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Pain in ribs during pregnancy: Causes and Cure

Is the pain in ribs during pregnancy normal?

If you are experiencing pain in ribs during pregnancy, you are not alone. A lot of women experience pain in ribs during pregnancy especially in the third trimester and it is pretty normal. However, there is no guarantee you won’t have this pain early in your pregnancy.

Most of the times it is your baby causing you this pain. Either the baby is kicking or the growing size of the uterus is putting pressure on the diaphragm and other organs resulting in pain in ribs. The only magic pill to relieve this pain completely is the birth of the baby. However, you can make it comfortable for yourself by minimizing the pain.

What causes pain in ribs during pregnancy?

There can be many causes of your rib pain during pregnancy. However, most of the times it is your pregnancy. Here are a few common causes of pain in ribs during pregnancy.

Rapidly growing uterus

With every passing day, your baby is growing bigger and bigger. However, there is not enough room left in your belly as you enter the third trimester. Ultimately the baby pushes the diaphragm and compresses other organs. This causes rib pain which can be mild or can be sharp like a bolt.

Surprisingly, for the women with smaller hips, the growing size of uterus even puts you on the risk of rib fracture.

Hormonal pain in ribs during pregnancy

Pregnancy brings a lot of changes in your body and hormonal changes are one of them. In fact, the female body is a sea full of floating hormones. During the third trimester, the levels of progesterone in your body are quite high which is necessary for uterine contraction. However, this progesterone also softens your muscles and ligaments of ribs making them sore.

Increase in the size of the breast

Besides your belly, pregnancy also adds weight to your breasts and it can be up to 4kg. Carrying this weight around all day makes your shoulder tired, causes aching back pain, and puts a lot of pressure on your ribs.

Stones

Estrogen is raised throughout the pregnancy which increases the risk of gall stones by 30 percent. Most of the times it is not painful during pregnancy. However, in 1 to 3 percent it can be serious leading to surgical removal of gall bladder after pregnancy.

Heartburn and indigestion

Besides reasons related to pregnancy, the top cause of pain in ribs during pregnancy is indigestion and heartburn. All the acid re-fluxing back into the esophagus causes a burning sensation in the center of chest and pain in ribs.

Musculoskeletal pain in ribs during pregnancy

The constantly increasing size of your belly puts some limitations on the motion of your body like bending forward. This limited motion sometimes can cause pain in ribs.

Emotional pain in ribs during pregnancy

A lot of females experience pain in the ribs during pregnancy due to an emotional status like anxiety or stress.

How to prevent pain in ribs during pregnancy?

These simple tips can help you prevent the agony of pain in ribs during pregnancy and make your pregnancy experience pleasant.

Wear loose clothes

Pregnancy is not the time to show of your fancy and tight dresses. These will put extra pressure on your ribs and make them sore.

New sleeping Bra

Buy a new bra for sleeping that gives relief to your growing breasts.

Be comfortable in the bed

Adjust your sleeping pose according to your comfort. You can also add multiple pillows to make it more comfortable.

Healthy diet

Avoid oily foods and start eating a healthy diet. It will help you lower the risk of gall stones and keep you fresh.

Change your daily routine to a pregnant lady

Just another reminder that you are not in your normal shape. So you should not hustle or avoid your limited range of motion. It will only make things worse for you.

Some remedies for pain in ribs during pregnancy

Here are a few very useful remedies to alleviate your agony.

Yoga and exercise

Practicing yoga especially Asana poses help greatly against rib pain in pregnancy. And these are pretty easy poses as well to try in the pregnancy. Similarly lying on an exercise ball for a few minutes under someone’s guidance is an excellent way to reduce your rib pain.

use exercise ball to alleviate pain in the ribs during pregnancy

warm compresses

A lot of pregnant females find it relieving to apply warm compresses against their chest. Besides you can have a warm shower to help relieve the pain. It helps to reduce the strain on your chest muscles and reduces pain.

Chiropractic care

If you are struggling to control your pain in ribs at home you should visit a good chiropractic clinic. It helps greatly against the musculoskeletal pain by pressing the right joints with the right pressure.

Supportive products

There are a ton of products to support the breasts during pregnancy. You can use them to relieve your pain in ribs. Other useful stuff includes; maternity pillows, lumbar seat pillow, maternity girdle support for the lower body, etc.

Massage

A gentle massage by your partner or specialist masseuse is the best therapy to instantly relieve the pain. It reduces your stress and helps you relax.

When to take it seriously?

It is very rare for mild pain in ribs during pregnancy to come out as a serious illness. However, you should be aware that in serious cases it could mean a liver disease, gall stones, HELLP syndrome, pre-eclampsia or Budd-Chiari malformation. In that case, you should consult your doctor.

Here are a few symptoms which if you find with pain in ribs could indicate a serious illness:

  • Constant headache
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Bleeding
  • Floaters or spots in front of the eye
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