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Breast tenderness is an early sign of pregnancy. Pregnancy breast tenderness is common, and will usually lessen after the first trimester. Breast tenderness is caused by the hormones your body releases during pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone, helping your body prepare for birth and breastfeeding. These are the same hormones released right before your monthly menstruation cycle, only to much larger extent. Pregnancy breast tenderness also occurs because your body begins to produce more blood (up to 50 percent) to pass more nutrients to the fetus. The fat layer of your breasts is increasing and your milk glands are beginning to swell. While uncomfortable, it is a normal and biologically necessary process to prepare for breastfeeding your newborn.
For most women, pregnancy breast tenderness does lessen over time and is usually not more than an irritation. For other women, it can be extremely uncomfortable and seem to never dissipate. You may also notice that your pregnancy breast tenderness is worse during sexual activity or exercise, generally activity that increases blood flow. This is common, especially during your first trimester of your first pregnancy. There are ways to help your pregnancy breast tenderness. You can try a supportive cotton bra from a maternity store. Underwire bras may be more uncomfortable, and some cloth such as polyester or lace may also increase discomfort. For some women, not wearing a nightgown or bra will help, but others may want a supportive maternity bra designed to lessen the pressure placed on your breast. You can also ask your obstetrician for help and advice.