I am a nervous nelly. During my pregnancies, I evaluate every feeling, every symptom, every roll and kick from every possible angle. It gives me a sense of control during a period in my life when so much of that is out of my hands. One of the more infuriating phenomena of pregnancy is how frequently symptoms shift and change. Seriously, they're downright fickle and it gives me the fits. Take for instance breast tenderness. Does breast tenderness come and go in early pregnancy? Because it's a little disconcerting.
Fluctuating symptoms in early pregnancy are absolutely normal, and breast tenderness certainly falls in that category, according to The Archives of Medical Science. The issue, as with everything during pregnancy, comes down to hormones. The hormones in your body undergo constant shifts, and they ebb and flow during key points of your pregnancy. This can have many unexpected consequences from waxing and waning sexual interest, fluxes in depression, and yes, the relative tenderness of your breasts, according to the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
The Journal of Clinical Nursing found that well over 75 percent of women experience some form of breast pain or tenderness during their pregnancy. This is especially the case in early pregnancy, when breast tenderness is often the first symptom women notice.
But does breast tenderness come and go during early pregnancy more frequently than during the rest of your pregnancy? Is there something special that happens in the first blush of your pregnancy that makes your breasts more susceptible to the onslaught of hormones?
I had to know, so I spoke to mom and nurse Danielle Adams. She tells Romper, "In the beginning of your pregnancy, there's a huge spike in hormones. They're doing the hard work of creating the environment for the fetus. The other hormones are telling your body to increase your blood volume, get your breasts ready, etc." She says that this big dump of hormones goes right to the boobs regardless of its intended purpose. "Breasts are sensitive to hormones because the mechanisms of the breasts are regulated by hormonal input."
Unfortunately, in early pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone are like the ball in the pinball machine for how they flux and shift. During these periods, your breasts can go all Jekyll and Hyde on you. Angry and violent one day, and kinda cool the next day. It's all dependent upon what your endocrine system is doing that day, and which hormone is getting shoved in which direction. "It's the same reason many women get swollen or tender breasts during ovulation or menses. A hormonal spike sends a signal somewhere in your body, and your breasts answer the call," Adams says.
My breasts were definitely flakey. Some days I couldn't handle standing beneath the hot steam of the shower for the intense prickling and discomfort I felt, and other days, they felt pretty good. I still had to be careful about which bras I chose, and my husband was not allowed anywhere near them, but I wasn't whining every time I adjusted my bra, either.
My other pregnancy symptoms were similar. Even my hyperemesis gravidarum had some awful days, and some days that were slightly less awful days. The only truly consistent symptom I had during my pregnancy was my increased body awareness and the anxiety that resulted from it. But I have obsessive compulsive disorder, and that's just par for the course at this point. If I can obsess over something, I will. It makes me quirky and lovable. But hey, who knew that breasts were the world's most sensitive barometer? Oh yeah, everyone with boobs knew this.
If your breast pain concerns you, by all means talk to your provider. Otherwise, good luck.