Breast pain can be normal during pregnancy. It’s one of those numerous changes a woman’s body goes through when she is pregnant. Hormonal changes are the leading causes of breast pain in pregnant women. The intensity of breast pain during pregnancy varies from one woman to another. You may feel it in one or both breasts, at a specific spot or all over, or moving towards your underarm. Breast pain may also be permanent or intermittent – coming and going away at intervals.
Breast pain can happen at any time during pregnancy but it’s most common during the first trimester as a result of sudden hormonal changes. This assertion can be backed by the fact that immediately after conception, your body starts preparing for breastfeeding by releasing large quantities of pregnancy hormones, including progesterone, estrogen and prolactin. These hormones cause additional blood flow to the chest, thereby resulting in bigger milk ducts, as well as extra fluids, tissue, and fat which could all cause breast pain.
During the first week of pregnancy, most women experience sensitive breasts which makes sex play and exercising difficult for them. The nipples are particularly very sensitive and tender in the early weeks of pregnancy. It is also not uncommon to experience a tingling sensation in the nipples and areolas during the first trimester. However, as the pregnancy advances, most women start experiencing heaviness and fullness in their breasts.
While breast pain can be normal during pregnancy, it could also be as a result of other conditions such as fibrocystic breast changes, the effects of certain medications and in extremely rare cases, breast cancer. You should therefore consult with your doctor if you start experiencing symptoms such as life-disrupting breast pain, nipple discharge, as well as redness, pus or fever.
Breast pain during pregnancy hardly requires treatment as it often goes away at some point in the pregnancy, a few weeks after childbirth or after lactating. However, it is with utmost importance for you to make lifestyle changes that will ease your breast pain during pregnancy. For example, you should consider ditching lacy underwire bras for full coverage cotton bras with wider shoulder straps. You should also consider wearing sports bras to bed if bed movements are irritating to your tender breasts and nipples. Adding breast pads to protect your breasts, applying frozen gel or ice packs and taking warm soothing showers can also go a long way to relieve breast pain, swelling and tenderness during pregnancy.
If all these interventions fail, you could discuss with your doctor for medical interventions to ease the pain.