Rib pain and discomfort is a common pregnancy symptom in the third trimester. When you’re pregnant, rib pain can range from mild discomfort to severe, sore pain. Rib pain in pregnancy is often worse when you’re sitting down. This pregnancy symptom is uncomfortable, it’s one of the physical consequences of having a baby.
Causes of Rib Pain During Pregnancy
In the final trimester, your huge uterus presses into the abdomen and squashes your ribs. (Not to mention, your baby will spend much of her time kicking and punching you, which can be very painful in the third trimester, since there is limited room in your belly.) As your baby grows larger and larger, some of your organs have to shift to make room for her growth. Your uterus stretches upward and outward, and it can press against your ribs. (This same physical change is why pregnant women experience shortness of breath, too.)
Fortunately, after your baby “drops” into the pelvis, she isn’t situated so high up in your abdomen, so you will get relief from rib pain. (But be aware – you will start waddling once your baby descends into the pelvic area. This is called “lightning.”)
How to Get Relief from Rib Pain in Pregnancy
Unfortunately, rib pain is a pregnancy symptom that you have to struggle through. Sitting down is often the most uncomfortable, and that’s when rib pain is at its worst. Lying down, supported by comfy pillows, may give you some relief. Heating pads or a cold compress may also help you feel better.
Rib pain in pregnancy is normal, but it shouldn’t be excruciatingly painful. If your rib pain is accompanied with any other symptoms that you think are worrisome, such as low back pain, menstrual-like cramps, pain when you urinate, or anything else that seems strange, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or midwife.