If you are reading this article, then you are most likely in early pregnancy, and wondering, “is the breast pain that I am experiencing normal? What part of the breast is meant to hurt during early pregnancy?” or perhaps, you are waiting for the moment that you can take a pregnancy test accurately after the tortuous two week wait, and are experiencing breast pain, and are wondering if it might be a symptom of pregnancy.
In this article, we discuss what causes breast pain during early pregnancy, which part of the breast hurts during early pregnancy, how breast pain changes at each trimester of pregnancy, how to relieve it, and when you should make a visit to the doctor about your breast pain.
- What Causes Breast Pain During Early Pregnancy?
- What Part of the Breasts Hurt During Early Pregnancy?
- What Part of the Breast Hurts During Each Stage of Pregnancy?
- What Can I Do to Relieve Breast Pain During Early Pregnancy?
- When Should I Contact My Doctor About Breast Pain During Pregnancy?
What Causes Breast Pain During Early Pregnancy?
Sore breasts are one of the most commonly experienced symptoms by pregnant women- and it is also often one of the earliest signs of pregnancy experienced.
As with most pregnancy symptoms- sore breasts (or breast pain) is caused by the surge in pregnancy hormones, estrogen and progesterone, during early pregnancy.
The progesterone hormone aids in the growth and formation of milk-producing tissues, and the estrogen hormone enhances the growth of the breast ducts.
These hormones are important to prepare your breasts for lactation and breastfeeding.
You can read about different early pregnancy symptoms in our article 4 weeks pregnant symptoms.
What Part of the Breasts Hurt During Early Pregnancy?
During early pregnancy, the most common place that soreness is experienced within the breasts, is the tissue that forms the nipples.
Due to the floods of hormones, the nipples can become incredibly sensitive (hyper-sensitive), and activities like using a towel to dry yourself off, which usually would not cause any issues, may cause a lot of pain in your nipples.
You may also experience feelings of pins and needles, or a tingling sensation, in your nipples and aerolas.
Some women also mention their breasts feeling more tender and fuller during this time.
What Part of the Breast Hurts During Each Stage of Pregnancy?
In the sections above, we discussed that your nipples are the most likely place to hurt, in your breasts, during early pregnancy, and that your breasts may also feel full and tender.
In addition to full and tender breasts and nipple pain, you may also notice that your nipples portrude more than usual during the first trimester.
During the second trimester, any discomfort which you were feeling in your breasts during the first trimester will most likely have subsided now. It is at this stage of your pregnancy, however, that you may begin to notice some aesthetic changes in your breasts.
These aesthetic changes include:
- Larger breasts
- Increase in nipple size
- Darkening of the nipples
- Stretch marks on breasts
- Visible veins under the skin
You may also notice that your nipples begin leaking a yellowish coloured fluid called colostrum: the first form of breast milk released by the mammary glands after the baby is born. Colostrum production begins within your body at just month 3 or 4 of your pregnancy, and continues as your pregnancy progresses.
In the third and final trimester of pregnancy, your breasts go through the final changes required for breast feeding, once the baby is born.
Breast tenderness and nipple soreness may make a return during this stage of yoru pregnancy, with your breast size and nipple size becoming larger, as your breasts fill with breast milk, ready to feed your baby.
You may also experience some nipple discharge at this stage, this is most likely to be colostrom- the food for babies, which comes just before breast milk, which is packed with nutrients, proteins, immunoglobulins and antibodies, which will help to protect your baby from illness and infections, and will help them to have their first bowel movement of meconium.
What Can I Do to Relieve Breast Pain During Early Pregnancy?
Breast pain during pregnancy can be a pain in the neck (well, breasts, but you get the point), so having ways to help to relieve the breast pain can be highly beneficial. Read below for ways to relieve breast pain during pregnancy:
Wear a Comfortable and Supportive Bra
Wearing a more supportive bra can help to ease breast pain and discomfort. Whilst it may be difficult to put away your skimpy bras- it is important to remember that they offer little to no support.
It is best to opt for a sports bra or a full coverage bra, to help to better support your breasts, whilst still providing maximum comfort.
If you find that it is too painful to go braless and night time- you can wear a sleep bra to keep your breasts supported throughout the night.
Take a Warm Shower
Warm showers can provide some relief from breast pain during pregnancy. The heat from the warm water and steam can help to relax the muscles surrounding the breasts, and reduce the pain and tightness you may be feeling.
Apply a Cold Compress
Applying a cold compress works wonders for many women who experience breast pain! Just wrap a bag of ice, or even some frozen veg, in a towel and apply it to the breasts. This will help to reduce any swelling or soreness in your breasts.
Keep Hands Off
Reducing contact with your breasts can help to prevent any unnecessary breast pain- whether it be from your partner’s wandering hands, or from your seat belt in the car.
If having your breasts touched during sexual or intimate moments is uncomfortable, do not be afraid to talk to your partner about it.
Apply a Soothing Nipple Cream
Applying nipple cream can help to reduce the sensitivity and soreness of your nipples during pregnancy.
When Should I Contact My Doctor About Breast Pain During Pregnancy?
Breast pain during pregnancy is normal, however, it is worth learning when breast pain, and other breast changes, may be a cause for concern.
You should contact your doctor if:
- You are in the early stages of your pregnancy, and you are experiencing nipple discharge that is streaked with blood.
- One or both breasts change their shape.
- There is a hard, immovable lump in your breast.
- Your nipple has sunk into your breast.
- You have a rash in or around your nipple.
- There is a history of breast cancer in your family.
- You have dimpled skin on your breast (like an orange peel).
Hi, I’m Louise- mum of one to a little boy called Mason.
I am the Digital Marketing and Admin Assistant for MyBump2Baby.
I enjoy working to provide excellent service to MyBump2Baby’s growing families.
Nice to meet you!