Breast pain in pregnancy: how it is and when to worry

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Breast pain in pregnancy

During pregnancy, the female body undergoes a whole series of changes that are functional to the development of the fetus in the belly and also to childbirth and subsequent breastfeeding. One of the parts of the body that exhibits visible changes is the breasts, which become larger, swollen and sometimes uncomfortable. When do we have to worry about a pain in the breast in pregnancy?

In this article

  • Breast pain in pregnancy what is it like?
  • Breast pain in early pregnancy
  • Breast pain that disappears in early pregnancy
  • Breast pain in pregnancy in the second trimester
  • Breast pain in pregnancy, third trimester
  • What to do?


Breast pain in pregnancy what is it like?

La mastodynia (breast pain) can occur at different times in a woman's life and at various stages of her menstrual cycle. In the days immediately preceding the onset of menstruation, for example, it is common to have breast tension and pain. Since breast pain is one of the first symptoms of pregnancy, how can we distinguish it from that related to PMS?

In the days preceding the onset of menstruation, the breasts (or both) may be affected by breast tenderness, turgor, swelling and a feeling of heaviness. It is about symptoms which then gradually disappear as soon as menstruation arrives.

Breast pain during pregnancy, on the other hand, does not go away, but lasts for the first few weeks of gestation, due to hormonal changes.

Breast pain in early pregnancy

Il breasts in the early stages of pregnancy it can be sore, sensitive, or tender to the touch. These breast changes occur as early as two weeks after conception and can last for some time when progesterone levels rise due to pregnancy.

It is the hormones that determine the changes in the breasts from the beginning of pregnancy: estrogen and progesterone they are used to prepare the breast for breastfeeding. Estrogen stimulates the growth of cells in the mammary duct and promotes the secretion of prolactin, another hormone that encourages breast size increase and milk production.

Progesterone supports the formation and growth of milk-producing cells within the mammary glands.

Also in the first trimester a tingling sensation is common in both nipples that the areolas and the nipples and areola can darken and hurt.

Breast pain that disappears in early pregnancy

Since breast changes are one of the most frequent and recognizable symptoms of early pregnancy, it is normal to worry if these sensations suddenly disappear, as this could be a sign of an early pregnancy. miscarriage, that is, a spontaneous termination of pregnancy in the first trimester.

It is important to report to your gynecologist the reduction or disappearance of classic symptoms, such as nausea or breast tenderness: only an ultrasound can confirm that the pregnancy is progressing well.

Also read: Pregnancy nipple pain

Breast pain in pregnancy in the second trimester

During the second quarter, levels of estrogen continue to rise. The breasts will always be very heavy, tight and firm due to the continuous development and branching of the milk ducts.

The areola area may become darker in color and appear on the nipples i tubercoli di Montgomery, small glands found on areolas that increase in size and are most evident around the sixteenth week of pregnancy.

Breast pain in pregnancy, third trimester

In third and last quarter, starting from the XNUMXth week and until the time of delivery, the breasts may start to hurt again. As the body prepares for breastfeeding, small amounts of colostrum, a precursor of breast milk, may come out of the breast. The nipples and breasts may also get larger just before labor begins.

What to do?

The good news is that the pain will likely subside as the pregnancy progresses.

To reduce the discomfort caused by breast pain and breast tenderness during pregnancy, the first thing to do is to buy suitable bras. Be careful to choose the right size: The pregnancy bra must not tighten or have seams that can discomfort the skin or cause irritation. Many pregnancy bras provide light but firm support, have wide, comfortable and adjustable straps, and have no underwire. They are comfortable and should also be worn at night for maximum comfort even while sleeping.

Choose loose clothing: As your breasts expand during pregnancy, the usual t-shirts, undergarments and simple clothes can become tight and uncomfortable, seams can be uncomfortable and make you feel too "constricted". Choose clothes made of soft, breathable, non-tight fabrics.

You can try a cold compress or, conversely, a hot showerCold can help relieve pain, but if it doesn't work, the heat of the water can relax surrounding muscles and relieve breast tenderness.


  • Mayo Clinic
  • Incidence of pregnancy-related discomforts and management approaches to relieve them among pregnant women

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