Rib Pain During Pregnancy

Rib Pain During Pregnancy : Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

It is quite obvious to occur rib during the pregnancy period due to several changes in hormone and physical changes of the pregnant lady. There is nothing to worry about it as after delivery this pain gets vanished. It is important to understand the real causes of rib pain during pregnancy in order to be aware that when and how this pain generates.

As soon as you enter into the third trimester of pregnancy, pain in the rib area starts. At this particular stage, lots of changes in your muscles occur due to the growth of your baby which causes stretch hence pain occurs in ribs. Also, the kicking process of the baby starts at this time, which is another reason for getting pain inside ribs.

Getting pain in the rib area during pregnancy is natural and its symptoms are very common among women. Though you cannot stop this obvious process, yes by trying some natural remedies the severity of pain can be relieved to some extent.

Causes of Rib Pain during Pregnancy

Rib Pain during PregnancyPregnancy is a beautiful journey to have a baby after 9 months but this journey is not so easy and comfortable. Each month comes with a new trouble for you and variations occur by months. During this phase, you face pain in the different body parts like hip pain, back pain, ligament pain etc. After these pains, the turn of rib pain comes in the third trimester.

The moment you start feeling the difficulty in breathing accompanied by front and back upper torso pain then you can consider it as your rib pain. There are lots of reasons considered by doctors as the cause of rib pain during pregnancy, out of them some important ones are described below.

Growth in Uterus

 The size of uterus keeps on growing during the period of pregnancy in order to give place to reside the growing baby inside the womb. Especially when you enter in the third trimester the growth in uterus size becomes high as at this particular time the size and weight of baby get too heavy. This sudden change in uterus causes strain in the rib cage.

The pressure occurring due to baby growth throw its effect on muscles on the ribs causing strained and tightness that troubles to the normal breathing function of the pregnant lady. Sometimes it causes breathing shortness.

The severity of ribs pain depends upon the size and weight of the baby. Also if the waist of the lady is small then also the cramp in ribs is severe. These conditions may cause to rib fracture also, which is a very rare situation.

Hormonal Level Changes

Hormones play a vital role during the pregnancy period since conception to delivery of the baby. These hormonal level changes also affect to your rib cage causing pain in this area. The level of progesterone hormone gets increased during the pregnancy phase and as soon as you enter into the final period of pregnancy the quantity of this hormone reaches to the highest level.

The progesterone hormone during the third trimester of pregnancy gets increases in order to prepare your body for delivering the baby by making your muscles and ligament softer around the pelvic area and spine area which causes pain in the rib cage and back portion.

Growth of Fetus

Growth in the size and shape of fetus causes to ribs pain. A growing fetus when reaches to the chest area it causes pain and discomfort. The movement and growth in the fetus cause discomfort and pressurizes on diaphragm hence difficulty in breathing occurs.

As the diaphragm consists of several nerves so it generates pain in the ribs and shoulders of the pregnant lady whenever the growth of internal organs put pressure on the diaphragm. The pain density remains sharper and makes you more sensitive too.

Growth in Breast Size

 Changes in body shape and structure during the pregnancy phase is quite usual and these variations remain to continue till the end of nine months. Growth in the size of the breast is one of these changes that causes pain in the back and shoulder due to stretch in the ribs of these body parts.

As your breast is in process of milk accumulation for baby feeding so it’s quite natural to increase in its size. In general, the breast weight at this period reaches up to 5 pounds. This sudden weight gain on breast causes strain in the surrounding muscle. Pain in ribs occurs due to this strain.

Stress Factor

Stress is another vital aspect which puts an unusual burden on muscles hence pain occurs in the back, shoulder and ribs area. Delivery related fear causes tension and stress to the pregnant woman and this overthinking and pressure on mind cause ache in ribs.

Also, it causes difficulty in breathing and the functionality of breathing process gets hard and painful. By avoiding anxiety and stress this pain can be relieved to some extent.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

 During the period of pregnancy, some women experience Urinary Tract Infection or UTI that causes pain in the lower abdominal area. This is not a normal health condition and needed medical attention to get rid of completely. If UTI not treated on time then the infection can spread up to the kidney which may further worst the situation.

Apart from pain in the lower abdomen the urinary tract infection also causes severe burning sensation while urination. As in the phase of pregnancy, more frequent urination is normal so whenever it is done the affected woman has to suffer from painful burning sensation causing comfortless.

What are the Symptoms of Rib Pain during Pregnancy?

Rib Pain during PregnancyThe journey of nine months which is known as the pregnancy comes with lots of internal and external changes in the pregnant lady and these changes affect your body may ways. The rib pain is also one of the outcomes of these changes. Below are some common symptoms which indicate ribs pain during the pregnancy period.

  • Pain occurs either on one side or on both sides of ribs.
  • The internal changes in your body put pressure on you like growth in the uterus size and this causes shortness in breathing. If you are in the third trimester of your pregnancy then you are most likely to face trouble in your breathing.
  • Nerves system that makes a connection between shoulder and diaphragm gets pressurized due to internal changes and pain in the shoulder occurs.
  • Pain under the breast area is noticed often during this period. This happens mostly when you sit as while sitting the fetus gets pressurized and put pressure on abdomen resulting in severe cramp under the breast.
  • Indigestion or acidity is the issue that remains throughout the pregnancy period as your body is filled with the baby and there is not enough space for the smooth digestive process.

Treatment & Remedies of Rib Pain during Pregnancy

Rib pain during pregnancy is not a medical condition instead it is a natural condition. However, by visiting a chiropractor who is a professional doctor can provide you relief from this pain. The doctor will make an adjustment in your skeletal system to reposition it correct way which happens due to pregnancy stress.

This reposition of the skeletal system also help to position your baby on the right place by pushing it into the lower side of your body and this way it shares some of the pressure of your ribs.

By using some natural remedies you can be relieved from your rib pain. Some of these effective tricks and tips are mentioned below.

Use Compresses

cold compresses
Source : Amazon.com

Warm as well as cold compresses will relieve you from ribs pain. Apply it on the sores around abdomen; this will give you natural comfort and relaxation. Also, you can have a warm shower as this will also work effectively in providing you comfort from ribs pain.

Exercise Balls

exercise balls
Source : Amazon.com

The oversized balls work amazingly during the pregnancy period by providing you comfort to a great extent from the ribs pain. You need to lie down from your back portion to these large sized balls and have to do some roll-outs on it.

Rolling on the oversized balls will stretch your muscles and gives relaxation from ribs pain. However you should take permission of your doctor whom you are visiting regularly for this exercise, also the doctor will guide you regarding the roll-out steps which is good for you.


Gentle massaging is another way to get relief from rib pain during the pregnancy time. Massage will gently stretch your muscles and calms the ribs pain. For massaging steps you can take help of online videos which shows especial body massage for the pregnant ladies. Also, you can hire a professional massager.

Maintain your Posture

Your body gets misbalanced and uncoordinated as soon as you enter into the third trimester. Your spine droops at this point of time which causes severity in ribs pain. Here the needs of maintaining proper body posture arise which can provide relief from ribs pain.

While walking and sitting keep your body upright and lean back position. This prevents the rib pain caused by muscular strain because of stretch in the breast. Don’t make a habit of sleeping only one side. Try to sleep on your both sides and more frequently to the side which is paining more as it will provide comfort for the time being.

Wear Loose Clothes

Loose Maternity Clothes
Source : Amazon.com

Avoid wearing tight or fitting clothes till the time of pregnancy and do wear loose clothes as it will take care of your comfort zone. Your body is carrying extra weight at this particular time and you skinny wearing cause irritation and suffocation to you.

Your regular clothing before pregnancy time compresses your ribs hence pain in this occurs. Also, the tight clothes cause discomfort while breathing. So for getting rid of your ribs pain try this simple trick of wearing loose clothes.

Give Support to Your Body

You can take help of somebody supporting products available in the market. These products will give proper support to your body weight and also will not cause harm to your baby by ensuring the safety of the unborn baby.

Some important body supporting products are maternity pillow, lumbar supports, nursing bras, pregnancy belt etc.  All these products are made considering the special need and requirement of the pregnant lady. The use of these products will prevent severe ribs pain by making you comfortable.

When to Contact the Doctor?

Contact the Doctor

During pregnancy pain in ribs is a general phenomenon due to internal changes in the body. However, in the case of unbearable pain, it needed to contact the doctor as there are some other health conditions too which can also cause severe rib pain that requires to be treated immediately.

HELLP Syndrome

The HELLP syndrome is a health condition which causes severe ribs cramp. Apart from ribs pain, its other symptoms include vomiting, headache, dizziness, and nausea. If you are facing all these symptoms then contact the doctor without further delay.

Liver Cancer

Unbearable pain in the right side of ribs cage primarily indicate for liver cancer. In some cases of pregnancy, it is seen that it promotes to the growth of liver. The tumor developed due to liver cancer pushes its pressure on rib cage hence pain occurs.


The pre-eclampsia is a health condition that only occurs during the pregnancy period. Its symptoms include severe pain in the abdomen, high blood pressure and excessive protein in the urine.  If you will also notice all these symptoms during pregnancy then immediately contact the doctor.

Blood-Chiari Syndrome

The Blood-Chiari Syndrome is one of the rare health conditions that occur during pregnancy. Under this medical condition, blood clots generate into the veins that connect to the liver hence it can even cause liver damaging.

Whatever may be the causes of rib pain during pregnancy, you should not hide anything from your doctor as they will make it clearer whether everything is going normal in your pregnancy series or there is some underlying issue that is causing trouble.

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