Ribs and pregnancy

Ribs and pregnancy DEFAULT

How to Relieve Rib Pain During Pregnancy

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by Maria Masters

Medically Reviewedby James Greenberg, M.D.

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 on May 28, 2021

Your growing uterus can further strain your already straining chest and stomach. Here’s how to ease the ache.

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Pregnancy stretches just about every part of your body to the max — including, for some moms-to-be, the rib cage. The result: an achy side and rib pain that may not go away even when you change positions. 

Here’s what causes rib pain during pregnancy and how to ease the ache. 

What causes rib pain during pregnancy?

Rib pain tends to crop up in the second and third trimesters, especially near the end of your pregnancy, as your belly — and everything else — stretches to accommodate your growing baby.

There are a few possible causes of rib pain during pregnancy, including:

  • Hormones. The same pregnancy hormones that are responsible for loosening your joints — especially that aptly named hormone, relaxin — can sometimes cause the ribs to expand. This is welcome news to your lungs (which are already short on space) and uterus (which won’t stop growing), but not to your achy ribs and side.
  • Inflammation. The cartilage attached to your ribs can loosen and expand during pregnancy, causing inflammation (read: pain) in the area.
  • Increased pressure from the uterus. As your uterus continues to expand — and your breasts keep getting bigger — your rib cage may be, quite literally, under some pressure.
  • Baby’s kicks. Your little contortionist may have sunk a foot into your ribs, and (surprise!) she packs a powerful punch. 

How does rib pain change during pregnancy?

In the early stages of pregnancy, you may not experience any rib pain at all. Some women, however, will feel rib pain during the later stages of their pregnancy when their body starts to stretch in earnest. Here’s how rib pregnancy can change as the months progress: 

  • First trimester: Because rib pain is often caused by an ever-expanding body  — particularly a uterus that keeps stretching to accommodate a growing baby — it doesn’t tend to occur in the first trimester. By the end of the first trimester, it’s likely that your baby weighs only an ounce or less. What’s more, many women don’t gain very much weight in the first few months of their pregnancies. Those who have morning sickness may even lose a few pounds.
  • Second trimester: As your baby continues to grow, you may experience some rib pain and shortness of breath, which crops up as your growing uterus pushes up against your diaphragm and compresses your lungs. 
  • Third trimester: Rib pain tends to continue later in pregnancy, when the uterus is expanding in earnest and putting more pressure on the ribs. Your baby is also growing bigger — and likely throwing a few jabs or kicks into your ribs too. 

The good news: In the weeks before you deliver, your baby often gets ready for birth by dropping into the pelvis, which takes the pressure off your ribs (and keeps them safe from any stray kicks).

How do I relieve rib pain during pregnancy?

You don’t have to wait until delivery day to feel better. Use these tips to ease rib pain.

  • Wear loose clothing. A too-tight shirt or dress can add more pressure to your already-aching ribs. Stick to maternity dresses, loose sweaters and extra-long tanks and T-shirts.
  • Take a bath. A warm (not hot) bath can ease many of the aches and pains of pregnancy. Not sure you can safely climb out of a bathtub? Try a heating pad instead.
  • Find a different position. If your baby is a, well, pain in the ribs, try to change her position by changing yours. Try bouncing on an exercise ball or doing a few pelvic tilts. 
  • Wear a belly-support band. Belly-support bands are designed to help redistribute the weight around your growing middle. While they’re primarily used to ease round ligament pain, they can also help take the pressure off your straining abdomen, which may be pulling on your ribs and causing pain.
  • Take Tylenol. If you’ve tried every home remedy for rib pain to no avail, ask your doctor if you can take Tylenol (acetaminophen). 

When should I be concerned about rib pain?

If you have concerns about rib pain or nothing seems to be helping, it’s a good idea to call your doctor.

Call, too, if you’re having rib pain in your upper abdomen, particularly if it’s flaring up under the ribs on the right side of your body. Pain that appears in this area is a possible symptom of preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication that’s characterized by high blood pressure. Other signs of preeclampsia include severe headaches, changes in vision and nausea.

Preeclampsia likely won’t go away until after your baby is born, and until then, it’s important that you’re treated for it. If you do have preeclampsia, your doctor will likely recommend regular blood and urine tests, and ask you to monitor your blood pressure levels. Depending on how severe your condition is, you may need to take BP meds or receive treatment in the hospital.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You're Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 5th edition, Heidi Murkoff.
  • WhatToExpect.com, Round Ligament Pain During Pregnancy, December 2020.
  • WhatToExpect.com, Preeclampsia: Symptoms, Risk Factors and Treatment, May 2021.
  • WhatToExpect.com, Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy, October 2020.
  • WhatToExpect.com, How Much Weight You Should Gain During Pregnancy, October 2020.
  • WhatToExpect.com, Best Pregnancy Belly Support Bands, January 2021.
  • WhatToExpect.com, Your Guide To Pregnancy Hormones, January 2021.
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, How Your Fetus Grows During Pregnancy, August 2020.
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Changes During Pregnancy, October 2020.
  • Harvard Medical School, Preeclampsia and Eclampsia, March 2021.
  • Journal of Applied Physiology, Adaptation of Lung, Chest Wall, and Respiratory Muscles During Pregnancy: Preparing for Birth, December 2019.
  • Mayo Clinic, Preeclampsia, March 2020.
  • Mayo Clinic, Pregnancy Week by Week, What Causes Round Ligament Pain During Pregnancy?, April 2020.
  • National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, Preeclampsia Self Care, August 2018. 
  • Stanford Children’s Health, The First Trimester, May 2021.

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Sours: https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/your-health/rib-pain-pregnancy

Pregnancy Rib Pain: Causes, Prevention, Remedies

Musculoskeletal changes

Changes to your body that occur during pregnancy may cause rib pain. For example, different ranges of motion are limited as your body expands. It’s harder to bend forward because there’s a human being in the front of you. This limitation can cause rib pain.

Gallstones

Pregnancy puts women at a higher risk for gallstone disease. This is because of higher estrogen levels and slower emptying of the gallbladder and biliary ducts. Both of these can lead to the formation of gallstones.

Up to 30 percent of pregnant and postpartum women will experience biliary “sludge” as a result of those sluggish ducts. Twelve percent of women will actually develop gallstones.

Many times, the sludge and accompanying gallstones don’t cause any symptoms. But sometimes, the stones can be severe enough to cause pain. About 1 to 3 percent of women will need surgery postpartum to remove gallstones.

Heartburn

The hormone relaxin is produced during pregnancy. It helps some of the muscles and ligaments literally getting more “relaxed” in preparation for childbirth.

Relaxin may also be responsible for some of the skeletal pain that women feel during pregnancy. This includes pain in the pelvis and possibly in the ribs as your body makes room for baby.

Relaxin is also responsible for relaxing part of the esophagus. This is why pregnant women are so much more prone to heartburn. In some women, that heartburn might manifest as — you guessed it — rib pain.

Other complications

Rib pain during pregnancy can usually be written off as just “normal” discomfort. But for some women, it may have an underlying, more serious cause.

For instance, pain occurring in the upper right abdomen can be a sign of liver disease, preeclampsia, or HELLP syndrome. HELLP is a life-threatening complication. Symptoms include protein in the urine and high blood pressure.

Seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing sudden, severe rib pain and have any of the following symptoms:

  • dizziness
  • seeing spots or floaters in your eye
  • bleeding
  • headaches
  • nausea and vomiting

Rib pain and tumors

There’s some evidence that pregnancy might promote liver growth for women who have cancer, or are at high risk for developing liver cancer. If you’re having severe pain under your right rib, your doctor can check for signs of a tumor. A tumor might force your liver up into your rib cage.

Pregnancy also makes your blood clot more, so some women are at higher risk for blood clots. These can happen in a rare condition called Budd-Chiari syndrome. Budd-Chiari can affect the kidneys and liver. Severe rib pain should always be checked out by your doctor.

Sours: https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/rib-pain
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Sours: https://www.verywellfamily.com/shortness-of-breath-and-rib-pain-in-pregnancy-4767815
Rib Pain in Pregnancy

How to Deal With Rib Pain During Pregnancy

There’s no doubt that the body changes during pregnancy in some spectacular ways. Some of these changes, unfortunately, put physical stress on your musculoskeletal system that manifests as aches, soreness, and pain.

You probably have heard pregnant women talk about common pains, such as round ligament pain, hip pain, and lower and upper back pain. Rib pain during pregnancy, however, is less talked about, but no less complicated to deal with.

This pillow has amazing reviews from pregnant mothers and it might be just what you need to get comfortable.

But just in case you need more than a pillow, here, Kira Kohrherr, Aaptiv trainer and founder of FitBump breaks down rib pain during pregnancy and offers exercises to alleviate some discomfort.

What causes rib pain during pregnancy?

There are a variety of reasons women experience rib pain during pregnancy. First, of course, is the expansion of the rib cage in order to increase the capacity of the lungs and accommodate a growing uterus. Other causes include postural changes, weight gain (including an increase in breast size), and hormonal changes.  The hormone relaxin, which increases during pregnancy, causes the ligaments and small joints of the rib cage and middle back to become unstable. Thus, the muscles are under strain as the baby continues to grow and the uterus is pushed upward. Later on in the pregnancy, if the baby is in a breech position, the baby’s head can press up into the rib cage, causing various degrees of pain, difficulty breathing, and heartburn.

“Although our bodies are built for this, we are often maxed out,” says Dr. Randi Jaffe, a prenatal chiropractor based in New York City. “This can be especially challenging for a petite woman, but taller women are not immune to experiencing this during pregnancy.” She adds that “there can be inflammation in both the front and side areas of the ribcage as well as the middle back area where the ribs attach to the spine. This is all a recipe for dysfunction and ultimately pain to the area.”

What treatment options are there?

Chiropractic care can be beneficial for women during their pregnancy. Gentle adjustments can increase mobility, decrease muscle tension in between the ribs, and decrease inflammation.

Additional recommendations include stretches, icing or heating, and postural modifications and exercises. Other complementary modalities for treatment include massage therapy, acupuncture, physical therapy, and KT Taping.

You might want to get yourself a pregnancy pillow as well. Women are raving about this one here which is helping them with their rib pain.

What can exacerbate the pain?

After sitting at your desk (or in a car) for extended periods of time, the body often begins to slouch, causing even more compression and strain to the ribcage. Dr. Jaffe recommends focusing on better posture, taking frequent breaks to move and stretch (every 45 minutes), and using a standing desk or an exercise ball as a chair at work.

Exercises for Rib Pain During Pregnancy

Having experienced persistent rib pain with both of her pregnancies, Aaptiv’s Kohrherr recommends running through this rib-opening series a few times a day to help alleviate discomfort. Here are four exercises to combat rib pain.

Sitting Chair Side Stretch

Sit in a chair. Place your left arm on your desk, the left armrest, or rest it on your belly. Reach your right arm long overhead and inhale. On the exhale, reach further and bend to the left, gently stretching your right side. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Perform this two times on each side.

Thread the Needle

Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop pose. Gently slide the right hand through the opening between the left hand and left knee. Continue to slide the arm all the way out to the left until your right shoulder and the right side of your headrest comfortably on the floor. From that position, inhale and reach the left hand up towards the ceiling. Take 3-6 deep breaths. Return to the start position and repeat on the other side. Perform this 2-3 times on each side.

Chair Hang

Position yourself behind the back of a sturdy chair, sofa, or mounted wall bar. Hold on to the chair (or another sturdy object). Keep your arms straight and keep your feet hip-width apart and in-line with your hands. Make sure your knees are soft and not locked. Keeping your back straight, hinge your body at the waist and slightly pull back to open your rib cage. Take 10 deep breaths here.

Wall Slides

Stand with your back against a wall. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees soft, not locked. Your head, shoulders, and glutes should touch the wall. Bring your arms and the backs of your hands up against the wall with your elbows bent at 90-degree angles. Slowly slide your hands above your head, while pressing your hands, elbows, and arms against the wall. It’s key that all three points should be touching the wall throughout the exercise. Hold for one breath and expand your rib cage on the inhale. Repeat this motion 10 times.

Rib pain can, obviously, be an added discomfort during pregnancy. If you experience intense rib pain during pregnancy, talk to your doctor. He or she will be able to best determine the cause and help you find solutions individual to your experience. If your rib pain is more irritating than debilitating, focus on maintaining good posture, regular stretching, and performing the above exercise series to help alleviate the pain.

If you’re looking for prescribed workouts that are low-impact and safe to include in your prenatal fitness routine, look no further. Try Aaptiv.

HealthPregnancy

Sours: https://aaptiv.com/magazine/rib-pain-during-pregnancy

Pregnancy ribs and

Sore ribs in pregnancy

Rib pain is very common in pregnancy, especially during the third trimester (weeks 28 to 40).

Make an appointment to see your GP if you are less than 12 weeks pregnant and you get shoulder or rib pain. In rare cases this can be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy.

Causes of rib pain in pregnancy

During pregnancy some changes happen to your body that can make rib pain more likely.

Breasts getting bigger

This extra weight can cause rib pain.

Hormonal changes

The hormones of pregnancy cause your ligaments to relax and soften. This may mean that the bones in your chest wall move more than they normally would and could cause pain.

Baby getting bigger

As your baby grows and takes up extra space inside you, they may put pressure on your chest wall and ribs.

Heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion

Heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion can give you rib pain during pregnancy. This is because your baby is putting pressure on your stomach.

Urinary tract infection

Rib pain, particularly in your lower ribs at the front or the back, can be a sign of a urinary tract infection.

Contact your GP if you have any of the following:

  • pain on passing urine (peeing)
  • cloudy urine
  • blood in the urine
  • a high temperature
  • burning or stinging feeling when peeing

Preventing rib pain in pregnancy

  1. Be mindful of your posture - sitting up straight with your head up and shoulders back reduces your risk of rib pain. It also reduces pain in your upper back and neck.
  2. Wear a properly-fitted and supportive bra and avoid underwire. It might be worth getting a nursing bra that you can wear after the baby is born.
  3. Pregnancy yoga and pilates helps improve posture and strength and flexibility of muscles.
  4. Deep breathing exercises during the day may help, as well as before bedtime.
  5. Try using a few pillows at bedtime to help you get comfortable.

Ways to deal with the pain

Stretches

There are some stretches that can help you when you have pain in your ribs.

Follow these steps:

  1. Try sitting and bending your upper body sideways.
  2. Bend away from the side of the pain.
  3. Raise the arm on the same side as the pain above your head.
  4. Hold for a few minutes, taking deep breaths in and out.
  5. Relax. Then return to normal.

You can ask for a referral to a chartered physiotherapist who can tailor exercises to your needs.

Other things that may help

  • heat treatment - half fill a hot water bottle and hold it to the area where the pain is (the ribs area, not on the bump)
  • ask your GP, obstetrician or midwife to refer you to a chartered physiotherapist
  • painkillers - you can get a prescription from your obstetrician or GP

When to get urgent medical help

Contact your GP, maternity hospital or obstetrician immediately if you have:

  • shortness of breath, coughing up blood or palpitations as these may be signs of a lung infection or a blood clot
  • severe pain
  • a headache, spots in front of your eyes or dizziness as these could be signs of pre-eclampsia
  • tummy pains or bleeding from your vagina and you are less than 12 weeks pregnant

If your pain doesn't improve

Ask your GP or obstetrician to refer you to a chartered physiotherapist who specialises in women’s health.

page last reviewed: 19/06/2019
next review due: 19/06/2022

Sours: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/child-health/sore-ribs-in-pregnancy.html
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