Breast tenderness is common in early pregnancy.
For some women, having sore breasts is one of the first signs of pregnancy, even before a missed period.
Just like other early pregnancy symptoms, surging hormones are the reason for breast pain.
These hormones are working hard to sustain a healthy pregnancy, and preparing your breasts to feed your baby.
Most women feel relieved to know early pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and exhaustion will usually pass by the time they reach the second trimester.
But what about breast pain?
When do your breasts stop hurting in pregnancy?
Does breast tenderness go away after implantation?
Implantation occurs when a fertilised egg travels down the fallopian tube and attaches itself to the uterine wall.
Implantation usually happens around 6-12 days after ovulation. This is technically week 3 or 4 of your pregnancy.
Implantation causes levels of hCG, estrogen and progesterone to increase rapidly. This sudden hormonal surge can cause your breasts to feel swollen or tender.
Swelling and tenderness are more likely to go away once your body has adjusted to the hormones, rather than right after implantation.
Adjusting to the hormonal change can take around 3 months, which is why most women start to feel better in their second trimester of pregnancy.
When do your breasts stop hurting in pregnancy?
Breast pain is often at its worst for most women during the first trimester.
Do your breasts stop hurting in the second trimester?
Estrogen and progesterone levels drop around the start of the second trimester, so it’s common for the level of breast pain to drop too.
Although you might experience relief from breast pain at this stage of pregnancy, it certainly doesn’t mean your breasts have stopped preparing for the birth of your baby.
In the second trimester, the milk-making cells in your breasts become activated. Around the 20th week of your pregnancy, your breast will start to produce colostrum.
Some women experience more breast pain in pregnancy than others. Other women might still have breast pain in the second trimester.
Just like other pregnancy symptoms, each woman’s experience is unique.
Your breasts will increase in size throughout your pregnancy and some pain can be relieved by having adequate support from the right bra.
If you haven’t already, now is a good time to be professionally fitted for a maternity bra.
What part of the breasts hurt in early pregnancy?
Normal breast pain in pregnancy is commonly described as an all-over aching, swelling, tenderness or change in sensation in the breast or nipple.
You might have experienced breast pain before or during your period. Breast pain in pregnancy can be a similar feeling.
Some women report a more intense version of their usual premenstrual or menstrual pain.
Although a level of discomfort is a part of pregnancy, there are some other breast changes that aren’t caused by pregnancy and require medical attention.
You should seek a professional opinion from your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following breast changes during early pregnancy:
- A lump in your breast or underarm
- Nipple discharge (some can be normal during pregnancy)
- Itchy, scaly, red, dimpled or puckered skin.
Can breast tenderness fluctuate in early pregnancy?
It’s very common in early pregnancy for any symptoms to fluctuate from one day to the next.
One day you might feel completely exhausted, only to feel fresh and re-energised the following day.
One night you might get up and go to the toilet several times and the next night you get up only once.
Just like other early pregnancy symptoms, breast tenderness can come and go.
Some women are lucky and don’t have much trouble with early pregnancy symptoms at all.
Other women experience pregnancy symptoms right up until the time they give birth.
Both circumstances are completely normal. Every woman has her own unique experience of pregnancy.
Can breast size fluctuate in pregnancy?
The most rapid period of breast growth during pregnancy is usually during the first trimester. It’s common for breast growth to become more gradual after this phase.
Some women notice another growth spurt in the third trimester, closer to the date of their baby’s birth.
Not only will your breasts increase in size, but other changes will take place too:
- The areola (the skin around your nipple) becomes darker. This helps your baby locate the nipple on the breast
- Bluish veins in your breasts become more prominent. This is due to increased blood flow
- Montgomery’s Tubercles (little bumps) appear on your areola. These are sebaceous glands which help keep your nipples clean and supple.
All of these changes are normal and necessary to prepare your breasts for feeding your baby.
By the time you give birth and your milk comes in, your breasts will be around 1.5 times bigger than their pre-pregnancy size.
Is losing breast tenderness a sign of miscarriage?
One day you might be wondering: When do your breasts stop hurting in pregnancy? Then the next day you wake up without any breast pain.
You might feel worried rather than relieved if your breasts stop hurting during pregnancy. It’s normal to feel concerned when any pregnancy symptom suddenly disappears.
As already mentioned, breast tenderness can fluctuate. What you’re not feeling today might be back again next week.
A sudden change in pregnancy symptoms doesn’t always mean something is wrong. It could simply be due to a shift in hormones.
Just as morning sickness typically subsides after the first trimester, you can expect breast pain to subside at some point too.
If there are no other signs of complications – for example, if all of your other pregnancy symptoms disappear, or you have bleeding and cramping – then it’s likely to be just hormone shifts.
If you have concerns about any changes during your pregnancy, talk to your healthcare provider. It will help put your mind at ease.
You can read more about signs of miscarriage in BellyBelly’s article Signs You Might Be Experiencing An Early Miscarriage.
Do breasts go back to normal after pregnancy?
Pregnancy and childbirth cause a huge transformation in a woman’s body.
Changes in the size, shape and appearance of your breasts after pregnancy are inevitable.
Regardless of whether or not you breastfeed your baby, your breasts will go through the necessary development required to provide milk for your baby.
As well as wondering when do your breasts stop hurting in pregnancy, you might also be asking whether they will ever go back to ‘normal’.
Motherhood is a life-changing experience that brings about a new kind of normal. Your breasts (or any other body part) might not go back to looking or feeling exactly as they did pre-pregnancy.
Celebrate the incredible journey your body has been on to grow and bring your child into the world.
Instead of worrying about going back to ‘normal’, embrace the change and the amazing accomplishment your body has achieved.