Rib Pain During Pregnancy

Rib Pain During Pregnancy


Pain in Ribs During Pregnancy

Rib pain is normal only for one category of people – pregnant women. This sounds quite comforting taking into account the multitude of unpleasant phenomena occurring during this period. Meanwhile, during the pregnancy a mom-to-be is likely to experience rib pain quite often, but you can’t dismiss other causes of such pain at once.

Reasons for Rib Pain in Pregnancy

Usually if a patient complains of rib pain, the doctor sends him/her to the neurologist. However, this might not be the last doctor you’ll have to visit to find out the cause of discomfort. Both cardiac, spinal, lung pain may radiate to ribs. The doctor is most likely to interrogate the patient on all symptoms and appoint additional tests.

In general, the most frequent causes rib pain are as follows:

  • trauma in the area of the ribs and the sternum;
  • osteochondrosis;
  • osteoporosis;
  • rib chondrite (Tietze syndrome);
  • joint diseases (arthritis, polyarthritis);
  • intercostal neuralgia;
  • spinal disc herniation;
  • fibromyalgia;
  • pain in the heart area— cardialgia (including ischemia, myocardial infarction);
  • respiratory system diseases (pneumonia, bronchitis, pleurisy, TB, including TB of bones);
  • cancerous formations in rib bones.

However, during pregnancy ribs hurt for other reasons. The first reason is an expanding uterus and a growing fetus. The size of a nulliparus woman’s uterus are an average of 7-8cm in length and 4cm in width. During the pregnancy its size increases by 500 times! At the same time, invisible to the eye cells are “constructing” a baby! Of course, such changes don’t go unnoticed. All the internal organs are involved in this process, and some of them start “having moods”.

In particular, ribs feel very restrained. The baby presses against them and sometimes even pushes them with legs making intensive movements. Many women in late pregnancy complain of intensive rib pain, as the baby lacks free space in the womb and starts pushing harder.

During pregnancy ribs may not only ache, but also curve, altering their form and location. Most often such things happen in case of a multiple pregnancy, when babies need more space. Rib pain mainly occur in women with a big fetus or multiple fetuses, especially if the mom-to-be is quite subtle.

What to do With Rib Pain in Pregnancy

Unfortunately, you can do nothing if rib pain is associated with expansion of internal organs and baby’s pushes.

But you can relieve it if you stick to simple recommendations:

  • monitor your posture. The head and the spine should be located in one line, shoulders should be straightened, slightly pull them backward, while the chest should look forward.
  • do not wear tight and compressing the chest and ribs clothes;
  • abandon high heels;
  • if the baby is pushing too hard, try to make him change his position and behavior. To do this you can lie on the left side if ribs are aching on the right side and vice versa;
  • the baby may change the uncomfy for the mom position, you take a knee-elbow or “cat” position relaxing all muscles, head, shoulders and spine. Then arch the spine, lower the head and strain abdominal and hips’ muscles;
  • An acute attack of rib pain can be stopped if you raise your arms inhaling, and then exhaling sink them down. Repeat the exercise several times. Inhale deeply but smoothly and exhale drastically with an effort.

Rib pain during pregnancy will disappear two or three weeks before the birth (when the belly goes down) or immediately after the birth, as it’s associated with the growing baby and hormonal changes. However, you can’t exclude the chances that rib pain is associated with a neurology or heart pain. That is why it is advisable to consult with your doctor. You absolutely should see a therapist or a neurologist if rib pain during pregnancy increases when coughing, changing a position and other chest movements; if it doesn’t go away and grows stronger.

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