Being pregnant comes with many physical signs and symptoms, one of which is nipple soreness. Even before you begin breastfeeding, you may start to feel this pain in your nipples. Many mothers even start experiencing this early in the first trimester.
With a range of sensations, nipple soreness can feel like a slight tingle or even an aching throb. While this can be a challenge to deal with and sooth, it is a good indication that your body is preparing for the upcoming task of nourishing your baby.
What Causes Nipple Pain During Pregnancy?
When you become pregnant, your estrogen and progesterone levels rise. Many of the symptoms that you will experience during your pregnancy are a direct result of the increase in hormones. Breast tenderness and nipple soreness can actually be one of the very first symptoms of pregnancy!
In the first three months, your milk ducts are going to increase in size. The fat inside of your breasts will also start to build, allowing for more blood flow through the area. All natural parts of being pregnant, this rapid change could be a reason for the nipple soreness that you might experience.
The Best Ways to Relieve Nipple Soreness
Luckily, there are many ways to ease the pain in your nipples during pregnancy. The following are some that have proven to be helpful:
#1 Wear the Right Bra
It is more important now than ever to make sure you are wearing bras that actually fit. Since you are going to be developing quickly, it is wise to get re-fitting for a bra. Avoid anything with underwire or heavy padding, because this will only cause more strain. Eventually, you are going to probably want to switch over to a maternity bra or a sports bra for maximum comfort. It might be necessary to keep buying different sized bras throughout your pregnancy; this is very common.
#2 Sleep Comfortably
On the topic of bras, it is probably best to not sleep in one if you can help it. Going to sleep in a bra is going to constrict your movement and may result in additional soreness. Opt for a sports bra if you must, and choose a breathable material. Cotton is great because it will maintain a comfortable temperature level and it is also thin material.
#3 Utilize Breast Pads
Because of the increase in nipple sensitivity, investing in some breast pads could relieve some of the discomforts. The pads will create an additional barrier between your nipples and the fabric to reduce the friction and keep the pain limited to a minimum. These can be great to use because they are compatible with most bras that you already own, as well as new ones that you may purchase.
#4 Take a warm bath or shower
This is a trick that differs for each individual, but warm water can also be soothing to the soreness. Make sure that you go for a gentle shower head setting and limit the exposure of bathtub jets, as this can be painful when you are already feeling sore. It is easiest to soak in the tub and gently move the water across the breasts with your hands.
#5 Use a Cold Compress
Just like heat, cool temperatures can also be utilized. If you do not have time to run a bath and have a soak, take a couple of ice packs to your breasts. If this is too intense, you can opt for cold washcloths that have been soaked in chilled water. The change in temperature will help to reduce the increased blood flow that you might be experiencing, which may be responsible for hot and sore nipples.
#6 Fragrance and Irritations
Make sure that you are paying attention to which products you are using on your body. Without even realizing it, strongly scented body products might be adding to the soreness that you are feeling. A feeling of dryness usually occurs when you use soaps like these. Instead, opt for products that advertise chamomile and coconut oil. Both are known for being gentle and soothing.
#7 Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water is not only essential to helping your nipple soreness but also, to your overall health and well-being. Making sure that you are properly hydrated is going to help with water retention. If you are feeling dehydrated, your body tends to retain water, which can be stored in your breast area.
#8 Nipple Cream
At just about any store that sells body lotion, you should also be able to pick up a tube of cream to help with your nipples. Lanolin-based products are said to help with soothing the dry skin, but keep in mind that many contain pesticides. There are several all-natural options that you can turn to instead, such as coconut oil and olive oil-based products. It is important to read up on each brand ahead of time so that you are able to make an informed decision.
#9 The Last Resort: Distractions
Sometimes, it seems that nothing is helping the pain. This is when you should utilize your favorite hobbies and forms of entertainment. Pick up a good book, or get lost in your favorite tv show. You can even take up sewing or knitting to channel your concentration. Distraction is a must during a lot of your pregnancy. Although it is not the most practical when it comes to pain management, it can help to pass the time until something else kicks in.
What to Expect
Of course, feeling nipple soreness is a regular part pregnancy. At the end of the day, it is essential to remember that you are feeling this way because your body is preparing adequately for the arrival of the baby.
There is nothing to be ashamed of, and the pain is only temporary. Most mothers report feeling less sensitivity as the trimesters go on. If you are ever uncertain, you may also approach your doctor for additional tips and advice.