Sore nipples can be one of the very early signs of pregnancy. However, a lot of women may not realise that nipple pain can continue for many women throughout their entire 9 months of pregnancy.

What causes it?

During pregnancy, you have higher levels of the two hormones estrogen and progesterone. These two hormones can cause many of the symptoms you experience during pregnancy – including sore nipples and tender breasts. Another factor is that during the first few months of pregnancy you will have an increased blood flow to your breasts making them more sensitive. Your milk ducts are also increasing in size to get ready to nourish your baby. All of these things together can mean that you may experience a varying degree of nipple pain ranging from tenderness to an ache.


Here are some tips to help relieve nipple pain:


1. Get the right bra

It’s really important to make sure that you are wearing the right size Bra. Get a proper fitting (many shops offer these for free such as Marks and Spencers) as the wrong size can add to the discomfort. Also a lot of women may prefer to wear a sports bra or good maternity bra during pregnancy – an underwired bra can be more uncomfortable. Your breasts will most likely continue to grow so don’t stock up on the one size and do get measured again as you go along.


2. Try a warm bath

Ease yourself into a nice warm bath and let them soak. This is a great way to relax your whole body and will be a lot more comfortable than a shower if you’re nipples are very tender. The pressure of the jets on your breasts in the shower may increase the level of pain.


3. Try something cold

With the increase blood flow to your breasts, you  may find that the temperature of them will increase and this can result in a tingling feeling. Lots of women find that putting cabbage leaves in the fridge and then placing them inside your bra might help. You could also try lying down with a face cloth soaked in cold water covering them.


4. Wear breast pads

The friction of your nipple rubbing against your bra, clothes or pyjamas might cause irritation if your nipples are very sensitive. Wearing breast pads might help to reduce this.


5. Take care of your nipples

Avoid using perfumed soaps or shower washes as they might irritate and dry out your nipples. You could invest in a good nipple cream at this stage and begin applying it – nipple creams are specially designed for this area and although many mums won’t start using them until baby has arrived there is no harm using them throughout your pregnancy if you find it offers relief.

Here's what you need to know next

Preparing to breastfeed