How to Deal With Sore Breasts in Pregnancy

Pregnant woman
Breast Pain During Pregnancy. Zero Creatives / Getty Images

Sore breasts can be a major pain in pregnancy, particularly in early pregnancy. This is caused by the hormonal changes as your breasts begin to prepare for breastfeeding. You may notice that your breasts are sore to the touch. Some women describe this as an ache in general. You may notice this right away or you may not notice it until your breasts begin growing, usually very early in pregnancy.

Here are some tips for dealing with sore breasts in pregnancy.

Wear a Sports Bra

A sports bra can help minimize movement of your breasts, which is one reason you might feel pain. This works by holding your breasts very close to your chest wall and preventing extra jiggling with your movement throughout the day. That said, some women note that the first few minutes they feel an ache because their breasts hurt to be touched. Be sure to measure well, your bra size might actually change from prior to pregnancy to the first months. This can continue throughout pregnancy. 

Sleep in a Bra

You might find that sleeping in a bra is helpful to minimize movement and help with tenderness. This can be a special sleep bra or a sports bra, but you should not sleep in underwires. This works very similarly to the sports bra suggestion, it is simply an extension of the same thought - less movement of the breasts. Do not take your bra off if you feel better wearing it.

Avoid Contact

Sometimes it's important to be hands-off.

Be sure to communicate this to your partner in a loving way, rather than snapping and hurting their feelings. The other issue is that sometimes you accidentally hit your own breasts or your seat belt will rub against them. This is not a reason to not wear your seat belt. Simply readjust until your breasts feel better.

Avoid the Shower Spray

Some women experience pain even when it's just the water from the shower hitting their breasts. The spray of the shower can actually be painful to some women in early pregnancy. Try getting into a warm shower and letting the stream hit your breasts. Some mothers find it comforting, while others find it painful. If it's painful, avoid it; if it feels good, do it.

Wear Breast Pads

Breast pads can help shield your nipple from the lining of your bra. This can be particularly painful if there is a seam that runs through the inside of the cup of your bra. Look for seamless bras as well. Use cotton, reusable breast pads, as opposed to the disposable pads.

The good news is that, for most women, the pain won't last the entire pregnancy.

Sore breasts can interfere with your typical sex life if breast play had been a large portion of your lovemaking. Do not despair, there is usually a lessening of the sensitivity as the pregnancy progresses. You can always choose positions for sex that minimize contact with your breasts. This can help a bit.

You might also find that you do not experience sore breasts. Do not panic if you do not feel like your breasts are sore. Not having sore breasts is not a reason for concern.

Everyone has very different pregnancy symptoms. Sometimes this even changes from woman to woman, from pregnancy to pregnancy. I know that with my first pregnancy I thought that it was something that everyone had, so when my breasts weren't sore, I checked them frequently. Then they were sore but I could never tell if they were sore from being checked all the time or if they were just genuinely sore. 


Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. Gabbe, S, Niebyl, J, Simpson, JL. Fifth Edition.