Natural Relief for Sore Breasts in Pregnancy

Here’s why we get sore breasts in pregnancy, and some natural tips to provide relief. Because let’s face it, sore breasts in pregnancy can be no fun!

Here's why we get sore breasts in pregnancy, and some natural tips to provide relief.

Your body is changing. It’s forming a new being! There are bound to be side effects. Hormones are surging and can wreck havoc from day one of conception. Hormones can cause morning sicknessheartburn, and a slew of other symptoms, including sore breasts!

The one good thing about sore breasts in pregnancy is that it is often the first indication that you are pregnant! Sore breasts often come before you even pee on the stick.

Here’s the scoop on why we get sore breasts in pregnancy, and some natural tips to provide relief.

How sore is sore?

While not every woman will experience this symptom (I didn’t), many will. During the 1st trimester, many women complain that the level of breast soreness is beyond anything they’ve experienced before. It’s definitely a more exaggerated tenderness than occurs during your monthly cycle. For some mamas, a slight breeze feels like it could knock you to your knees. Is this an exaggeration?… Sort of. But not really. The slightest touch, or bump, or even your clothes brushing against them can be extremely intense for some.

Why do breasts hurt during pregnancy?

Your breasts are preparing to feed baby. There’s a fat layer that thickens inside of the breasts. The milk glands multiply. Blood flow increases. And even nipples can change size, shape, and thickness. All these changes start to make your breasts sore and bigger.

The fact your breasts are getting bigger may be quite exciting and intriguing for your significant other. However, many women want nothing to do with someone touching their breasts during those first few weeks of pregnancy. Thankfully, this will pass as your pregnancy goes on.

But what can we do now to make the soreness go AWAY?

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Natural relief for sore breasts in pregnancy

The tenderness will simmer down as you approach your 2nd trimester. Until then, here’s a list of natural relief for sore breasts in pregnancy:

Supportive bra

I’m not a huge proponent of bras, in general, as I believe they close-up the lymph system. However, during those first few weeks of pregnancy, harnessing your boobs can really help to ease any discomfort or pain.

Tips for buying a bra:

  • Get fitted. In-store bra specialists can assist in getting the proper fitting bra. A good fitting bra is essential to increase comfort and decrease pain.
  • Get fitted more than once during pregnancy. Your breasts are changing; change your bras along with that process.

Wear a well-fitted bra during exercise

This helps harness the extra weight in your breasts from pulling and causing even more pain.

Avoid underwired bras

They are not suitable for your changing breasts and can be uncomfortable.

Try a sleep bra

A maternity cotton bra may ease some discomfort when you sleep.

Drink plenty of water

Water retention can aggravate sore breasts. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day to flush your body properly of excess fluids and hormones.

Adding lemon, ginger, fennel, or bentonite clay can help with soreness and other hormonal symptoms you might be experiencing.

Reduce salt intake

While healthy sea salt consumption is important during pregnancy to build blood volume, some mamas may feel relieve by temporarily reducing sodium intake. By doing this and increasing your water, you can drastically reduce sore breasts in pregnancy.

Eat flaxseed

Consuming 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed may reduce pain. Mix with a glass of water, yogurt or fruit juice. It is also good source of fiber.

Improve diet & nutrition

A diet rich in vitamins and minerals helps create a healthy foundation for your body to alleviate sore breasts in pregnancy.

Add leafy greens, beans, whole grains, seeds, and nuts daily to reduce tenderness and a slew of other hormonal effects.

Apply a warm compress

Cover breasts with warm, wet towel for 10-15 minutes. The warmth increases blood circulation, reducing swelling and tenderness.

Check with your healthcare practitioner first, but soaking in a warm bath (below 100 degrees Fahrenheit), can work wonders with pain reduction. A shower is a great alternative!

Be patient

The greatest resource you have at your disposal is patience! Although there are several ways you can get natural relief for sore breasts in pregnancy, the symptom itself will not last that long. So be patient!

How about you?

Did your breasts get sore or tender during pregnancy? What natural remedies did you use? Share with us in the comments below!


Genevieve Howland

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a doula and childbirth educator. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 135,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.


  1. Man, I totally related to every thing mentioned about the breast tenderness & pain right now. I’m not sure how far along I am exactly just yet, but so far I’d say that breast tenderness & soreness is my biggest & worst pregnancy symptom! Omg they hurt so bad, if the air off the fan hits them I could just buckle in pain.

  2. It’s not so much my boob part, but my nipples- dear God, I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that having crocodiles latched to them couldn’t hurt more. It’s excruciating, I can’t even stand up straight when it’s happening, and I’m worried they’re gonna just pop off like champagne corks one of these days and take someone’s eye out. Why is this happening to me? Was it something I said or did..?.I’ve read about “breast tenderness” but not engorged nipples that -literally- feel as though they are stuck in tiny bear traps. I’ve been binding my chest with scarves when that happens, just to try &curb the pressure so they don’t actually explode. It kind of helps. It’s dreadful though, it’s worse than….well any chest pain I’ve ever had. Breast tenderness sounds almost charming compared to this– that’s not what this is, I keep expecting to look down and see a volcanic nipple eruption. Am I the only one? Please don’t judge me sisters…

  3. I’ve found that sleeping on my back makes breast soreness worse. You’re supposed to sleep on your side anyway, but often, I’ll wake up early morning on my back because that relieves pressure on my bladder. So, if I wake up and need to pee, I try to do it so I don’t fall back asleep and roll onto my back!

  4. I’m cooking baby #2 and nursing #1…oh boy, I was really hoping someone in here had some magical tip for the pain of the latch on! We had a beautiful nursing relationship and I am sticking it out either way because it’s what is best for my son. We will be tandem feeding…but in the meanwhile it’s exactly someone slicing off my nipple with a knife for the first few moments when he gets on the breast, especially when my hormones are higher at night!

    • Awww hang in there momma! We are in the same boat. I’ve been practicing breathing relaxation for labour and I find that if I do that…big breath and exhale while trying to relax… the latch is not as bad. We try to distract too – telling funny stories or reading books which helps a little too. All the best!

    • You’re not alone! I’m 20 weeks with a 20 month old and my nipples are still crazy tender. It’s borderline unbearable. I’m sticking it out, as we’ve cut feedings down to 2-3x a day, but it’s been brutal! Like Em said- I’ve been practicing breathing techniques, reframing “pain” sensations and relaxing my body for labor.

  5. Its 6 am i have to work and I cannot sleep because they hurt so bad and my clay hotpack isnt helping and i drank a bottle of home made lemonade and i want to cry. Help ??

    • If you have a fever or redness on your breast, please consult with your provider as you could have mastitis. Taking a hot shower and hand expressing a bit could also be helpful. Good luck!

    • This may be tmi but I have my husband suck on them and the pain goes away almost instantly.

  6. So this is my second pregnancy & the first time I surprisingly had slim to no sore breasts but this time around I’m in my second trimester and the pain in my breast hasn’t gotten any better. My nipples are killing me all day everyday, I can’t put on the shirt I can’t even put on a sports bra or even shower in peace because I have so much pain it’s just like I can slightly rub my breast against something and it feels like my nipples are just raw and they want to fall off. The only two things have helped we’re getting a warm Rag and keeping it on my nipples or having my spouse suck on my nipples for a good few minutes it feels as though pressure is being released from the sucking

  7. I’m 9 weeks and I haven’t had a full night sleep since before I found out I was pregnant I’ll wake up and they will be so sore I can’t get comfortable and I work in a factory where I have to put cardboard in a machine and the sheets rub against my chest by quitting time I can’t have anything on them.

  8. I’m 5 weeks along and I have this symptom more than any others so far! My breasts are so sore I feel like my nipples are trying to detach themselves and run away! My poor fiancé! I won’t let him near them! Haha.

  9. saw a breastfeeding post where they suggest using monthly pads cover in aloe around the outside and with hazel over the center and then freezing. place that in your bra. wondering if that will help before too. I am not even sure im pregnant yet. first test said no but I havent started my monthly yet and my breasts are not usually this sore.

  10. Im 28 week n its my six pregnancy n my breast been in so much pain they always feel hot n sore its such a relief to take my bra off at night ….this has never happened before should i be worry

  11. l found after birth the only things that worked for me was putting cabage leaves in my bra, wrapping it around my breasts. Everyone said boil it but that was an awful idea.
    Sleeping with the raw cabage leaves helped me hugely and was easy and simple to do. It helped so much l started doing it in the day time as well, so l could have nights bra less.

  12. I am in my first trimester and my breast soreness was an early sign of my pregnancy. They were more sore than normal when I get my period. My nipples were tender to the touch and still are. What helps is having my husband massage my breasts for me before bed and during the day when he can. He just has to be careful not to brush against my nipples. What also helps to alleviate the soreness temporarily is to take a hot bath every now and again. I hope that I helped some!

  13. This is my 3rd pregnancy – and I have never had more breast pain than this.
    Ever slightest shiver or movement sends my chest into stabbing pain and my nipples are at attention 24/7 ?.
    This has been happening for almost four weeks.
    Someone help

    • This could be thyroid related. I would get levels checked.

      • This is my first pregnancy and the nipple pain is excruciating and it’s frequency is tiring even at work. First time my hubby sucked them, it hurt even more. It’s really affecting my work as I cannot even be on my desk for an hour without running to the restroom to remove my bra and other top clothing. Massaging them doesn’t help either as it takes about 15minutes to feel relieved. I also tried using Vaseline on my nipples before leaving home yet no instant relief. Is this normal?

        • That doesn’t sound typical but, it may be normal. Since we are not medical providers, we always recommend checking in with your midwife or OBGYN for guidance.

    • Mine are the same way and my doctor said it was fine but I made my own way to help my nips. I just took vasaline on a bandaid or gause with tape and you can leave it on for as long as you want. I put mine on for a day and put clean ones on the next day and they feel so much better, you can pair it with a warm compress for breast tenderness.

  14. My breast feel like I have just had work done on them. I feel like they are going to rip off when I wake up in the morning. If they are smashed together, its extremely sore. My boyfriend will gently rub them until I feel some sort of relief. But if that doesn’t work I try a warm towel over them. That calms it down a bit.

  15. I am in my second trimester and I keep getting sharp pains in different areas of my breast. It is very aggravating. Everything I have read says it gets better in the second trimester but that has not happened for me. I have tried hot showers massage and nothing is working. Anyone have any ideas?

    • Mine also was prominent in the 2nd trimester. The best thing I did to relieve the pain was a rice bag to heat up. I could put it in my bra, it was very mobile. About 40 seconds in the microwave, immediate relief.

  16. I’m about to be 7 weeks in a couple days and the slightest touch literally puts me in tears. Like Im not sure if it’s worse with or without a top and bra but I’ll definitely try these remedies

    • I understand how u feel, i just turned 7 weeks pregnant today and my breast feel the same way. So far NOTHING has helped

  17. None of these things work for me except laying in bed with nothing on my top I swear us mothers need to come together and invent something we can put on our nipples under our shirts and bras that can turn warm or cold and doesn’t actually touch the nipple like a bowl around it that would be perfect (like a cup for your nipples that has heat or cooling features )

  18. I had a breast reduction in 2009. I’m currently 10 weeks pregnant and my nipple hurts something crazy. It’s like a cattle prod or someone twisting my nipple. Anyone have a breast reduction then really sore nipples/breasts during early pregnancy? The only thing I have done that seems to help is a heating pad on my chest…I can’t do that during the day b/c I teach high school. It’s honestly the worst symptom I’m experiencing (except nausea all day long). Thanks.

    • I too had a breast reduction back in 07. I had my second child after the surgery, was told more than likely I would never breastfeed but my boobs during pregnancy did everything they were suppose to do and even after labor, they sprang milk. I am now pregnant with twins, am 10 weeks along and my boobs have never hurt this bad before! The tenderness is painful and my nipples get a striking pain in them as if they are being pierced. Only 30 more weeks yayyy:-/

  19. I’m 10 weeks right now and my god this has got to be the worst symptom I have so far! Any piece of clothing touches I scream! I generally have big boobs but now they are gigantic I didn’t even think this was possible!!! It feel like the hole of my boobs are bruised and just a little touch makes me feel like I’ve been punched in the boob! ? I hope this isn’t with me for the duration! ?

  20. This is my 4th baby and my chest been in so much pain I will be 8 months in couple days my chest is so sore and tender in so much pain never had to deal with this situation until after I had my baby’s I know different things happen during pregnancy but wow I wish I wasn’t in this much pain when my chest and nipples start hurting. Usually warm rag help our a shower our even trying massage them help but really notthing help at this point.

  21. This is my second pregnancy. I had sore breasts throughout my first pregnancy. My breasts started leaking milk during my fifth month. It was my biggest problem during pregnancy. I drank lots of water and ate a very healthy diet with lots of greens n veggies. With this pregnancy, I’m in my fourth month but the pain is unbearable. I would try the warm compress and hope it works else, I’ll just patiently wait for delivery. I’m just miserable. For me, the bras make it worse. I have never been a fan of wired bra so I use the wireless bras.

  22. Im going to have to disagree with some of this. I am in my second trimester and there seems to be no easing up of pain. Bras do not help aswell as no bra helps either. I drink lots of water and have it with lemon/lime and cucumber. Warm or cold compresses do not work. I eat healthy with lots of green leaf foods vitamins and whole grain. I have not tried the flax seed and seen as most of the other thin s do not work I feel this would be wasted money. So I guess I will just have to put up with it and think that the birth is gong to be 100 times more painful, so suck it up ?

    • Im 19w and the breast pain has not eased up for ne either. Which makes its excrutiating to nurse my almost 2 year old (tho i no linget produce milk due to pregnancy) i hope it stops soon.

  23. does custom bras out of cotton, women owned company

  24. It sounds all great; however, I would skip the bath! Hot water might cause miscarriage…..

    • It says ‘warm’ bath not hot.

  25. id just like this moment to say that i started out 3 years ago with a 32 FF sized bra, that i had “fitted” with the help of an aunt’s guess and some measurement help from a company called bravissimo, FROM ACROSS THE OCEAN. i had been everywhere i could get to for measurements, and i had ALWAYS been measured incorrectly. DO NOT TRUST their measurements if the bra they give you doesnt actually fit.
    here are the fit rules that finally made sense, and finally got me bras that were the right size. i just wish bras never wore out because i would have worn those things forever.

    when i got pregnant with my daughter, of course everything changed and i was still much bigger after that so i tried getting a new size, but it is still a hassle to get the bra, have it not fit, and have to return it via air mail. 🙁
    but ive never been to any store in america (ok, in minnesota) that can actually get and sell the right size for me. obviously, im larger than 32 FF now, but seriously, when was the last time you saw a bra even in THAT size in ANY STORE?!?! they dont exist. AND for someone with sensory issues, i cant handle the itchy, scratchy, stupid lacy borders around the edges of most of the stupid bras they make… its so annoying.
    this is THE BRA that was perfect, beautiful, and rocked my world.

    so. i just wanted to express my frustration that what i was nearly 4 years after my son was born, i am no longer, and there is no way in the world that i can find a bra bigger than that either.

    the last time i went to walmart just to desperately find a stupid sports bra, i bought a 2X and that was STILL not big enough! not to mention uniboob and sweaty and uncomfortable sports bras anyway.. but seriously there is no excuse for this bull in this country. we have the technology. why are all bras out there made with a large enough cup only made for ladies like 40+ ? why dont bras have standard sizes across the board? and why does a 32FF cup have a different size cup than a 40FF cup? its pure insanity. and its frustrating and annoying and expensive… so so so expensive. 🙁 heartbreaking, and for something women truly do need… argh.! dont get me started. just so much frustration.

    • I completely understand. I am a 38 J, and just found out I am pregnant. I am scared to death of what is to come. I know you are a ways away, but there is a store you can go to in Billings Montana. They even carry maternity bras. It is called TLC Lingerie.

    • You might want to try Lane Bryant. I have had lots of luck with them, though they only go up to H so I have no idea what I’m gonna do when I grow out of that one by the end of this pregnancy! They have some very comfortable bras and although they can be slightly pricy (my last purchase was 2 no underwire cotton bras and was around $65 for both, though I got a free shirt), I have found that they are worth it and they have lots of sales too. Well constructed and if you take care of them right they will last. Plus they can deliver wherever and I really like their attitude about real women’s bodies.

    • I can completely agree that I don’t trust most places, but after working at a store that sold bras… I know the importance of measuring correctly. Hanesbrands/Maidenform are amazing! But I do agree that is a hard size to find. We carried DDD and G’s. I don’t think we ever really carried a FF.

    • Nordstrom’s and I think Bloomingdales carries a bunch of UK brands that go all the way to j or k. Sometimes you can find the bras (which are upwards of $50 at full price) at Nordstrom’s rack for closer to$20. I know those are in the Mall of America, I’m not sure about other MN locations. Otherwise both and carry the whole gamut of sizes. Panache, Curvy Kate, Freya, and Fantasies all go up at least a G in all styles and up to K is select styles. Figleaves had its own brand that’s cheaper in price and quality that also carries a bunch of sizes.
      The variations between brands are due to marketing ploys from the midcentury era. I hope these sites and stores help.

  26. I’m early in my pregnancy and I’m having the same nipple pain/hardness. I can’t even look at my “normal” bras. I’ve been wearing genie bras and they’ve been a life saver. I typically just wore them around the house before to support my rather large girls, now they are a 24/7 must have. They are comfy yet supportive.

    • What are genie bras?

  27. omg nipple pain while pregnant and still breastfeeding a toddler into and beyond 3rd trimester is the worst! I found alternating breasts every three days helpful.

    • yeah… my poor daughter she still asks for milk. 🙁 it just hurts so much and between that and having to be on progesterone i dont have any milk anyway. im not shutting the door when the baby is here… but it makes me sad because i didnt want to do this really… i didnt plan this pregnancy, especially because i didnt want to have to handle two young kids needs at once… sigh.
      so so sad. 🙁

    • I can relate to this one!!

  28. Hi there! I saw where you said your not a huge fan of bras, nor am I….so im curious what you wear?

    Thanks! Maeghan

    • if she’s like me, she takes a cue from human evolutionary history (and women in many parts of the world), and just doesn’t wear bras. i wear shirts, but no bra or anything else to “support” my breasts. they really don’t need it, and if you search the web you’ll see that there are lots of theories about how bras are linked to higher rates of breast cancer and that they prevent the breasts creating the musculature and strength they need to support themselves. granted, i may have saggy boobs as an old lady, but i really don’t care! if that’s what’s natural for the human species, why have we collectively decided to embrace this other aesthetic that’s unnatural and causes problems and costs money? to me it’s another component of the capitalist mindset that encourages women to be unhappy with their bodies the way they are. i rebel against this system in many ways: i don’t shave, or wear makeup. i waste zero time with a “beauty” routine, and don’t use any products other than castile soap or baking soda. it feels nice to reject all that stuff we’re supposed to buy, and i know my body (and self image) is healthier, too! anyway, skipping bras are one small part of this for me.

  29. I would love to see a section about soreness while nursing AND pregnant!! My son was 15 months when we conceived #2 and oh my! The soreness and nursing aversion! It was so bad I thought I had thrush!

  30. Mine were EXTREMELY painful – particularly the nipples. It felt like they were hard nipples from the cold except to the extreme. It would actually wake me up in the middle of the night and have me crying. I forget the brand, but there were these boobie pads for lack of a better word that you could put in the freezer (for breast feeding later) or in the microwave for warmth – kind of like a rice bag concept. They were super helpful. I didn’t find the wet heat to be helpful, but the dry heat was. One time I was in a hotel – I forget why – out of town wedding maybe? anyway – Didn’t have the boobie pads, so I heated up the iron and ironed hotel towels to use as a warm compress. Yikes – I’m glad that’s over. Yowza!

    • Thanks for sharing! These are great tips!

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