Now that you are pregnant, you may have noticed that your breasts are feeling a little tender to the touch. It may hurt for you to walk up the stairs, jump around at the gym, or even sleep on your stomach. While this breast tenderness is annoying, and sometimes quite painful, it is a normal part of pregnancy.
What is Breast Tenderness During Pregnancy?
Breast tenderness during pregnancy is a very common thing. In fact, it is often one of the very first signs that you are pregnant. Breast tenderness simply refers to the soreness, swelling, and sensitivity that you feel in your breasts during pregnancy. Typically, this tenderness begins between the fourth and sixth week of pregnancy, and continues through the first trimester. Most women will find that their breast tenderness disappears in the second and third trimesters, although you may notice that your breasts do feel sore from time to time throughout your pregnancy.
What Causes Breast Tenderness During Pregnancy?
Breast tenderness and sensitivity occurs during pregnancy as a result of all the changes that your body is going through. Your breasts must prepare to feed your baby, and therefore they need to grow and develop, which often causes swelling and soreness. Specifically, breast tenderness is caused by the increase in hormone levels that happens during pregnancy. To prepare for baby, your body increases its levels of estrogen and progesterone. This increase in hormones causes blood to rush to your breasts, making them sensitive to the touch.
You breast tissue will also begin to change. Milk ducts and milk-producing cells will begin to form, causing your breasts to grow and change shape. More layers of fat beneath will begin to develop under your breasts, which will likely cause your breasts to increase in size. All of these factors contribute to the tenderness, soreness, and swelling that you are experiencing.
Symptoms of Breast Tenderness During Pregnancy
Depending upon your age and how many children you have already given birth to, your symptoms may differ in intensity and severity. Younger mothers and first-time mothers tend to experience more breast discomfort. Here are some symptoms that you may experience:
- increase in breast size by up to two cup sizes
- noticeable veins crisscrossing your breasts
- highly sensitive nipples
- burning or throbbing pain in the breasts
- heaviness in the breasts
- tingly or itchy breasts and nipples
- throbbing or tingling breasts during intercourse
How to Take Care of Your Tender Breasts
Breast tenderness can really get you down sometimes, so here are some tips on keeping those breasts nice and comfortable.
- Wear bras that fit properly. Go to a professional at your department or maternity store to get measured.
- Try to buy cotton bras, which will allow your breasts to breathe more easily.
- Avoid underwire bras – they can cut into your breasts and restrict blood flow to the area.
- When you exercise, buy a bra designed specifically for working out in.
- If your breasts are sore at night, try wearing a cotton sleep bra.
- Consider buying a bra that is a couple of sizes larger than you need at the moment. This will allow you to grow into it.
- Take a warm bath to relieve swelling.
- If your breasts feel hot or are throbbing, apply a cool facecloth to the area.
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