Rib Pain During Pregnancy

image001When you reach late 2nd trimester or early 3rd trimester, you would start feeling aches and pains in various parts of your body. You can’t take painkillers just like you did when you were not pregnant and has to live with the pain. 

Causes of Rib Pain During Pregnancy

It is not uncommon to have rib pain during pregnancy, especially on the right side. The intensity of the pain may vary from a dull ache to a sharp shooting or stabbing pain. A hormone referred to as relaxin is produced by the body in the later months of pregnancy. This hormone has its action on your ligaments; it helps them to stretch. Under the influence of this hormone, the ligaments in your abdomen and hips stretch to allow space for your growing baby and also to let her pass through the birth canal. Due to the action of relaxin, all the ligaments of your body become more elastic, making you feel that your limbs are not attached properly at the joints.

With the expansion of your uterus, the ligaments present in the rib cage also stretch and your baby in the uterine cavity pushes up and you will feel the pressure on the walls of your rib cage. Your rib cage has to expand to not only make more space for your baby but also to accommodate your lungs that are by now pushed upwards. You may even develop shortness of breath due to reduced area available for your lungs. The enlargement of your breasts will also pull your shoulder forwards, which will put strain on the muscles of your back and make you slouch.

How to Relieve Rib Pain During Pregnancy

While you may not be able to do much in terms of stopping the growth of your uterus and baby, but there are certain things that you can do to get some relief from the pain temporarily.

Precaution: Remember that during pregnancy you cannot take any anti-inflammatory medicine; hence, do not take any medicine, especially without talking to your physician. If your pain becomes unbearable, then you can consult your midwife or physician about taking panadeine forte or panadeine; however, if possible you should avoid all types of medicine, since codeine can lead to constipation, which is common accompaniment of pregnancy. Here we listed several options you can take to relieve rib pain during pregnancy.

1. Wear Loose Clothes

Purchase some maternity clothes that are comfortable, loose and let you breathe. Do not try to fit into your old tight clothe because it will aggravate your problem as these clothes will add to the pressure on your ribs.

2. Change Your Posture

Try to lean back whenever possible. By sitting up straight or leaning forward all the time, you are trying to conform your body to adjust into a much smaller space. This can further aggravate your problem of rib pain. Hence, lean back whenever you get time. You can also add some pillows for support.

3. Try This Movement

Stand upright facing a wall with your feet at a distance of 40 cm from the wall. Now cross your arms in front of your face. The movement is to lean your crossed arms on the wall and slide and stretch them up above your head as far as possible. Stay in this position for as long as you can stay comfortably. This movement lifts the rib cage and diaphragm up above the uterus and gives you the well needed relief.

4. Use Those Products

Using these products will also help reduce your pain:

  • Pregnancy body pillow: It helps to improve the alignment of your body when you are lying. It helps in reducing the pressure that is put on your ribs and the surrounding tissues while lying. Use pillows to support yourself at night. Putting a pillow under your baby bump will help take off some of the strain from your muscles and bones and decrease rib pain.
  • Pregnancy belly support pillow: You can use this pillow to lift and support your belly when you are lying on your side.
  • Pregnancy belly support brace: It helps in distributing the weight of your growing belly evenly, thereby, removing the strain off the muscles of the abdomen, which pull on the ribs and cause rib pain.
  • Belly bra: It is a type of bra that has a thick support band that gets fit under the belly and gently lifts up the belly to reduce both muscular tension and pain. It helps take the strain off the abdominal muscles and relieves anterior rib pain.

5. More Tips to Manage Rib Pain During Pregnancy

  • Wear a bra of a correct size that provides support and reduces the pressure of the heavy and enlarged breast, thereby reducing the rib pain.
  • Get yourself engaged in regular pregnancy exercises, breathing exercises and yoga. This will considerably reduce both stress and pain.
  • It is very important to sit and sleep in the right position. It is best to sit straight and avoid slouching. Use a small pillow to support your back.
  • Sleeping on the side of the pain also helps in decreasing the rib pain.
  • Try to take regular short walks and do not sit or stand in the same position for a long time.
  • Get some gentle massage over the area of pain. This will help relax the muscles and reduce the pain.
  • Pain is also relived by putting ice packs on the area of pain and raising the arms during that time.
  • Click here to understand more about hip pain during pregnancy as well as the remedies to relieve this discomfort.