Pregnancy brings about many changes, not only in the lifestyle of the expectant mother, but physical changes, as well. This can include morning sickness, water retention and breast tenderness, one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. The severity of breast tenderness can vary widely between women, but the main thing to remember is that it is completely normal and to be expected.
Breast tenderness usually begins near the end of the first month of pregnancy. Some women will experience it earlier than others, but on average, soreness will first occur around week 4, 5 or 6. It normally lessens in severity or subsides by the twelfth week of pregnancy, although some women might experience tenderness for a longer period of time. This is nothing to be alarmed about.
Your body goes through a great many changes during pregnancy. The tissue in your breasts begins to change, there is a significant increase in blood flow to the area, and both oestrogen and progesterone levels are on the rise. This is your body preparing to produce milk for breastfeeding once the baby arrives. The combination of these factors causes the breasts to become larger, and as a result, tender.
Many women compare the sensation with the feeling they get just before their period only considerably more intense. Your breasts will feel swollen and lumpy, and will be sensitive to the touch. You also might experience itching and pain in the nipples.
As your pregnancy continues your will notice your breasts will begin to change. For most women, you can expect the veins in your breasts to become more visible. The nipples and areolae might become darker and larger, but they normally return to their pregnancy size and colour after the baby is born. Some women also will get stretch marks as their breasts become larger.
Most women will gain at least one cup size during pregnancy. To help offset the tenderness and the larger breasts, purchase new bras. Stay away from underwire bras, and if at all possible, purchase cotton bras. It is also advisable to purchase a bra that is slightly larger than needed to allow for room to grow and just a little extra comfort. A remedy used by many, strange as it sounds, is to line the bra with fresh cabbage leaves.