Within just a few days after finding out you are pregnant, your body begins to change and experience sensations that are entirely new to you. Among the various body parts affected by the sensations, your nipples in particular will undergo a transformation that may leave you uncomfortable and embarrassed. During your entire pregnancy your breasts and nipples will be one of the most sensitive parts of your body. You can relax and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy as best as you can by understanding the reasons behind sore nipples.
The most common reason for tender breasts and nipples stems from a surge of pregnancy hormones in your body. When you are pregnant, your body produces copious amounts of progesterone and estrogen. This influx of hormones contributes to your breasts being sore. Another reason involves the fact that your breasts are growing at a rapid rate. Even if you have a small bust naturally, you can expect your breasts to grow once you become pregnant. As your breasts grow, the sweat glands around your aereolas, called Montgomery tubercles, also will swell and produce more sweat, another one of the reasons for sore nipples.
Soreness in your nipples could also be caused by allergies or overly sensitive skin. When you are pregnant, you may develop sensitivities or allergies to laundry soap or lotion. They can cause your abdomen, shoulders, neck, and breasts to break out in rashes and even feel painful. Your nipples may be sore because of over stimulation during intercourse. It is no secret that pregnant women often have healthy libidos because of the pregnancy hormones. However, your body and its changes may not be able to keep up with your sexual appetite. If your breasts and nipples are overly sore or begin bleeding or cracking, you must seek help from your doctor. You can protect them during pregnancy by rubbing cocoa butter or coconut oil on them.
Other Reasons For Sore Nipples Besides Pregnancy?
While hormones, skin allergies, and breast growth, among others, stand out as the most common reasons for sensitive and painful nipples during pregnancy, other factors could also be at play. Doctors report that if you are breastfeeding a baby or toddler while you are pregnant with another baby, you likely will develop sore nipples at some point. While many doctors say it is safe to breastfeed if you are pregnant, others warn that it could cause you unnecessary pain. If you insist on breastfeeding your older child while you are pregnant with another, you may do well to toughen your nipples with cocoa butter or coconut oil.
You also may have sore breasts and nipples because of mastitis, or an infection of your one of your breast glands. Infected glands often occur when you are breastfeeding, however, some soaps, lotions, and even deodorants can also clog your glands and cause an infection. If you notice that your nipples have become reddened, are swollen, and hot to the touch, you should see your doctor immediately for treatment. Your doctor may need to lance the infected gland to allow the infection to seep out or your physician may simply prescribe antibiotics. If you do not seek medical help, the infection could spread to your other breast tissue and into your bloodstream. It could also reach your baby and make him or her sick.
In rare cases, sore nipples while you are pregnant may signal breast cancer. Your doctor will typically perform a breast exam during your first obstetric appointment. It is possible that your physician may have missed a cancerous growth or the cancer did not start growing until your pregnancy progressed well past that first appointment. If your doctor suspects cancer, he or she can advise you on how to continue the pregnancy and get treated for cancer later.
What Does Sore Nipples Mean?
When your nipples are sore during pregnancy, you may cringe at the thought of putting on a bra, taking a shower, or even rolling over in bed to get comfortable. Every little motion makes them ache and itch. You may wonder when the agony will end and what it all means for you. Ultimately, you can take comfort in knowing that sore nipples during every stage of pregnancy is quite normal and that countless women before you have undergone the same discomfort. If anything, the pain means that your pregnancy is progressing as normal and that you are on track for a healthy baby.
You should be aware of some warning signs that warrant immediate attention. For example, if your breasts or nipples are cracked and bleeding, you should tell your doctor and follow the medical advise precisely to avoid an infection. Some doctors will prescribe a salve to heal the cracks and tears. Others will put you on antibiotics to clear up any infection. If you notice that your nipples are bruised, you should consult with your doctor. Bruising could underlie a more serious condition like anemia.
Finally, you should adjust your lifestyle accordingly to minimize your discomfort. If you have small children, you may have to minimize how often you can pick them up and hold them. Holding a small child against your chest can cause even more soreness and bruising to develop. If you find that you are sore during intercourse, you may need to tell your husband or partner your physical limits so that you avoid being hurt. It is not uncommon for pregnant women to avoid some sexual habits while they are pregnant to safeguard their health and comfort. You may do well to use unscented and dye-free soaps, lotions, and other hygiene products while you are expecting. Pregnant women often develop sensitivities and allergies to common hygiene products. These soaps, lotions, deodorants, and other products are known to clog glands and cause rashes in pregnant women. You should also shower and rinse off thoroughly to avoid clogged glands.