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Tender Breasts in Pregnancy

Many women notice how their breasts change at the beginning of pregnancy. This is one of the very first signs confirming pregnancy. Hormonal changes in the structure of the mammary glands are the cause of increased sensitivity and sometimes soreness of the breast.

The mammary glands of the expectant mother are preparing for the upcoming lactation. They fill up, become heavier, and increase in size. This brings some inconvenience and discomfort to the woman.

When Breasts Become Tender in Pregnancy?

Pain in the breast begins in the first month of pregnancy. They can drag on until the end of the first trimester. For some, these symptoms persist until very birth. It all depends on the individual hormonal balance of the woman. Her progesterone and estrogen levels.

The breasts are especially sensitive and enlarged in the first few weeks after conception. This is caused by a surge of female hormones signaling that fertilization has taken place.


A noticeably increased sensitivity of the breast in women begins from the 1st week. These sensations will be maximum until the 4th week. Newly formed cells inside the mammary glands are activated at about 10-15 weeks.

They are designed to produce milk. It can also cause pain and enlarge the breasts. Breasts become sore again in the third trimester 2 weeks before delivery. This is observed from the 36th week.

Tender Breasts pregnancy weeks

When will it end?

The first and most severe breast pain ends by the 4th week. Next comes the dormant period. You will notice how your breasts have greatly increased in size around the 12th week. Breast tenderness should subside after 15 weeks. Painful sensations can persist from the 36-39th week until delivery. They will end when lactation improves.

How Does it Feel?

All women have a different breast sizes and feel it differently. Any changes will be felt more strongly if the breast is small. The shape, structure, and size of the mammary glands are changing. The nipples will be rougher and change color. All these changes are not to be missed. Pregnant women experience sensations of pressure, burning, and heaviness in the breast.


The sensations will be more acute if the breasts of the expectant mother increase very much in the first weeks of pregnancy. The breast will hurt and any touch will be unpleasant. Inside there will be a feeling of increased temperature, burning, sometimes tingling, and pulsation.


Breasts in some women during pregnancy do not increase much. Then the pain and sensitivity will be moderate. The pregnant woman will feel that her breasts have become denser and heavier. There will be no pain, burning, or pulsation, only the volume will change.

Future lactation is not related to the size of the breast and the characteristics of its changes during pregnancy.

Prevention methods

It is worth taking care of your health before conception to prevent severe pain in the breast during the gestation period. Prevention is sometimes more effective than cure. You can use some tips to prevent severe pain and increase the sensitivity of the breast.

Examination by a mammologist

A planned pregnancy involves a breast examination by a gynecologist and a mammologist. It is worth being examined if a woman experienced pain in her breast before pregnancy. This will prevent possible consequences. The doctor will determine if you have mastopathy, cyst, lipoma, or other problems. They can significantly complicate breastfeeding.


You may notice before pregnancy during PMS that the breasts become very enlarged, sore, and become sensitive. This is an occasion to take tests for female hormones. The cause of this symptom may be an increased level of progesterone. It is recommended to undergo a course of therapy that will help stabilize the hormonal background.

Stabilization of the nervous system

Being in constant stress, tension and anxiety adversely affects a woman’s health. Hormone levels change and lead to changes in the breasts. Try to stabilize the nervous system. Get more rest and sleep. Take care of your mental health.

Why Tender Breasts occur in Pregnancy?

Pain and sensitivity of the breast during pregnancy are directly related to hormonal changes in the body. They are aimed at the formation of a new structure of the mammary glands for further lactation. Progesterone, prolactin, and oxytocin play a significant role in these processes.

The development of the alveoli and lactiferous ducts occurs in the first weeks. The mammary glands harden and swell. The blood flow increases and creates a feeling of heaviness in the breast. Her sensitivity sharply increases during this period.

Further, there is a rapid growth of lactogenic tissues. There is a powerful increase in breast size by the 12th week. This pulls on the skin and makes the nipples more sensitive. Milk-producing cells appear, which increases the sensitivity of the mammary glands and discharge from the breast by the 15th week. The milk ducts dilate around the 30th week. The breast becomes heavy and sometimes hurts.


It is best to engage in prevention to eliminate breast health problems as much as possible. It is worth taking some self-help measures if you are already pregnant and your breasts are very sensitive and constantly hurt. The following remedies can be distinguished that protect against breast hypersensitivity during the gestation period:

Comfortable underwear

It is worth changing your bra as soon as you notice that your breasts have become heavier and larger. It is better to choose underwear made from natural cotton materials without seams. The bra should be of a sports style, with wide straps, without foam rubber and metal or plastic inserts.

At night it is better to sleep in special underwear. There are bras for night sleep. They will support the breast by reducing its sensitivity.


It is better to limit physical activity with exacerbated symptoms. This is especially true when the size of the pregnant woman’s breasts is quite large. Do not play sports that involve strong dynamic movements. This method will reduce pain and the likelihood of injury. Try not to lift heavy things or wear tight clothing.

Proper hygiene

It’s best not to take hot showers. Wash off with cool water. Do not rub the breast area and especially the nipples strongly with a towel. Do not use soap or alcohol-based detergents for washing. It’s better to do it with water. Be sure to moisturize your skin with a special cream after a shower. This will reduce sensitivity, itching, and burning sensations.


An urgent need to contact a specialist if the breast hurts very much, the pain is sharp or dull and localized in a certain place. The reason for going to the doctor may be a strong retraction of one of the nipples, and the presence of spots on the breast, similar to hematomas.

Large seals are not the norm. Pay close attention to nipple discharge. They should not be bloody, dark, or purulent, with a pungent odor.

What Not to Do

Many pregnant women make gross mistakes during the gestation period. You can harm your health using the advice of the older generation and not qualified professionals. You cannot rely on unverified sources of information. Only an authoritative opinion can dictate the rules of behavior for you with very sensitive and painful breasts.

Take painkillers

Breast tenderness is not the kind of pain that needs to be treated with painkillers. This method is not justified and can greatly harm the fetus.

Wear lacy underwear

This type of underwear is designed for aesthetic pleasure and not for health and convenience. Wearing lacy underwear will increase the sensitivity and pain in the breast.

Rub your breast

It is not recommended to massage, rub and train the breasts in every possible way as a preparation for lactation. This interferes with blood circulation and can be harmful to health.

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