Breasts Tender Before Missed Period: Early Pregnancy Sign?
The timing and types of pregnancy symptoms vary from woman to woman, but there are many common signs. These can include morning sickness, headache, bloating, and of course a missed period. However, even before all of that, many women experience breast tenderness or pain.
Is Breast Tenderness the First Sign of Pregnancy?
For many women, breast tenderness occurs long before a missed period or any other sign of pregnancy. They can begin to feel tender as early as a week or two after conception. Some bras or supportive tank tops can cause discomfort as well. Because tender breasts are also a sign of getting your period, this early sign of pregnancy can often go unnoticed. You can read this article if you want to learn about other early symptoms.
All kinds of exercises may be painful. Depending on your breast size, small movements like walking up stairs may be uncomfortable without a supportive bra. Some pregnant women are unable to sleep on their stomachs. If you have nipple tenderness, ask your partner not to touch them since breasts are especially tender during sex. Breast tenderness is annoying, and possibly painful, but it is a normal part of pregnancy.
How Many Days Will My Breasts Be Sore Before My Period?
The time of when breasts become sore due to menstruation can vary based on a woman's menstrual cycle. According to Healthline, breasts can become tender about a week before a period begins. This is due to progesterone levels rising during this period.
What Kind of Breast Pain Indicates Pregnancy?
Differentiating breast pain between pregnancy and PMS can be tricky since they can feel so similar. While there is no conclusive test to label a cause, there are some clues that signify pregnancy is causing your breasts to be sore. When pregnant, the whole breast will feel sore rather than just the nipple. According to Dr. Robert Atlas, an OB/GYN and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mercy Medical Center, breast pain caused by a period will only last a few days. The pain will disappear when menstruation begins as progesterone levels drop. In contrast, progesterone levels will rise during the early days of pregnancy. Breast pain can be expected to last for the entire first trimester. To know about more differences between early pregnancy and premenstrual symptoms, you can read this article.
Why Are Breasts Sore During Pregnancy?
Your body is going through a lot of changes during pregnancy, and your breasts are getting ready to feed your baby. According to BabyCenter, breast growth and development often leads to swelling and soreness. The tenderness may also be caused by an increase in estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy, which causes blood to rush to your breasts. As milk ducts and milk-producing cells develop, tissue will grow and change shape. You also start to get more layers of fat underneath the breast tissue that contributes to the increase in size.
What Are Common Breast Changes During Pregnancy?
Every woman's body reacts differently, but here are some common changes you can expect in your breasts throughout pregnancy.
- Veins can become more visible. This is due to increased blood flow.
- Around the sixth to eight week, your breasts will begin to grow. They typically go up to one or two cup sizes. "Breasts may feel fuller and heavier due to the increased growth of milk ducts," says Dr. Tami Prince, an OBGYN at US Healthworks in Marietta, Georgia. "Stretch marks may also be seen due to breast growth and stretching of skin. As breasts enlarge and become more sensitive, so do the nipples." Growth is more prevalent if this is your first baby.
- Melasma can occur, which is the darkening of the nipples. "This darkening is due to the increased production of melanin by the placenta," says Dr. Tami Prince. The areolas can get bigger and darker as well.
- Your breasts may begin to feel itchy. This is related to the skin stretching as the breasts grow.
- The little bumps around your areolas may become more noticeable. These bumps become more pronounced during pregnancy as they are an oil-producing gland that lubricates and protects the nipple.
- Around the end of the first trimester, the breasts begin producing colostrum. This is the milk for your baby when you begin nursing. There may be some leakage towards the end of the pregnancy.
- Lumps and bumps may develop. These are typically galactoceles (milk-filled cysts) or fibroadenomas (benign breast tumors). These are completely harmless and no cause for alarm. Regardless, you should always mention any unusual developments like bumps to your doctor. Here is an article that explains why it is important to self-examine your breasts.
How to Take Care of Tender Breasts
- Wear a supportive bra. According to Dr. Patrick Duff, an OB-GYN at the University of Florida, Gainesville, a full-coverage bra can offer more support by lifting the breasts and relieving pressure from that area. Even a larger bra or a sports bra can be effective. You may want to avoid certain types of bras. "Underwire bras may be more uncomfortable during pregnancy due to underwire having the potential for digging into skin," says Dr. Prince.
- Wear a bra while you sleep. "Sleeping in a bra may help with tenderness as it provides compression as well as serve as a barrier to protect breasts from rubbing against clothing," says Dr. Prince.
- Wear looser clothes. Your tops may be tighter as your breasts grow and the inside seems may irritate them. Look for clothing that is larger and more flowy so they don't rub against you.
- A cold compress mat relieve some tenderness. Lay a towel over your chest and apply an ice pack there.
- A warm shower may be effective. The hot water can help relax the muscles around your chest and ease some tension.
What was your first sign of pregnancy?
- 66% Breast tenderness
- 17% Missed period
- 4% Heightened sense of smell
- 12% Tiredness
- Breast Changes During Pregnancy. From BabyCenter.
- Daly, Kimberley A., Scotch, Allison W. Symptoms and Solutions for Breast Pain and Soreness. From Parents.
- Roth, E. Breast Pain and Tenderness Before Period. From Healthline.
- Period or Pregnancy Symptoms: Am I Pregnant or PMS-ing? From CafeMom.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.