What Causes Rib Pain During Pregnancy & What Should You Do For It?

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Rib Pain During Pregnancy

Table of Contents

Pregnancy puts a strain on almost every organ of your body. Rib discomfort is a frequent issue for a variety of reasons that vary by trimester. They cause pain on the left or right side of the body and rib pain that may persist even after changing postures.

Here’s all you need to know what causes rib pain during pregnancy, the treatments and precautions for common pregnancy aches and pains, and when to seek medical help.

What Causes Rib Pain During Pregnancy?

As your tummy — along with other body parts — expands to support your developing baby, rib pain is more common in the second as well as the third trimesters, particularly close to delivery.

Rib discomfort during pregnancy can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

Body Changes

Around the end of the second trimester, the fetus will turn upside down. When the head of the baby is facing down and the feet are pointing toward the ribs, there are chances that they’ll exert some pressure on your rib cage.

The abdominal muscles are put under increased physical tension when carrying the fetus’ weight. This might cause muscular discomfort by putting strain on the rib muscles.

Gallstones

A pregnant woman has a high level of estrogen and faces problems emptying the gallbladder. This presents the ideal situation for stone formation in the gall bladder.

Usually, gallstones do not produce any symptoms. But if you feel pain on the right side of your ribs during pregnancy, there’s a chance that it is due to gallstones.

Hormones

Relaxin, the same pregnancy hormones that ease your joints, might also cause your ribs to enlarge. This is good news for your already aching lungs and expanding uterus, but not so much for your achy ribs and sides.

Increasing Breast Size

The weight of the breasts increases as they grow, putting extra strain on the lower back and the rib cage. This not only changes your posture but also pulls your shoulder down, creating back rib pain during pregnancy.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Pregnant women are more prone than non-pregnant women to suffer pyelonephritis. The ureters are in charge of emptying urine from the kidneys into the bladder and then out the urethra.

The hormone progesterone, which is abundant during pregnancy, can prevent these drainage ducts from contracting. The ureters can also be compressed when the uterus grows larger during pregnancy.

These alterations might cause issues with adequate urine outflow from the kidneys, resulting in stagnant urine. As a result, instead of being flushed out of the system, germs in the bladder may move to the kidneys. An infection is the result of this.

Tumor

 If at any time during pregnancy you’re experiencing acute discomfort under the right side rib, there’s a possibility that your liver may be forced up into your rib or rib cage by a tumor.

Why does this happen?

This is because pregnancy may enhance liver expansion in women who suffer from cancer or are at high risk of contracting liver cancer, according to some research.

Other Possible Causes

Preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome, which is considered a variation of preeclampsia by doctors, are two pregnancy problems that produce pain beneath the ribcage.

  • H: hemolysis
  • EL: elevated liver
  • LP: low platelet count

After the 20th week of pregnancy, HELLP causes issues with the liver and blood.

If you’re having sudden, acute rib pain and any of the following symptoms, seek medical help right away:

Rib Pain During Pregnancy: Trimester-Wise

During the early weeks of pregnancy, you might not feel any pain or discomfort (at least, most women don’t). However, some women will experience rib pain when their bodies begin to stretch in earnest later in pregnancy.

As the month’s pass, here’s how rib pain during pregnancy might change:

First Trimester

Your little nugget will most likely weigh only an ounce or less by the end of the first trimester. Furthermore, many women gain relatively little weight during the first several months of pregnancy. Thus, it is unlikely to experience pain in the ribs during the first trimester of pregnancy.

What you might experience, can be shortness of breath or pain under the left rib cage during early pregnancy. Hormone changes early in pregnancy might impact how you breathe. They can cause you to get short of breath by altering your respiratory rhythm. You can also feel exhausted and as though you require more air.

Second Trimester

While the shortness of breath can continue during the second trimester, the real issue now is the pain in the ribs during pregnancy second trimester.

You may suffer rib discomfort and shortness of breath as your baby grows, which occurs as your uterus moves up towards your diaphragm and pressures your lungs.

Third Trimester

You might be feeling left rib pain during pregnancy third trimester. As your uterus and your baby continue to grow, it might exert pressure on your rib cage. Plus, as your baby is also becoming bigger, they are likely to send a few punches or kicks against your ribs.

The best part is that your baby will frequently prepare for birth by sinking into the pelvis in the weeks leading up to delivery, relieving strain on your ribs.

How to Reduce Rib Pain During Pregnancy?

You might question: how to sleep with rib pain during pregnancy and you might instantly be looking for how to reduce this pain. But in some cases, your rib pain may be inescapable because of the baby kicking or rubbing against the ribs. If this is the case, you can try the following remedies:

  • Warm baths and pain-relieving medicine, with a doctor’s prescription, can aid in some of these circumstances.
  • Pregnancy-related aches can typically be alleviated with a gentle movement, like stretching, walking, or other prenatal workouts.

The cure for rib pain during pregnancy is defined by the underlying cause. For instance:

  • Women who suffer from a urinary tract infection can take medicine to treat the problem.
  • If gall bladder stones are the problem, a woman may need to undertake surgery after delivery.

Additionally, you can also try out the following remedies:

  • Loose and comfortable clothing
  • Use a heating pad
  • Roll on the exercise ball
  • Use a tummy-support band to help with the extra weight
  • Visit a doctor or a chiropractor

How to Sleep with Rib Pain During Pregnancy?

When you’re pregnant, it is considered best to sleep with pregnancy pillows to provide some support. There are a number of pregnancy pillows to choose from. Additionally, to help with circulation and blood flow for yourself and the baby, we suggest sleeping on your left side.

How to Prevent Rib Pain During Pregnancy?

If your rib pain is caused by a baby’s foot lodged in your bodily parts, it is going to be a painful experience.

So how can you avoid it? By engaging in prenatal exercises and light stretching during pregnancy, you may be able to dodge some rib pain. These are great options, as these activities will keep you relaxed and prevent unnecessary weight gain, as it may worsen the pain.

To help prevent gallstone formation, consume a balanced diet and stick to a pregnancy meal plan. A high-fat diet can lead to gallstones.

To Conclude :

When you’re expecting, it’s common to find yourself stopping more frequently to catch your breath or experiencing rib pain during pregnancy. These symptoms might be aggravating and severe, or they can be somewhat unpleasant. These concerns are, for the most part, typical and rarely cause worry.

However, if you have a significant and unexpected rib or stomach discomfort, consult your doctor right away. They’ll have to ensure it’s not another significant medical problem.

Rib Pain During Pregnancy FAQs

1. What is Budd-Chiari syndrome?

Budd-Chiari syndrome is a disorder in which a clot blocks or narrows the hepatic or liver veins. As a result of the obstruction, blood backs up into the liver, causing it to enlarge.

2. Is pain in the ribs normal during pregnancy?

When you're expecting, it's common to find yourself stopping more frequently to catch your breath or experiencing rib pain during pregnancy. These concerns are, for the most part, typical and rarely cause worry. However, if you have a significant and unexpected rib or stomach discomfort, consult your doctor right away.

3. Can the baby break my ribs during pregnancy?

To put it simply, yes, your baby can break your ribs during pregnancy. Your baby is growing, and as your uterus increases, your womb will expand to accommodate it. However, rib fractures are more likely to occur during pregnancy if you have a shorter waist and a large baby.

4. How to sleep with rib pain during pregnancy?

When you're pregnant, it is considered best to sleep with pregnancy pillows to provide some support. There are a number of pregnancy pillows to choose from. Additionally, to help with circulation and blood flow for yourself and the baby, we suggest sleeping on your left side.

5. How to reduce rib pain during pregnancy?

Rib discomfort is a frequent issue for a variety of reasons that vary by trimester. Here’s how you can reduce rib pain during pregnancy:
  • Warm baths and pain-relieving medicine, with a doctor's prescription, can aid in some of these circumstances.
  • Pregnancy-related aches can typically be alleviated with a gentle movement, like stretching, walking, or other prenatal workouts.
  • The cure for rib pain during pregnancy is defined by the underlying cause. For instance:
  • - Women who suffer from a urinary tract infection can take medicine to treat the problem.
    - If gall bladder stones are the problem, a woman may need to undertake surgery after delivery.
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