During pregnancy, your body changes, and that includes your breasts. In preparation for your child, your breasts make changes to supply food for your newborn. Whether you plan to breastfeed or not, you may have some discomfort. Rest assured, this is not uncommon.
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Your breasts go through several changes during pregnancy. They may become sore and sensitive and respond to changes in temperature. You may also notice an increase in size, itchiness, stretch marks, more prominent veins, darker and larger nipples and areolae and some leakage. This is all part of your breasts preparing to lactate and feed your child, but it may also cause soreness.
Sensitivity and soreness may be caused by the breasts preparing to lactate. During the nine months of your pregnancy, your milk ducts, which hold the milk, are growing to make room for your supply. And they may begin filling with milk. This, in addition to the hormones circulating through your body, can account for soreness.
Extreme tenderness and soreness in your breasts during the ninth month may indicate a problem. Mastitis is an infection of the breast. It can be caused by a clogged duct or a raw, dry and cracked nipple. If one area in particular is hard and sore, this is a good indication that you have mastitis. This condition can be cured with antibiotics. If you suspect mastitis, speak with your doctor.
You can take some steps to relieve the soreness. Start with a good maternity bra, which can give your breasts the support they need. This may also help to ease some of the strain on your back. Pick a bra with thick straps and plenty of support under the cups, but it shouldn't have underwires, advises the American Pregnancy Association. Take warm showers and baths, but avoid using soap on your breasts. Soap can dry out your skin and nipples and leave them vulnerable to mastitis. For further help, contact your doctor.