Sore breasts: what helps?

Sore breasts: what helps?

Your breasts are going through change

Pregnancy: a period of many changes, both in your lifestyle and in your body. We're talking about a growing uterus, a new organ (and not drinking wine). But your breasts are also going through a real transformation during pregnancy. These changes in your body often bring with them pregnancy ailments - sigh. Many women experience sensitive or even painful breasts early on in their pregnancy. Wanting to scream out in pain at the touch of your breasts? Struggling with putting on (tight) clothes? Yep, for many mommies to be with painful breasts these will be recognizable scenarios.

Leave Google aside for once, and scroll down to get answers to the following questions: what causes this pregnancy ailment, and are there ways to ease the pain?

Sensitive and painful breasts

For nine months you thought you were completely rid of those miserable periods and associated ailments during your pregnancy, but unfortunately, this is not entirely true. Do you remember the pain and the annoying feeling in your breasts that you feel in the days before your period? Yep, you can experience that during your pregnancy too, as the glands in your breasts swell and your breasts may feel heavier. Only, this pain will be worse during your pregnancy. As early as the third or fourth week of your pregnancy, you can add sensitive and sore breasts to the list (read: laundry list) of pregnancy ailments.

Since it can be one of the very first ailments you suffer from during your pregnancy, it forms the reason for many women to take a pregnancy test. But be comforted, because in most cases this ailment will disappear from the scene after the first trimester.

The cause of sensitive and sore breasts

A similarity between tender and sore breasts and other pregnancy ailments is that it is a way for the body to prepare itself for childbirth or motherhood. In this case, your breasts are being prepared for breastfeeding. Pretty special how the body regulates this itself, right?

But what forms the cause of sensitive and sore breasts? Once again, blame pregnancy hormones for this ailment (because of course you want to blame something or someone for the pains during your pregnancy). The hormones estrogen and progesterone increase during your pregnancy, causing the mammary glands in your breasts to grow. The number of milk ducts and milk-producing cells also increases.

In addition, increased blood supply to the breasts is a cause of this ailment. This means that the tissue around the mammary glands is filling up with blood and fluid to feed the surrounding cells. The ever-growing tissue excites the nerves, causing pain. Furthermore, you will have to deal with tight skin on the breasts because of the swelling, which can also cause pain. Ai!

Ways to relieve pain in the breasts

Are you tired of those sensitive and painful breasts? Go through the list below completely to make yourself as comfortable as possible!

  • Supportive and soft maternity bras: You probably saw this tip coming, and it's totally appropriate. Good maternity bras are simply indispensable. During pregnancy, your breasts can use all the support they can get. It is important to make sure you wear a bra without an underwire, as an underwire can press against the milk ducts. In addition, soft fabric is also a must. This makes maternity bras more comfortable and will not rub against your skin as much. On the other hand, a rough fabric can make the pain worse - your enemy! Also, many maternity bras come with the ability to grow with your breasts during pregnancy. Your wallet will be happy about that!
  • Right bra size: Have your breast size re-measured every few months during your pregnancy, as your breasts can grow during your pregnancy. And nothing is more annoying than wearing a bra that doesn't actually fit anymore, and therefore might pinch.
  • Cold compress: The cold might help when you are suffering from sore and sensitive breasts. Wrap a cold compress in a towel and place it on the sore spot.
  • A warm shower, warm compress, or warm hot water bottle: The reverse might also provide relief for sensitive or sore breasts. Take a hot shower, wrap a warm compress in a towel or place a warm hot water bottle against the sore spot.
  • Apply body lotion: Apply a perfume-free body lotion to the sensitive areas. This is a good way to keep the skin supple and reduce the unpleasant feeling.
  • Wear a sports bra at night: Do your breasts feel sore or sensitive at night when you go to sleep? Then try wearing a soft sports bra while sleeping. This could also provide support and ease the pain.
  • Massaging: This is not one to try at the peak of your pain, but for mild pain, massaging the sore areas may be able to provide relief. 

Other changes to your breasts during pregnancy

Besides the annoying and sometimes even painful feeling in your breasts during pregnancy, your breasts may go through some other changes. Yes, so many changes in your body during pregnancy!

Growing breasts

Starting from the sixth week of pregnancy, your breasts can grow. You may notice that your breasts have grown two cup sizes by the end of your pregnancy. This just goes to show that it's important to have your breast size measured regularly during pregnancy!


During pregnancy, you will also notice that your nipples will become darker and larger and that they will protrude a bit more. Of course, this all has a function! It will make breastfeeding easier (hallelujah), since your baby will be able to see better where he or she has to gasp.

Leaking breasts

In addition, you may suffer from leaking breasts. This is nothing more than the first breast milk, also known as colostrum, coming out of your breasts. It has a yellowish color and is full of antibodies. This is another way for your body to prepare your breasts for breastfeeding. Even as early as the third month of pregnancy, the mammary glands start making breast milk. Want to avoid those two wet stains on your t-shirt (and therefore the embarrassment and awkwardness that comes with it)? Then wear nursing pads in your bra!

Visible Veins

The veins in your breasts can also become more visible during pregnancy. This is because your body is producing more blood than normal, and your veins are closer to the skin surface than they were before pregnancy. Furthermore, your veins will expand, which also increases their visibility.


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