Sore and tender breasts are one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy, occurring as early as weeks three and four and lasting throughout the first trimester.

That sore boob sensation feels like a dull ache, soreness, heaviness, fullness or tenderness, though some report sharp, shooting pain too.

What’s up with the painful breasts?

After conception, your body begings to product pregnancy hormones – including oestrogen, progesterone, and prolactin – which stimulate your breasts and cause the milk glands inside them to grow and prepare for lactation.

Thankfully, the early pain eases up as pregnancy progresses.

Pregnancy breast changes

Along with breast aches, your nipples may be increasing in size and feel more tender.

By about 12 weeks of the pregnancy, the skin of the nipple and areola may start to darken or ‘pigment’. Skin colour changes are very individual to each woman. Your areola will also be sporting Montgomery’s tubercles, tiny bumps which are oil glands that supply lubrication to the area.

The increased blood supply a woman has during pregnancy also makes the veins in the breasts become more noticeable.

This leaky liquid may be  thin and watery, or it could appear thick and sticky later on, which is the consistency of colostrum.

Sore and tender breasts are one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy.

Try these tips to help ease breast tenderness

  • Wear a supportive bra – A bra specialist can measure you for a new bra – a wire-free, unpadded option is best. You want it to feel supportive and not too tight.
  • Loose clothing for the win – Opt for flowly, loose tops that is not tight across your breasts.
  • Try a cold compress – Cold packs can help relieve discomfort. Try wrapping an ice pack (or a pack of frozen peas) in a dish towel and place it on your chest.
  • Warm ’em up – A warm shower can also ease the pain.
  • Seek medical advice – Before reaching for over-the-counter pain relief, check in with your doctor.