The breasts are the mammary glands’ packaging. In women, this set will change throughout life. The first significant transformation will be when the breasts develop and grow during adolescence. Then another time for adjustments is during pregnancy and lactation when the mammary glands are ready to fulfill their role in feeding the baby.
The transformations that occur during pregnancy are due to a battery of hormones that will induce the necessary changes in the mother’s body for the optimal development of the embryo. These hormones will transform the breasts to stimulate the production of milk that will guarantee the baby’s feeding once it is born. These transformations are often accompanied by some sometimes annoying symptoms, such as itchy breasts and nipples. At FastlyHealwe, tell you why my breasts itch during pregnancy if you want to know more.
Breast changes during pregnancy
In women and men, the mammary glands develop from the embryo, although they will not perform the same function throughout life. These glands produce from glandular tissue found on both sides of the body, called the milk lines. Then, this tissue will be concentrated in the upper part of the chest, which will undergo different transformations throughout life in the case of women.
The first noticeable transformation occurs during development when women’s breasts increase in size. Then, at the time of pregnancy and during the lactation period, this specialized tissue undergoes tremendous changes to fulfill its most important role: to produce the perfect food for the baby. During this stage, in addition to the apparent increase in size, other visible changes can occur, such as pigmentation of the areola and nipple, which generally turns darker.
In the same way, it can be produced:
- Feeling of heaviness
- Pain in the breasts
In the same way, it is typical that annoying symptoms accompany the changes that occur during this period. Among these, the itching of the breasts and nipples is counted, which can be due to different reasons. This symptom can appear a week after conception and worsen as the pregnancy progresses.
Why do my breasts itch during pregnancy?
Itchy breasts and nipples are prevalent and frequent symptoms during pregnancy. Sometimes it can even signify that you are pregnant, as Miriam Stoppard’s book  indicates. It explains that changes occur in the breasts, such as tenderness and itching. It is a sign that can appear very early, just a week after fertilization occurs. Causes of itchy breasts include:
- Mainly, the amount of hormones that begin to circulate through the pregnant woman’s body is responsible for the changes that occur throughout the body. Significant changes occur in the breasts during pregnancy; It is the moment during which the mammary glands develop, then the ducts are formed, and the milk-producing cells develop. To put all this machinery to work, many transformations must occur.
- Similarly, itching the breasts and nipples is due to increased blood flow in them since more irrigation is necessary to develop breast tissue and milk production. Then, as the breasts prepare to produce milk, it is essential to increase the volume of blood that reaches this tissue. This can have a certain tingling that becomes unbearable. Especially during the third trimester when the breasts are already preparing intensely due to delivery proximity.
- Another cause of itchy breasts is the stretching of the skin due to their growth. Typically, during pregnancy and at the beginning of lactation, the breasts change in size significantly. It is even widespread for stretch marks to appear due to skin stretching. This itching due to the extension of the skin can also occur in other areas of the body, such as the abdomen, where growth is essential, and the thighs and hips that also tend to widen.
Another frequent question we answer is why my armpits itch when I breastfeed.
Itchy breasts in pregnancy: remedies
As it is impossible to eliminate the causes of itching, it is advisable to alleviate this annoying symptom. The first recommendation is not to succumb to the irresistible desire to scratch to relieve itching. This, far from helping, can worsen the situation, drying and cracking the skin of the breasts and nipples. Especially if you desire to breastfeed, it is essential to prepare the nipples by keeping them well hydrated. Among the home remedies that help relieve itching are the following:
- Moisturize the skin of the breasts, including the nipples, throughout the pregnancy with the body lotion of your choice. Those that do not have perfumes and do contain vitamin E. It is also recommended to use natural oils such as almond or coconut. The best thing is that you incorporate your skin’s hydration into your daily routine.
- To keep the skin hydrated, moisturizing creams are not enough; it is also necessary to ingest a lot of fluids. Consuming a lot of water, natural juices, fresh fruit, and salads can help maintain good hydration of the whole body.
- In the itchiest moments, you can use aloe vera crystal directly on the skin. This serves to hydrate, and at the same time, its freshness helps relieve itching. You can also put petroleum jelly on the nipples several times a day until the itch crisis passes. Oatmeal bath: this remedy is extraordinary; immerse your body in a bathtub filled with oatmeal water; you will see how the itching begins to disappear and how your skin feels fresh, smooth, and renewed.
- The use of cotton clothing or soft fabrics that do not contribute to irritating the skin of the breasts is recommended. In addition, in the case of bras or bras, it is essential to anticipate the increase in the size of the breasts and acquire the appropriate size in each case.
- It is also important to avoid irritating products. Lotions that contain alcohol and perfumes should be avoided, as well as solid soaps. This recommendation is valid concerning the products you use to wash your clothes. It is recommended that these products are soft and fragrance-free.
- Within the routines, it is also vital to incorporate personal hygiene care that includes cleaning and drying the breasts and nipples to avoid infections that can also cause itching.
When to see a doctor for itchy breasts in pregnancy
If you feel that the itching is excessive and there is a lot of pain and redness, do not hesitate to consult your doctor, especially if you are already breastfeeding, as you may have some congestion due to the accumulation of milk in one of the ducts. This can be easily alleviated by changing the baby’s position when breastfeeding. At those times, the accompaniment by the doctor or lactation specialist staff will be very helpful.
Sometimes, even when breastfeeding, it can be a yeast infection. This is not very common in breastfeeding mothers, but it can be excruciating when it occurs. The mother and nursing baby are usually treated, as the baby usually gets the infection.
In some cases, a disease that affects the liver, called obstetric cholestasis or gestational intrahepatic cholestasis, may occur. This condition usually appears during the second half of pregnancy and is characterized by itching and elevated serum bile acids, as mentioned in a study by Norbert Wiener University . This condition must be treated immediately as it can cause fetal death.
Other symptoms, such as a dark fluid discharge or excruciating pain, can also be warning signs that merit immediate medical attention. They may be other severe conditions that need urgent attention.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.