Rib pain during pregnancy

Ribs may become mildly discomforted or sore during the third trimester of pregnancy, and even a little earlier for a few women. Pressure on the top of the growing uterus, as well as a restless and growing baby, are the most common reasons behind the rib soreness. The position of the baby determines where the most rib pain will be felt. Additionally, pain is felt just beneath the breasts. Remaining seated or leaning forward can each make the pain more noticeable.

Image: MomJunction.com

Even though pregnancy is usually one of the happiest times in a person’s life, it can also be one of the least comfortable for the woman. Frequent urination, morning sickness, nausea, breast tenderness, headaches, backaches, food cravings, food aversions, and fatigue are just some of the common symptoms experienced during pregnancy. Rib pain, particularly in the last trimester, is a highly prevalent annoyance. There are many reasons why women experience rib pain; whether it be dull, medium, or sharp pain — while pregnant. The following is a detailed list of causes and remedial measures that can be taken to make the rib pain go away.

• Large and Heavy Breasts – A woman’s breasts can grow up to a full cup size when she becomes pregnant. As the breasts become heavier, pressure increases on the shoulders, the upper back, and the rib cage. This only leads to pain in those areas, especially the ribs.

• Hormonal Changes – Hormonal changes, such as elevated levels of progesterone in the body during pregnancy, can sometimes be the cause of rib pain. Excess progesterone is needed to prepare the body for the birth of the newborn. As the body readies for delivery, ligaments and muscles in the pelvic and spinal area will stretch and soften. This strains both the back and the ribs. This usually occurs during the final trimester of the pregnancy.

• The Expansion of the Uterus – The expansion of the uterus is the main cause of rib pain during pregnancy. As the baby grows, the uterus must enlarge to accomodate. Not only does this put pressure on the woman’s ribs, but it also hurts them as welll. The intercostal muscles, which are the muscles between the ribs, become strained as the uterus increases in size. Shortness of breath can often be a result of this.

• Urinary Tract Infection – A urinary tract infection can present a pregnant woman with several problems; rib pain being one of them. Other symptoms that accompany it are difficulty with urinating, pain or a burning sensation during urination, and/or kidney discomfort.

• Referred Pain from Diaphragm – As the uterus grows; pressure is put on the diaphragm. When this happens, it can make it harder to breathe. There are many nerves in the diaphragm, and this can be troublesome for the ribs and shoulders of the pregnant woman.

• Stress and Anxiety – Stress and anxiety are common occurrence in women that are pregnant. The symptoms that can be produced by both stress and anxiety are: Rib pain, shoulder pain, back pain, and difficulties with breathing.


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