Sore breasts are a common side effect of pregnancy. Find out how to get relief.
As your body changes to get ready for baby, some of the pregnancy symptoms you'll experience, like fuller breasts, could make you feel downright uncomfortable. Rising levels of pregnancy hormones--specifically progesterone and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)--cause breast tissue to expand, which can lead to your girls feeling tender and swollen. "It's very common, and unfortunately it's a feeling you'll have to get used to," says Sharon Phelan, M.D., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of New Mexico Health Science Center School of Medicine. The good news is the soreness will ease up as your pregnancy progresses, and in the meantime there are some tricks that can help ease your discomfort.
Wear a more supportive bra
You might be hesitant to pack away all your lacey underwear, but those skimpy bras probably aren't helping your situation. "A full-coverage bra will be more supportive, by lifting up the breasts and taking pressure off the area," says Patrick Duff, M.D., an ob-gyn at the University of Florida, Gainesville.
Create a "no touch" zone
Your full breasts are going to be really attractive to your partner, but manhandling will only make matters worse. Treat your pregnancy breasts with care until soreness eases up.
Opt for loose-fitting clothes
As your breasts expand during pregnancy, clingy tops might become more constricting than cute--and inside seams could aggravate sensitive breasts. Stick with flowy clothing that won't rub or irritate.
Try a cold compress
Lay a towel over your chest and apply an ice pack to the area (a frozen bag of peas also works well!). "Cold compresses have been proven to reduce inflammation and pain," says Phelan.
Take warm showers
Not everyone responds to cold therapy, so if you don't find relief from an ice pack, try spending some time in a steamy shower. "The heat could help relax surrounding muscles and ease tension," says Duff.
Copyright© 2013 Meredith Corporation.
All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.