Rib Pain During Pregnancy

March 2, 2012

Rib pain during pregnancy can be a persistent problem, especially during the third trimester. Your rib cage may feel mildly sore or extremely tender and bruised. You may have discomfort on either side, or both sides, though it is commonly worse on the right side of the ribs.image

Pain occurs in and under the ribs as your uterus grows. Later in pregnancy, your abdomen becomes stretched, and your uterus stretches upward as well as outward. Your pelvis and abdomen are becoming full, and your baby is beginning to press up under your ribs and chest. This upward pressure from your baby may also make you feel short of breath.

This pressure on your ribs and diaphragm may also result in shoulder pain, because there are nerves in the diaphragm which can refer pain into the shoulders. This pain can be very sharp! It may also result in indigestion or acid reflux as your baby puts the squeeze on your stomach.

Additionally, as your breast become larger, they also place pressure on your ribs. During pregnancy, your breasts may increase by one full cup size or more. The extra weight pulls your shoulders forward and down, and places strain on the upper back, neck, and often results in pain around the rib cage.

As your body prepares for the delivery of your baby, your hormones are hard at work loosening your muscles and ligaments. This loosening can allow your ribs to shift and move in ways that were not natural before, causing discomfort. Your ribcage is not only loosening, but expanding as well, not only to make room for your baby, but also to help increase your breathing and lung capacity. Even though you may be feeling short of breath, your body is taking in about forty percent more air than it did before you became pregnant.

Rib pain during pregnancy can cause the greatest discomfort when you are in a sitting position. Practicing good posture is especially important. Try to make sure that you sit up straight with your shoulders back. Slouching will compress your abdomen and result in more pain.

Try to wear loose clothing so that you do not add any extra pressure to your belly. Try getting a new bra. It is especially important to have a supportive bra that is not too tight. Under wire bras may put too much extra pressure on your ribs. Now may be a good time to invest in a good nursing bra. They usually offer nice support without being too tight and will be useful once your baby is born.

Holding your arms up over your head can take some pressure off and provide temporary relief from rib pain by lifting the ribs away from the uterus.

Practicing doorway chest stretches can also be helpful because they, too, will help rotate the shoulders up and back, which can also help lift the ribs away from the uterus.

Stretching and prenatal yoga are great for keeping your body long and loose. The less compressed you are, the less your rib cage will hurt. Breathing and relaxation exercises may also be effective. There are a variety of hands on techniques that can help to gently stretch and lift your ribs away from the uterus. Applying these techniques to your breasts, chest and abdomen, can really relieve a lot of pain and pressure from your body, though you will need a friend or partner to help you.

Scheduling a visit to your massage therapist, chiropractor, or acupuncturist, may also help provide relief from rib pain during pregnancy.

If you are having rib and flank pain that goes through to your back, and or burning or pain with urination, you should contact your health care provider. This could be an indication of a urinary tract infection.

Share

Related Articles

Swollen Feet During Pregnancy

Many women experience swollen feet and ankles during pregnancy, particularly during the second and third trimesters. This swelling of the feet is known as edema. You have large arteries and veins that travel through your pelvis down your legs, and the increasing size of your belly puts pressure on them, slowing your circulation and making it more difficult for your body to return blood and fluid up from your legs.

Share
Sciatic Nerve Pain During Pregnancy

Because it runs under the uterus, sciatic pain, also called sciatica, may be caused by your growing baby putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sciatic nerve pain can vary in intensity. You may feel pain, numbness, tingling, or burning sensations. Because the sciatic nerve spans all the way to the foot, you may feel pain, numbness, tingling or discomfort along the leg and possibly into your feet and toes.

Share
Head Pain and Headaches During Pregnancy

Headache and Head Pain are a frequent complaint during pregnancy. Hormonal changes, stress, fatigue, and your changing body can cause a great deal of discomfort and headaches in pregnant women. During pregnancy be careful about your headache medicine. Aspirin and Ibuprofen (Motrin) are generally considered NOT SAFE during pregnancy. Acetaminophen is considered safe. Causes of [...]

Share
Back Pain During Pregnancy

Back pain is extremely common during pregnancy. As a matter of fact, 50-70% of pregnant women experience back pain at some point during their pregnancy. Although it can occur at any point between conception and childbirth, it is most frequently troublesome late in a pregnancy. There are things that can be done to help manage back pain.
Causes of Back Pain During Pregnancy

Share
Round Ligament Pain During Pregnancy

Round ligament pain is very common during pregnancy. It causes sharp pain that radiates in the abdominal or hip area and can also refer pain into the groin and legs. The pain may be on one side or both sides and can be intensified by movement. This is not considered a cause for concern…Causes of Round Ligament Pain During Pregnancy…

Share
Rib Pain and Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy

Rib pain is common during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester. As the baby grows and fills up your abdomen it begins to put pressure on your ribs and chest, causing pain and shortness of breath. Though you may feel short of breath, your body is actually breathing 40-50 percent more air than before you were expecting. Your rib cage is widening as well. As your baby begins to…

Share
Pelvic Pain and Cramps During Pregnancy

Early pregnancy can cause cramping or stretching feelings in your pelvis and abdomen. You may feel achy in your lower abdomen. This is generally normal and related to implantation and stretching of the uterus…Causes of Pelvic Pain and Cramps During Pregnancy…

Share
Back Pain at Night

Many women suffer with pregnancy back pain at night. This type of night back pain in pregnancy is called nocturnal back pain. You may have it on its own, or concurrently with low back or sacroiliac pain.

There are a couple of different theories as to why night back pain develops during pregnancy. One theory is that it is caused by muscle fatigue from being active all day. By the end of the day, your body becomes more fatigued, and…..

Share
Lower Back Pain or Lumbar Pain During Pregnancy

Low back pain or lumbar is extremely common during pregnancy. As a matter of fact, 50-70% of pregnant women experience back pain at some point during their pregnancy. Although it can occur at any point between conception and childbirth, it is most frequently troublesome late in a pregnancy. There are things that can be done to help manage back pain…Causes of Back Pain During Pregnancy…

Share