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Breast pain when pregnant

During pregnancy, your breasts might be tender during pregnancy or even experience a sharp, shooting pain. It is one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy, usually starting between 4-6 weeks, due to the increase in hormonal activity. Women often describe it as a more intense version of the premenstrual symptom. The discomfort may spread to your nipples and areolas (the dark area around your nipples) as well.

What causes it?

Your breasts may soon be the sole source of Baby’s nutrition, so there’s a lot of activity going on to prepare them for the role. An increase in estrogen and progesterone, on top of higher overall blood flow to the area, makes them feel more sore than usual. They’re also building up fat content that could make them grow by one or two cup sizes. You might experience some itchiness or see stretch marks from the growth.


Breast tenderness is most common toward the beginning and end of your pregnancy, so rest assured that you won’t have to worry about this symptom for 9 months straight. Wearing comfortable bras for exercise and everyday activities is a good idea to help avoid increasing the discomfort; maternity stores usually have a great selection that includes pregnancy sleep bras. You might want to apply a “look, don’t touch” rule with your partner until the soreness subsides. There aren’t any medications designed to treat this symptom. Vitamin E has been theorized to give some relief from breast tenderness, though, as always, it’s important to check in with a healthcare provider before starting any new nutritional supplement during pregnancy. And don’t hesitate to use the good ol’ frozen bag of peas solution for some soothing relief.

Read more
  • “Breast Pain: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 03 May 2016. Web. 06 June 2016. Accessed 21 July 2017. 
  • “Symptoms of Pregnancy: What Happens First.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 05 Jan. 2017. Web. Accessed 21 July 2017. 

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