Pregnancy Information Center

Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources


Breast Tenderness During Pregnancy: Your Symptoms Manual


What Breast Tenderness and Nipple Soreness During Pregnancy Are

A woman's breasts increase in size and fullness during pregnancy. Tender and painful breasts, with a tingling sensation in the nipples, are often one of the first signs of pregnancy. As your due date approaches, hormone changes will cause your breasts to get even bigger to prepare for breastfeeding. Your breasts may feel full, heavy or tender.

In the third trimester, some pregnant women begin to leak colostrum from their breasts. Colostrum is the first milk that your breasts produce for the baby. It's a thick, yellowish fluid containing antibodies that protect newborns from infection.

Why Breast Tenderness and Nipple Soreness During Pregnancy Happen

Your hormones are getting your breasts ready for breastfeeding (or lactation). The milk ducts are growing and being filled with milk, stretching them out.  


How to Relieve Breast Tenderness and Nipple Soreness

  • Wear a maternity bra with good support. Start this early in your pregnancy.

  • Wear a bra at night if your breasts are large.

  • Put pads in your bra to absorb leakage.

  • Wash your breasts gently once a day with a mild soap and pat dry.

  • Put baby lotion or oil on your nipples.
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