Pregnancy brings about a lot of different changes in the body. Some changes are expected, such as weight gain, but many mothers-to-be never expect to have itchy nipples during pregnancy. Not only is it an uncomfortable experience, it is also an embarrassing moment that most women don’t feel comfortable talking about to their loved one or doctor about. Itchy nipples isn’t uncommon.
Most women state that they experience itchy nipples even before they know that they’re pregnant. This is one of the first symptoms witnessed during pregnancy, and while it may be somewhat uncomfortable, it’s not all that uncommon.
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Why are My Nipples Itchy?
Itchy nipples and early pregnancy are linked. Your hormones are running wild at this time, and your body is producing some hormones that aren’t naturally present until pregnancy occurs. Many hormones are produced by the placenta to ensure that it’s not rejected by the body, but these same hormones can cause your nipples to itch.
Pregnancy causes your breasts to expand and grow. As a consequence, your nipples will also grow in size. The heaviness in the breasts can cause your nipples to itch, but this is just one of the many reasons for itchy nipples.
Increased sensation in the area is also experienced. Your whole body is more sensitive at this time, so it’s natural to be more aware of your nipples even if you don’t do it consciously. When the breasts and nipples begin to swell and get bigger, increased blood flow to the area is required.
The expansion of the nipples can cause them to become sore to the touch and even more sensitive as the hormones build up in your body. It’s not a comfortable experience by any stretch of the imagination.
Ultimately, it’s the stretching of the skin and the enlarging of the nipples that causes the itchiness.
Think of it as a cut healing. When you have a cut and the healing process occurs, you’ll often notice that it itches. This is the same thing that is occurring with your nipples, and it’s not a major cause for concern at all.
Unfortunately, there is bad news: itchy nipples in early pregnancy isn’t the end of the itchy nipple problem. When the third trimester hits, the breasts are going to swell even further and prepare for the baby to be born. After all, a woman would naturally breastfeed, so the breasts need a place to store all the milk. Even if you plan on using baby formula, nothing will stop the breasts from producing milk for the baby.
The issue will get worse at this stage along with increased sensitivity in the nipple area.
3 Ways to Relieve Itchy Nipples
So, you have itchy nipples and you don’t want to go around scratching yourself in public. This is very understandable, and thankfully, you have a lot of options to relieve your itchy nipples. If you want to be comfortable once again, we have 3 ways to relieve the itch once and for all:
An obvious choice. A good lotion that has vitamin E is recommended. Vitamin E has been shown to reduce the signs of stretch marks which is great for mothers that don’t want stretch marks, and reduces itching.
Aloe Vera is another important and common ingredient in lotions. Derived from a plant, Aloe Vera is known to reduce itchiness.
By rubbing lotion into your breasts and nipples, you’ll relieve the itching and irritation. It’s recommended that you use lotion in the morning and before bed for best results.
Moisturizers are not the same thing as a lotion. While they appear the same, a moisturizer is meant to help lock in moisture in your skin. In this case, the moisturizer would ensure that the breasts and nipples do not get dry. Dryness is a major cause of itchiness and will occur during pregnancy if you don’t moisturize often.
Moisturizing before bed and after getting out of the shower in the morning is ideal.
With the right moisturizer, you’ll lock moisture in the skin so it’s not only smooth, but it doesn’t become dry and add to the itch you can’t scratch in public.
3. Petroleum Jelly
The final remedy is petroleum jelly. You’ll want to dab a little on your hands and rub it into your nipples. This jelly should be rubbed into the nipples multiple times per day.
When do you put the petroleum jelly on? After you moisturize is best.
Petroleum jelly will add even more moisturizer to your skin and ensure that it doesn’t dry out.
Your skin care products can cause your itchiness, so try to avoid harsh soaps and perfumes. These products are fine when you’re not pregnant, but they can cause itchiness when you’re pregnant. Remember, your body is extremely sensitive at this time, and the products that didn’t bother you in the past may bother you now.
A good maternity or nursing bra should also be worn to reduce sweat production, which can lead to itchiness.