Tender Swollen Breasts

Tender and swollen breasts are one of the symptoms of pregnancy.

Learn how to handle breast discomforts.

Notable changes take place gradually in the breasts during the course of pregnancy. This is because the body starts preparing for the baby inside, and the role of the breasts is to feed milk to the newborn. These gradual changes begin with the tenderness of the breasts.

Pregnancy symptoms

  • Delayed periods
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Morning sickness
  • Tender and swollen breasts
  • Sore nipples
  • Nipple tingles
  • Breast heaviness

Symptoms during the first trimester:

The duration of the first trimester is from the first week to the twelfth.

  • Tenderness in your breast
  • Breast swelling
  • Tingling feeling in the nipples
  • Nipples might stick out more than before

Symptoms during the second trimester:

The duration of the second trimester is from the thirteenth week to the twenty-seventh.

  • The breasts will grow even bigger than the first trimester
  • You might feel heaviness in the breasts
  • The tenderness and tingling feeling experienced during the first trimester will become less
  • The veins rise and become noticeable in the swollen breasts
  • There will be a color change in the nipples and the areola. The areola is the area around the nipple; it becomes larger and darker.
  • Small bumps might be seen in the areola
  • Some pregnant ladies find stretch marks on their growing breasts

Colostrum: The first secretion from the mammary glands after giving birth, rich in antibodies.

Colostrum or the pre-milk discharge from the nipples becomes noticeable.

  •  This discharge is yellow in color.
  • It is a sign that your breasts are getting ready to breastfeed your baby.
  • This is an important development that would protect your newborn from diseases during the initial stages of life.

Third trimester:

The duration of the third trimester is from the twenty-eighth week to the birth of the baby.

  • Breasts become more swollen, larger, and heavier than before. 
  • Breasts are ready to secrete milk.

How to handle breast discomforts?

  • Avoid wearing a bra while sleeping. If it cannot be avoided, instead use sleep bras as these are very soft and light.
  • Take a warm bath with a bar of mild soap to clean the nipples as it may cause dryness and itching.


You have a responsibility to breastfeed your newborn. These changes ensure your body is capable of feeding your newborn comfortably.

Special thanks to Dr. Pradnya Supe Agarwal (M.S. Obstetrics & Gynecology) for the expert advice.

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