During pregnancy, the breasts are put to the test. Some mothers-to-be even experience very unpleasant itching in the chest area. How do you relieve that itching? Could they be a sign of a more serious problem? The answers of Anh-Chi Ton, midwife.
The breasts are extremely sensitive to hormonal variations, in particular to the action of estrogen, but also to weight variations. Thus over the course of pregnancy the breasts will change, grow, areola and the nipple will take on a darker shade.
For many women, heavy, tight and painful breasts are often the first warning sign of pregnancy. However, not all women react the same way. Some mums-to-be are more sensitive, especially those who experience chest pain during their period, while others will have little change in their breasts early in pregnancy and thereafter. Before learning that they are pregnant, or when the test is positive, more than itching, women testify to a feeling of heaviness, hypersensitivity, sometimes with pain in the chest .
' Several factors explain why the breasts are more sensitive during pregnancy: the hormonal impregnation of course, but also the fact that the skin stretches ', explains the midwife. Under the effect of estrogen, the mammary gland develops, the breasts are larger, more tense but also more sensitive. The contact of a bra or clothing can then become very disagreeable. ' The breasts are preparing for lactation, so their volume also increases for this reason. ', adds the specialist. The appearance of the breasts also changes due to the progesterone plus estrogen combination: the areolas are darker and larger. They are covered with Montgomery tubercles, small raised bumps, and the venous network is visible in transparency under the skin.
' When the skin stretches, itching is normal . Any area of the body that grows, breasts, stomach, thighs or hips can scratch. ', recalls Anh-Chi Ton. The breasts are obviously not spared, especially since the increase in volume is added to the hormonal impregnation and the preparation for the feeding with milk . In some mothers who have very sensitive skin, this itching can also be caused by an allergy : to a cream, to a tissue, to a shower gel. It is therefore necessary to be particularly attentive to the care products applied to the breasts during pregnancy.
Unfortunately, it is quite possible to see stretch marks appear on the chest from pregnancy. But these are not at all related to possible itching. ' The skin stretches, so it can scratch and also crack. But scratching does not cause stretch marks or marks on its own ' , reassures the midwife.
The cholestasis of pregnancy is a transient liver disease that occurs in pregnant women. Hepatocytes, which are the cells of the liver, let them pass into the blood instead of transforming them into the bile. ' One of the signs of cholestasis of pregnancy is a pruritus generalized, i.e. itching that appears all over the body, and is often more intense at night. However, there is a predominance of this itching in the feet and hands. .', explains the midwife. ' Isolated itching of the breasts is therefore not a sign of cholestasis of pregnancy ', she adds. Be careful of course, if itching begins in the chest before spreading to the rest of the body, it is important to consult a doctor.
To relieve itching, the midwife recommends moisturizing the chest well with a cream, balm or oil. The gesture of massaging can already bring some relief. In addition to reducing itching, this also helps maintain the elasticity of the skin and prevent stretch marks. Even if, remember, there is no infallible miracle recipe to prevent them.
Itching in your breasts during pregnancy, even very intense, is not at all an indicator of a possible difficulty in breastfeeding.
|In early pregnancy, consider asking your gynecologist for a full breast exam , to make sure that there is no pre-existing tumor - itchy or not. Very rare, breast cancer during pregnancy affects 200 to 300 pregnant women per year.|
Thanks to Anh-Chi Ton, midwife.Source journaldesfemmes.fr