Various changes occur in the body when you are pregnant. Apart from weight gain, expectant mothers are also likely to experience itchy breasts during pregnancy. Most women feel embarrassed about it and are unwilling to discuss it with their doctors or loved ones. In this article, we will talk about the occurrence of itchy breasts in pregnant women, possible causes and what you can do to relieve this condition.
Itchy Breasts During Pregnancy: Is It Normal?
Yes. Expectant women start experiencing itchy and tender breasts one week after implantation. At this stage, the breasts undergo more changes compared to during the normal menstrual cycle. However, it is advisable to confirm the pregnancy by a simple pregnancy test since breast tenderness and itchiness can be caused by other medical problems as well.
Fluctuations in hormonal levels and having a fetus growing in the womb cause many changes in the body of a pregnant woman. Itchy breasts are a common symptom throughout your pregnancy. Even though itchiness does not pose a serious threat, if you are concerned you should inform your obstetrician about this change in your body.
What Causes Itchy Breasts During Pregnancy?
Nipple tenderness and itchy breasts when pregnant are as a result of milk ducts and milk producing cells forming or fat accumulation in breasts. Hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy increase blood supply to the breasts, making them larger and causing tenderness and itchiness.
Most pregnant women experience itchy breasts at different stages of pregnancy. This is due to the various physical and hormonal changes that occur in the body of a woman throughout pregnancy. Increased sensation around the nipples during early pregnancy not only leads to red and itchy nipples, but also breasts that are sore and sensitive to touch. Itchy breasts occurring during the third trimester are a sign that breasts are getting prepared for breast-feeding after delivery.
What Can I Do to Relieve Itchy Breasts During Pregnancy?
Itchy breasts can be embarrassing, especially when you have to scratch them in public. You do not have to worry about that anymore. Here are a few skin products and natural remedies to help with itchy breasts during pregnancy:
- Lotion: A lotion containing vitamin E is recommended. Apart from reducing stretch marks, vitamin E can also reduce itching. Aloe Vera is another important component in lotion since it is known to reduce itchiness. Gently rub the lotion onto your nipples and breasts for relief. Apply the lotion in the morning and evening before going to bed for best results.
- Moisturizer: A moisturizer is different from a lotion in the sense that it is used to lock in moisture in the skin. It helps to prevent nipples and breasts from drying up. Itchiness is mainly caused by dryness which occurs in pregnancy calling for frequent moisturizing. Ideally, you should moisturize after showering in the morning and in the evening before sleep. A good moisturizer will lock in moisture and keep you skin smooth all day. It will prevent drying so you do not have to worry about scratching in public.
- Petroleum jelly: Petroleum jelly also helps relieve itchy breasts during pregnancy. Dab a little petroleum jelly in your hands and rub it onto your nipples several times a day. It is advisable to apply petroleum jelly after moisturizing. It moisturizes your skin more ensuring it does not dry up.
- To moisturize the skin and keep it supple, apply some olive oil, cocoa butter or almond oil.
- Take an oatmeal bath which involves soaking your body in a bath tub filled with oatmeal paste.
In addition, below are some tips for preventing itchy breasts during pregnancy:
- Avoid harsh soaps, perfumes and other skin care products with a strong scent as they can cause itchiness. These products can be used comfortably before pregnancy. However, they can cause itchiness during pregnancy since the body is more sensitive this time around.
- Wear a good maternity bra to reduce sweating, which may lead to itchiness. And wear loose cotton clothing to avoid further irritation of the skin.
- Drink a lot of water and juices to keep your body hydrated at all times especially if you have extremely dry skin.
- Maintain good personal hygiene and keep your breasts clean to prevent a fungal or bacterial infection that could lead to red itchy breasts.