10 Causes of Rib Pain During Pregnancy. How to Get a Relief?

rib pain during pregnancy.

If in a daily life a person’s ribs hurt, it must certainly cause concerns. There are many causes that lead to pain in the ribs, so that prolonged pain in this area is a serious reason to go to a specialist. However, during pregnancy, many pains have their own characteristics and causes. The good news is that, as a rule, they pose no threat and are a “side effect” of bearing a child. But there is less joyful news – often rib pain during pregnancy does not get easier, and a woman has to endure it until delivery. Although it usually does not take long to wait, as the ribs of a pregnant woman begin to ache mainly at the last trimester.

Common Causes of Rib Pain during Pregnancy

 The growth of the baby and the uterus

As the child grows he/she needs more space, therefore, while developing, the uterus grows with the baby. By the end of the term, the uterus reaches such a size that all organs move upwards to the ribs, which creates a bursting or painful sensation in this place.

 Intrauterine position and the baby’s movements

The pushing into the ribs can occur periodically and cause very unpleasant and sharp rib pain during pregnancy. Also, the child can take such a position that the woman will constantly feel the pressure on the ribs. This creates discomfort and even rib pain during pregnancy. The doctor can recommend finding a comfortable position, in which the pain calms down and becomes less noticeable. Rib pain will disappear only after childbirth.

rib pain during pregnancy. intrauterine position of the baby

 Intercostal neuralgia

With this disease, pinching or irritation of the rib nerve occurs. The nature of pain in neuralgia depends on the individual characteristics of the person and on the intensity of pinching. Very often this is an acute, stitching pain of different duration, but most often a short time. Painful sensations can be manifested with sudden movements, sneezing and other changes in the position of the body.


With osteochondrosis of the thoracic region, pain is a constant companion and is very pronounced. Sharp movements and physical exertion only increase the pain. Also, pain can occur only on the left side, which sometimes does not allow you to immediately get the right diagnosis.

5 Muscle pain in the ribs

Such pain is aggravated during motion activity and deep breathing. Bending forward or backward become very painful, since the affected muscle is stretched.rib pain during pregnancy - red zone


6 Fibromyalgia

This is a rare disease, the alleged causes of which are inflammatory diseases, nervous disorders, and traumas. The pain can be in both ribs and become aggravated when the weather changes. In the mornings, dizziness and headache may occur.

7 Dry pleurisy

Ribs with dry pleurisy hurt only on one side. The pain increases with a deep breath and sudden movements. Additional symptoms are: dry cough, fever, and sweating. Pain relief occurs when the body is positioned on the side that hurts.

8 Osteoporosis of the ribs

Reduction of calcium in bone tissues creates conditions for the destruction of bone structure and reduces the possibility of their recovery. Bones become fragile and break easily, which can lead to internal fracture of the ribs. The pain is sharp and strong.

9 Injuries of the ribs in the past or in the present

rib pain during pregnancy

 Increased anxiety

Rib pain during pregnancy may appear because of the nervous psychological state. This pain is caused by strong muscle tension or can be made up.

Treatment of rib pain during pregnancy is carried out depending on the cause. But most often such a pain is of a physiological nature, which does not require treatment. A physician may recommend taking preventive measures to temporarily eliminate rib pain of physiological nature.

Rib Pain during Pregnancy Can Occur because of Other Reasons:

  • injuries and traumas in the sternum and ribs;
  • spinal disc herniation;
  • osteoarthritis;
  • osteochondrosis;
  • Tietze’s disease;
  • various pains in the region of the heart, including those caused by ischemia and myocardial infarction;
  • myalgia;
  • malignant formation in the thorax.

How Does It Feel?

A pregnant woman can have both regular and periodic pain. At the same time pains can appear at different times of the day, and their intensity varies from barely perceptible to unbearable.

rib pain during pregnancy. sick pregnant woman

Often, if a future mother has rib pain during pregnancy, this does not pose a serious threat to her or to the fetus. If the sensations are caused by physiological changes, then a woman will completely get rid of them only after the birth of the child. A woman may have the feeling that the ribs “diverge” or are displaced. In fact, nothing like this happens, but the examination of a doctor will be useful. In most cases, rib pain during pregnancy is explained by the fact that a growing fetus presses on a diaphragm and a thorax, and it leads to pains of unknown genesis.

Is It Dangerous?

When rib pain during pregnancy appears, the main task of doctors is to exclude or early detect the pathology that has arisen. Sometimes it happens that a woman before pregnancy was not particularly worried about her health, and didn’t pay attention to some signals. During pregnancy, chronic diseases often worsen, which can lead to discomfort.

Particular care should be taken if the rib on the right side hurts. It can be as a sign of hepatological disorders that appeared during pregnancy. If any traumatic, neurological or muscular changes are detected during the examination of the doctor, the main task is to stop the symptoms and create conditions for the discomfort not to arise afterwards.

If the cause of the rib pain during pregnancy is a violation in the work of the heart, kidneys or respiratory system, the future mother must be hospitalized for a 24-hour observation of her condition. In such cases, there is a threat to the life of a woman and a baby, so urgent treatment is required.

Pathological Pain

The way of eliminating rib pain during pregnancy, as well as the choice of the therapeutic technique depends on the way the ribs hurt.

rib pain during pregnancy

Unpleasant sensations arising from the left side, can speak about the following pathological conditions:

  • exacerbation of the ulcer, gastritis or other diseases of the gastrointestinal tract;
  • pneumonia of the lungs on the left side;
  • diaphragmatic hernia.

Pain on the right side occurs with liver disease or inflammation of the gallbladder, and right-sided pneumonia.

How to Relieve Rib Pain during Pregnancy?

Often during pregnancy, women complain that they have rib pain. These feelings are especially pronounced in the last trimester, when the child grows, taking up more and more space.

The following tips may help reduce the rib pain during pregnancy:

  • Pay attention to the posture. The back should be straight, the shoulders slightly folded, and the chest extended forward.
  • Don’t wear clothes that tightly squeeze the chest. This can create unnecessary discomfort.
  • Doctors strongly recommend not wearing high heels shoes, especially in late pregnancy.
  • If you feel that the pain is increasing, take a deep breath, while raising both hands up. On exhalation – lower the hands.
  • You can reduce discomfort by taking the knee-elbow position.
  • A good exercise for relieving tension from the back and easing rib pain during pregnancy is the “cat pose”, borrowed from yoga. Stand on all fours and inhale as much as possible. Round and bend your back, lower your head and strain your buttocks. Stay for a few seconds at the top. After that, on exhalation, you should bend back and pull your neck up.

rib pain during pregnancy. cat pose

  • When the cause of pain is the excessive activity of the baby, sometimes it is enough to just relax. If the discomfort is felt on the right side, then lie on the left side, and vice versa.
  • The cause of anxiety of the baby may also be poor health or worries of the mother. In this case, take a comfortable pose and relax. You can put your hands on your stomach and just talk to your child about something. Think of something positive or read a fairy tale to the baby.

What Cannot Be Done?

Rib pain during pregnancy will gradually pass 2-3 weeks before delivery or immediately after birth, if it is associated with the growth of the child and hormonal changes. At the same time, rib pain during pregnancy can be neurological or cardiac. Therefore, it will be useful to consult a doctor about your problem. A visit to a therapist or a neurologist is necessary if the rib pain during pregnancy increases with coughing, deep breaths, changing the posture and other movements of the chest, and also if it does not pass or increases.

rib pain during pregnancy

If the ribs begin to ache heavily, a future mother is looking for different ways to get rid of the pain. Very often, friends and relatives give advice that not only does not help, but can even worsen the condition of a pregnant woman.

It is forbidden to:

  • take medication without consulting a doctor;
  • engage in excessive physical activity, especially if the woman was not going in for sports before pregnancy;
  • press on the stomach.

Keep in mind, that self-medication can harm. So if you have rib pain during pregnancy, it is necessary to tell the doctor about it. The physician will determine the cause of discomfort and suggest how to minimize the pain.

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