily affected.
The increase in progesterone contributes to a greater supply of blood to the breasts, causing them to become bigger and tender.
Prolactin, on the other hand, targets the breast tissue for milk production.
Estrogen helps the uterus grow in size to accommodate the baby and is also the reason for the darkening of the nipples and areola.
When do breasts become tender in pregnancy?
Pregnant women can experience breast tenderness as early as the fourth week of pregnancy during the first trimester.
Eventually, the hormonal levels slowly decrease while mothers slowly adjust to these hormonal changes.
Some mothers may feel that their symptoms (including sore breasts) will lessen or even go away on their own. This differs for each person; some might feel the soreness throughout pregnancy, while others may only feel it for the first few weeks during the first trimester.
In general, most moms will feel a decrease in symptoms at the start of the second trimester of pregnancy.
Towards the end of pregnancy (i.e., third trimester), some moms might also experience a second round of soreness, as the breasts start to work hard producing early milk (called colostrum) for the baby.
What are other breast changes during pregnancy?
A lot of moms find that their breasts become bigger during pregnancy. Breast pain is another commonly experienced pregnancy symptom.
The pain may differ for each person; it may feel sharp, heavy, shooting, or even dull. It may affect only one breast or both. It may be constant, or it may not always be there.
Some report pain specifically in the nipple area; it may feel tingly and tender.
The nipples may also protrude or have a more defined shape. The skin surrounding the nipples may become a few shades darker and have small bumps — this is normal and nothing to be afraid of.
Before giving birth, some mothers have nipple discharge, which will soon become milk for their baby.
The veins along the skin of your breasts may become more visible and even bluish or darker; this means that more blood is being supplied to the breasts to cope with producing breast milk.
What can I do to deal with sore breasts?
1. Use comfortable clothes
Pregnancy should be focused on the health and comfort of both mom and baby. Instead of form-fitting clothes, wear loose ones to accommodate your body’s changes throughout pregnancy.
This also includes underwear — choose supportive, comfortable bras and panties, preferably made of cotton. Padded shoulder straps or sleep bras are wonderful options you can try.
2. Apply a cold compress
Cold helps decrease inflammation or soreness. Use ice packs wrapped in a thin cloth on your breasts when you feel sore.
3. Keep your skin moisturized
During pregnancy, it’s best to use hypoallergenic products, and this goes for your soap, lotion, and moisturizer.
Don’t take too long when taking a bath, and avoid hot showers.
Don’t rub water off your skin with a towel; instead, gently pat your skin with your towel and apply lotion or moisturizer afterward.
4. Seek medical help
If you have tried all of the above but still feel sore most of the time, or if your breasts become very painful, it won’t hurt to consult with a qualified healthcare professional for pain medications that are safe in pregnant women.
Also, if at any point you are unsure whether your symptoms are normal, it would be best to schedule a check-up with your doctor.
I am pregnant but I never had sore breasts. Is there something wrong?
Not all pregnant women experience all the signs of pregnancy, and this includes breast pain or tenderness.
Some are heavily affected, while others barely feel any symptoms. While it may be because of hormonal changes in the body, sore breasts are not an absolute requirement in pregnancy.
My pregnancy symptoms stopped, is it a miscarriage?
Not all pregnancy symptoms last throughout the three trimesters. In fact, most symptoms lessen or go away by the second trimester. It’s important to note that not all women experience the same set of symptoms.
While losing pregnancy symptoms may sometimes accompany miscarriage, it’s important to note if there are also other signs and symptoms, which include vaginal spotting or bleeding, abdominal pain, and vaginal discharge.
When in doubt, it’s best to seek medical help at your local clinic or hospital.
Breast tenderness is one of the many symptoms brought about by pregnancy.
Each mother will experience pregnancy differently — they can experience a lot of symptoms, or barely any at all.
While sore breasts can be safely managed at home, it’s still best to have regular consults with your doctor to ensure you and your baby are safe and healthy.