Rib pain during pregnancy usually occurs during the third trimester, although some women do experience it sooner. By this point, you have probably suffered your fair share of back aches, round ligament pain, and hip pain. Unfortunately, you may now want to add ‘sore ribs’ to your list of pregnancy ailments.
As your baby grows, the top of your uterus will reach almost as high as your breastbone, and this will put pressure on your rib cage. As well as this, your baby has grown bigger and is now running out of space, so is probably kicking and elbowing you while she tries to find a comfortable position.
Coping with sore ribs
Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic cure for this discomfort, although there are a few things you can try for temporary relief:
- avoid tight clothing – tight, restrictive clothing will simply add to the pressure on your rib cage. Opt for loose fitting clothes to give yourself room to breathe.
- buy a new bra – during pregnancy, your rib cage expands to make room for your growing uterus. As well as this, the average woman has up to 1lb (0.4kg) extra breast fat by the end of the pregnancy. Wearing properly fitting bras can help to relieve some of the pressure on your rib cage. To save money, choose nursing bras that will be useful after the birth, too.
- lean back – rib pain usually worsens when you lean forward, so try to avoid this. Try to maintain good posture when sitting and standing, or lean back slightly if this helps to relieve the pain.
- hog the pillows – use pillows to prop yourself up in the night, having a pillow under your bump can take some of the strain off your bones and muscles and may reduce rib pain.
- move around – try to avoid sitting or standing in the same position for too long. Try to move around and take regular short walks.
- exercise – light exercise such as swimming and yoga are great for relieving rib pain.
- warm water – relaxing in a warm bath, or even taking a quick warm shower, may help to provide short term relief from sore ribs.
If you are in a lot of pain, speak to your healthcare provider about pain medication. There are some medications that are safe to take during pregnancy, but you should always seek medical advice first.
Shortly after week 36, you should find that you experience some relief as the baby, and your uterus, drop slightly in preparation for the birth. All of a sudden you should find that your rib pain has gone, and you are breathing easier.
Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.