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During pregnancy, a woman goes through a lot of changes both physically and mentally. One of the most noticeable changes occurs in the breasts. As a pregnant woman prepares to breastfeed, the body starts secreting hormones that cause sensitivity of breasts and possibly causes pain as well. This article tells you about the changes your breasts go through when you are pregnant.
Is It Common to Experience Breast Pain During Pregnancy?
Tender or sore breasts are a common condition during pregnancy as the breasts ready themselves for breastfeeding. Soreness of breasts is also one of the initial signs of pregnancy. Breast pain can occur when you’re around 3 to 4 weeks into your pregnancy.
Causes of Breast Pain During Pregnancy
The primary reason for breast pain is the increase in the levels of oestrogen and progesterone. The fat layer inside the breasts gets thicker, the ducts in the milk glands increase in number, and the blood flow to this area gets enhanced. This makes your breasts grow heavier and larger, causing pain and discomfort.
Effects of Breast Pain During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, breasts change in shape and size. With increasing tenderness, sensitivity may become multi-fold, and even a casual brush of your clothes against your breasts can cause extreme breast pain. The following changes will be noticeable:
As your skin stretches and expands, your nipples may protrude more than usual.
The skin around the nipples is known as the areola, and this may turn a shade darker than earlier. You can expect the areola to become spotted and grow in size. The goosebumps that you notice around the areola are tiny sweat glands (also known as Montgomery tubercles) which provide lubrication to the entire area.
As the skin around your breasts stretches itself to accommodate the growing fat and milk ducts, you will see a vast network of blue veins. These veins carry necessary nutrients and essential fluids to the baby. Your breasts may show unusually rapid growth during the initial stages of your pregnancy, or a gradual increase in size as the pregnancy reaches its conclusion. If it is your first pregnancy, you can expect an upward change in your cup size. If you have missed this phase, then your breasts will expand once your baby arrives.
Relief for Sore Breasts During Pregnancy
Breast tenderness or sore breasts are quite common during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Breasts continue to change shape throughout pregnancy and cease with the production of colostrum, your baby’s first meal. Apart from adopting remedies for breast pain during pregnancy, it’s best to keep your partner informed about your discomfort so that he can exercise enough care and restraint during lovemaking or even while hugging.
The tenderness or pain in your breasts will gradually reduce as you approach the second trimester. Till then, the following tips will help you tide over the situation:
- Breast pain can become an uncomfortable issue while you are walking or even sleeping. So, it makes sense to invest in a maternity bra or exercise bra to help your breasts breathe. To get the perfect fitting bra, you can visit an in-store specialist.
- You may need to get fittings done more than once during the pregnancy as your breasts continuously change shape.
- Avoid underwire bras as they can get uncomfortable.
Natural Home Remedies
- One of the most common home remedies for breast pain in pregnant women is increasing water intake. Water retention is known to aggravate soreness and pain in the breasts. Drinking enough water during the day will help to flush out the excess fluids and hormones. You could also add ginger or lemon to your water as this helps in addressing soreness and pain.
- Reducing the intake of sodium in the diet for a temporary period helps to manage breast pain. However, salt consumption is essential to build up blood volume, so consult your doctor before making any significant dietary changes.
- An excellent source of fibre, flaxseeds are known to reduce breast pain. One tablespoon of finely ground flaxseeds mixed with water, fruit juice or yoghurt can bring great relief. Adding vitamin and mineral-rich foods to your diet can also alleviate breast pain during pregnancy.
You can relieve breast pain during pregnancy by using medicines with acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. These are non-prescription medicines, but it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before you ingest one.
During pregnancy, your body will go through significant changes. Remember to avoid stress, pain and physical exertion, and don’t have any qualms about asking for help.