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    Breast Changes

    Breast Changes And Pain During Early Pregnancy: Causes And Remedies

    Written on 14 August 2018

    A woman goes through several changes once she conceives. The changes are not just emotional and mental but physical as well. It's because your body is preparing itself for the journey ahead. Breast changes during pregnancy are among the most noticeable physical changes your body will undergo. Your breasts will start changing almost from the beginning of pregnancy as it is a way of your body preparing for the baby’s arrival. Although the most common indication of pregnancy is a missed period, breast changes and breast pain are the earliest signs you can notice within two weeks of conception.

    Causes For Breast Changes During Pregnancy

    What are the reasons for breast changes during early pregnancy? You can quite easily differentiate that your breasts are now more tender and the nipples more sensitive and uncomfortable. These are all just signs that your body is now gearing up to be a mother in every way.

    One of the most significant impacts of pregnancy is on the hormone levels in your body. In your body, two hormones, estrogen and progesterone play a key role in preparing the breasts for lactation and lead to most breast changes during pregnancy.

    Pregnancy hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin are produced by your body after fertilization, stimulating your breasts and causing the milk glands to expand in anticipation of their leading role in feeding your newborn. The wow-cleavage you're undoubtedly experiencing these days directly results from this. The soreness you're experiencing is actually a sign that your breasts are preparing for nursing, and it will fluctuate throughout your pregnancy. In the first trimester of pregnancy, most women suffer breast tenderness and soreness due to tissue enlargement.

    Firstly, there is a rise in the blood volume all through your body caused by two pregnancy hormones: progesterone and human chorionic gonadotropin(hCG). As a result of this, your breasts start to swell or become heavy.

    Next, the pigment cells or the melanocytes in your body experience change due to these hormones. Melanocytes are the cells that are responsible for the coloration of your nipples. So, for your baby to see your nipples more distinctively, your body begins to push down the pale cells of your nipples, and the darker cells start to rise to the surface. This makes your nipples easy for your baby to notice when the time comes to breastfeed your baby. This is probably one of the reasons why a few women experience sensitive nipples when they think about breast changes during pregnancy timeline.

    What changes can you expect – At the start of pregnancy, you may feel changes like breast swelling, tender or sore breasts, and feeling of heaviness in your breasts.

    • The first trimester – During the first trimester, the veins on your breasts will appear bigger and more prominent. The size of your breasts will continue to increase, but the feeling of tenderness and soreness will slowly go away after the first few weeks as your body adjusts to the hormonal changes. Your nipples may become bigger and more sensitive, and the areola color may darken.
    • In the second trimester – Your breasts will feel heavy and full as the milk ducts from inside them. During the middle of the second trimester, you may start producing colostrum-like pre-milk or the most initial form of breast milk. Some women think of it as leakage or something serious, but it’s normal and nothing to worry about.
    • The third trimester – As your body nears the end of pregnancy and approaches delivery, your breasts will become heavier and fuller. In addition, your nipples will become significantly bigger than their normal size, and the areola might darken even more. All these are signs that the body is preparing itself for childbirth. You may also feel itching since the breasts will stretch a fair bit.

    Remedies For Breast Pain During Pregnancy

    In the first trimester, you will experience some pain in your breasts and other breast changes during pregnancy. You will continue to see the size and shape of your breasts change until your breasts produce colostrum- your baby's first meal! Along with taking medications and opting for other remedies to get rid of breast pain during pregnancy, you must also let your partner know about the discomfort and pain you're facing due to breast changes during pregnancy.

    Here are a few ways to deal with all the stages of breast changes during pregnancy:

    • Start by buying a few comfortable, excellent and supportive bras. Avoid underwire bras and bras with synthetic material as they can worsen your tender breasts and sore nipples.
    • Choose soft cotton bras instead that are comfortable near the nipple area.
    • You can go for maternity bras as they have a few extra hooks that help you breathe in peace when your ribcage expands, and your breasts start growing.
    • You can also move to nursing bras somewhere during the middle of your pregnancy. These bras will be useful when you breastfeed your baby, so you might as well get used to them now! They come with the comfort of maternity bras while also having instant clip-down cups that make the whole breastfeeding process easier.
    • Not all women like sleeping without a bra. However, if you prefer wearing bras during sleep, choose sleep bras as they come with wider straps and a soft cotton lining.

    If you are considering exercising during pregnancy, make sure that you choose only sports bras as they are incredibly comfortable and made specifically for exercising during pregnancy.

    Note:

    • Expect your bra size to fluctuate throughout your pregnancy. Pregnancy might cause your cup size to increase by one or two letters. As your rib cage grows, your band size may increase between 26 and 30 weeks. Later in your pregnancy, your cup size may rise again. Your breasts will briefly grow by one or two cup sizes after delivery when your milk is ready for breastfeeding. As long as you're breastfeeding your baby, your breasts will likely return to their size in late pregnancy.
    • It's advisable to buy one or two bras at a time to accommodate your expanding breasts when you're pregnant. You'll need a few elastic nursing bras to get you through the first few weeks of breastfeeding and beyond after your pregnancy (about 38 weeks). When you start producing milk, your breasts will enlarge significantly.

    Natural Home Remedies

    • A frequent home remedy that can help you deal with breast changes during pregnancy is to drink more water. However, having a lot of water in your body might cause discomfort and agony in your breasts. Help flush out extra fluids and hormones by drinking plenty of water. Soreness and pain can be alleviated by mixing a little ginger or lemon into your drink.
    • Breast pain can be alleviated by cutting back on sodium intake for a short period of time. Consult your doctor before making any significant dietary changes, as salt consumption is vital to building blood volume.
    • Flaxseeds, a good fiber source, has been shown to ease breast pain. One tablespoon of ground flaxseeds can significantly relieve when added to water, fruit juice, or yogurt. Pregnancy-related breast soreness can be alleviated by eating a diet rich in vitamins and minerals.
    • Put an ice pack on your chest and cover it with a towel. You can also use a frozen bag of peas!
    • If an ice pack doesn't work for you, try soaking in a hot shower for a few minutes to see if it helps. If you have a lot of tense muscles in your body, you may benefit from the heat.

    OTC Medication

    Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, can treat breast pain during pregnancy. However, even if these are over-the-counter medications, it's a good idea to consult your physician before using any of them.

    Conclusion

    These changes differ in each woman, and you may or may not experience all of them or experience them at a higher or lower level. However, you can make these changes easier by doing some simple things like using a comfortable and supportive bra, sleeping in loose and comfortable clothes, and using a gentle moisturizer around the breast area.

    Article Source

    1.Breast changes during and after pregnancy; Breast Cancer Now. (2019) (2017) https://breastcancernow.org/information-support/have-i-got-breast-cancer/breast-changes-during-after-pregnancy

    2. Possible breast changes during and after pregnancy: National Health Service (NHS) Trust. (n.d.). http://www.sthk.nhs.uk/patients-visitors/Documents/Patient%20Information%20Leaflets/Pregnancy%20%20Postnatal%20Breast%20Changes%20Leaflet.pdf

    3. Breast changes during pregnancy: American Pregnancy Association. (n.d.) https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/breast-changes-during-pregnancy/

    4. Breast changes during pregnancy: Family Health Service, Dept. of Health, The Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Republic of China. (n.d.) https://www.fhs.gov.hk/english/health_info/woman/30117.pdf

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