Pregnancy can be a beautiful journey for a new mother. However, the journey would be filled with its fair share of complications. And one such complication that is experienced by hordes of pregnant women is the condition of sore, painful breasts during this period.
Pregnancy and Sore Breasts
Even though a pregnant woman may start to notice the soreness in her breasts only after 1-2 weeks after conceiving, in reality her breasts would have started to change even before she realizes her pregnancy.
So Why Exactly Do the Breasts Become Sore During Pregnancy?
When a woman becomes pregnant, her body starts undergoing a sea of hormonal changes. Her body starts secreting more progesterone and estrogen, hormones that are responsible for factors like breast enlargement. With the overwhelming hormone buildup in the body, the breasts start growing in size. In addition to increased blood circulation and their fat layers which start thickening, your breasts would also start developing milk glands to prep up for delivery
This massive change in turn can cause a series of uncomfortable physical side effects, including breast soreness, tenderness, pain, tingling sensation, and swelling etc. Some women feel extreme discomfort and pain even if their breasts brush against clothing or are touched. And even though the hormone levels in your body would stabilize after a few weeks into the pregnancy, the soreness in your breasts may continue until after you give birth.
Taking Care of Breast Soreness During Pregnancy
Although you won’t be able to get rid of the soreness completely, you can opt for certain remedies to handle it better. Here are a few of the more popular options.
Choose the Right Bra
Getting the Cup Size Right
Your cup size should be the measure from the fullest part of your breasts (from under them). Avoid opting for smaller, ill fitting cup sizes that can cause extreme discomfort and pain.
Your breast would start growing from day 1 of your pregnancy and would most surely have increased by at least a few cup sizes by the time you give birth. So make it a point to buy some extra bras (increasing cup sizes) to help you support your breasts throughout the term.
Getting the Right Kind of Bra
Underwired bras would be very uncomfortable during pregnancy. Opt for more supportive bras, for instance a sports bra that can accommodate the increase in breast size and hold your breasts firmly in place, thus minimizing the discomfort and pain that accompany breast movement.
Seamless bras would also help as seams can cause irritation to the breast skin during pregnancy. If you opt for the same nevertheless, opt for breast pads to place in between the breasts and the bra lining. This would prevent irritation and protect the nipples from as well.
Sleep in Your Bra
This would help keep your breasts movements to a minimum and help you cope with the tenderness, soreness and pain better.
Take a Warm Water Bath or Shower
A warm water bath could work wonders to sooth aching breasts during pregnancy. Make sure the water temperature is below 100 degrees Fahrenheit (anything above that could prove to be harmful for the body).
Fill the bath tub with warm water and lie down in it for some time, making sure your breasts are fully immersed in the water. Make circular motions on the water with your hands to make the water flow over your breasts. This could soothe them to an extent.
Alternatively, you can opt for a warm water shower bath. Open the shower and let the warm stream hit your breasts. Even though this is considered a good option by many to soothe sore breasts, you should not opt for it if you start to feel pain.
Try Avoiding Contact
This may take some persuasion from your part but it could be one of the many ways to cope with sore breasts during pregnancy. Avoid touching your breasts during this period except when you take a bath or moisturize them. Speak to your partner and explain the situation to him. Request him to avoid touching your breasts or be very gentle in instances where he does so.
Apply Creams and Lotions to Get Comfort
Recommended by many new mothers out there, this remedy to soothe sore breasts involves applying creams and lotions over the breasts regularly. You can opt for over the counter products or home remedies for the same. Accordingly, you can opt for lotions or creams that contain lanolin as an active ingredient.
Lanolin helps to prevent dryness, irritation and infection in sore breasts. Other alternatives to lanolin include chamomile or calendula. For instance, chamomile tea bags placed on tender breasts can ease swelling and discomfort to great extents. If you want a more a naturalistic approach to dealing with sore breasts, you can opt for products like mango butter, cocoa butter, shea butter or natural herbs for the same.
Cool Down/Compress Your Breasts
In certain cases, sore breasts during pregnancy may feel hot to touch and can even cause a burning sensation. In these cases, it is considered wise to cool them down or with options like an ice pack, cold flannel, cool washcloth or cold cabbage leaves. Cold cabbage leaves act as good compresses for sore breasts. Either place them over your breasts or inside your bra for added comfort.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water retention during pregnancy can also contribute to swollen breasts. In this case, it is considered wise to drink plenty of water on a daily basis. This could effectively flush out excess fluids from your body and take care of water retention, thereby taking care of your swollen breasts at the same time.
Take Medications to Reduce Soreness
If none of the other remedies seem to work out, you can always opt for medications to take care of the pain that accompanies tender, sore breasts during pregnancy. Make sure that you check every medication with a qualified practitioner before using them though.
Tylenol is known to be an effective medication to soothe tender breasts. Check with the doctor first, and follow the instructions on the pack to the ‘T’. Never attempt to take more medications or a combination of different medications at the same time.
Consult With a Doctor
In the event all these remedies (including medication) fail to reduce the soreness and pain in your breasts, consult a doctor to rule out other anomalies while getting an alternative form of treatment for the issue.