Why do nipples get sore during pregnancy?

March 24, 2014 12:00 AM by

Pregnancy comes with all kinds of changes, whether they involve your body, mind, habits or even your house. Getting ready for baby takes a lot of work, but the good news is that when it comes to your body, you don't have to do much. It's your hormones that are working overtime to ensure that you'll be ready to support your unborn baby in the womb. They're responsible for all kinds of things, from widening feet, to heartburn, to thickening hair, to skin changes. They're also responsible for sore nipples.

What's to blame for the tenderness?
For many women, breast tenderness is a telltale sign of pregnancy. Around week four or six, many women report that their breasts feel more tender than usual. They often describe the sensation as similar to how their breasts feel right before a period – but more intense. They might feel sore, swollen, tingly and extremely sensitive to the touch. The good news? It's normal. The hormones estrogen and progesterone are responsible for a lot of the tenderness. Also to blame is the extra fat building up in your breasts and the increased blood flow to the area. Your breasts are growing bigger and preparing to supply your baby with milk once he or she is born.

Is there anything you can do?
While there's no avoiding the fact that your nipples are going to feel more sensitive during pregnancy, there are ways you can make them less sore. First, buy yourself some good, supportive bras. Your best bet is to find breathable cotton bras with no seams that might rub against your nipples. Maternity bras are a great option – they give you plenty of extra support during the day and they're made to be comfortable. Pregnancy sleep bras can be worn at night to keep your breasts cozy without being restricted. If you're engaging in exercise while pregnant, wear a supportive sports bra that will keep the gals in place while you move around. When you're shopping for all of the above, ask a salesperson to fit you for maximum comfort and support.

Another thing you'll want to do is clue your partner in on the situation. Let him know that your breasts have been feeling a little sensitive lately and it may change the way you touch each other during foreplay or sex. Even hugging might be uncomfortable, so work together to figure out what feels OK and what doesn't.

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