What part of the breast hurts in early pregnancy?
“My breast is the first part of my body to carry the baby,” says Rose, a senior nursing officer in the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH). “Once I get this pain, I know I have already conceived before any pregnancy test.”
Rose is not the only woman who gets some pain and discomfort in the breast in early pregnancy. Pregnant women have been known to complain about some form of pain, from mild to severe, starting from the first few weeks of pregnancy.
Before we go into what part of the breast hurts in early pregnancy and the level of pain deemed appropriate, you should first of all understand why these changes are taking place in your body.
What part of the breast hurts in pregnancy and when should you be worried?
Breast pain during pregnancy is very common. Pregnant women will experience sharp pains, tenderness, swelling, and soreness. If your breasts begin to increase in size or start to hurt, you shouldn’t worry too much. What this means is that your body is shifting gears to get ready to produce milk for your baby, hence the discomfort.
You should start strategising on how to manage the pain once you figure out what part of the breast hurts in early pregnancy.
Why does pregnancy come with breast pain?
It is easy to attribute everything to growing breasts and enlarging milk ducts, but hormones also contribute to the changes.
1. Breast tenderness
Early on in the pregnancy, the body will produce lots of progesterone and estrogen, which are known to cause breast tenderness.
Because of these hormonal changes, fat deposit will increase along with blood flow. This is to get your body ready to lactate in readiness for your baby.
Breast tenderness in pregnancy is normal. And unfortunately, you’ll have to bear the discomfort as nothing will take away this feeling. Most women find that wearing the right maternity bra does provide better support.
Tenderness will continue till the last trimester, and you shouldn’t be surprised if you start lactating before your baby is born.
The problem areas for breast tenderness are usually the veins, areolas and nipples.
2. Sharp pains in the breasts
Sharp pains are also very common during pregnancy. When it comes to finding out what part of the breast hurts during pregnancy, sharp pains are often mysterious and your doctors may find t hard to pin it to one single cause.
You may be feeling sharp pains when:
• The milk ducts are expanding
• Your breasts are growing
• Breasts are expanding
• Cysts during pregnancy
Sharp pains often go away once you cut out caffeine from your diet and consume more dairy. However, you should go to your doctor if you discover lumps in your breasts. If you also find some bruising around the breasts, you should submit yourself for breast exams.
3. Pain under the breasts
There are many reasons why a pregnant woman could suddenly start feeling pains under the breasts. These are possible causes of this kind of pain:
• Increase in liver size
• Acid reflux
• Baby position
• Gallbladder issues
• Shifting hips during pregnancy
To rule out gallbladder issues, your doctor will conduct an examination once you complain of pain under the breasts. Back pain and chest pains are also common during this time.
Your baby’s movement in the uterus may push up your ribs and cause some pain and discomfort around this part of your breast.
If you notice that the discomfort happens soon after eating, it might be acid reflux or indigestion.
How to manage sharp pains during pregnancy
1. Invest in good maternity bras
Your growing breasts need room, and so, your old bras might not do a good job of providing adequate support. The right bra should be made of soft, breathable fabrics without underwire. Bras with padding are also excellent.
2. Drink lots of water
Water retention in the breasts can make your breasts sensitive to touch, but drinking lots of water will help flush out excess fluids.
3. Reduce consumption of salt
Eating too much salt can lead to water retention, which can, in turn, lead to sensitive breasts. Reducing salt intake usually reverses this problem.
4. Cold compress
For instant relief, apply an ice pack or a cool towel to sore breasts. This will alleviate the painful effect of increased blood flow.
Knowing what part of the breast hurts during pregnancy can help you pinpoint the cause of the pain. This article has not only broken down the different kinds of pain but also ways to manage the discomfort.
Resources: US Department of Health and Human Service