In the third trimester of your pregnancy, and in some cases, earlier, you may experience rib pain that ranges from mild discomfort to extreme soreness. This rib discomfort is the result of expanding uterus, and from the baby kicking and punching in this part of your body. Rib soreness is common on the side that the baby rests most often, and can be felt just under the breasts. You’ll likely find that you experience more rib pain when you’re sitting, especially when leaning forward.
Even though pregnancy is a joyful and exciting time in a woman’s life, it usually comes with a few uncomfortable symptoms. Most of the ailments that pregnant women experience include morning sickness, nausea, headache, frequent urination, backache, fatigue, breast tenderness, and food aversions and cravings. Rib pain in the last trimester is particularly common as well. There are a number of reasons why your ribs may become sore. Here are some of the causes of rib pain, as well as some tips to treat this condition.
- Hormonal Changes. The pain in your ribs could be due to changes in your hormones, particularly the increased progesterone in your body. When progesterone concentrations are high in a woman’s body, the muscles and ligaments around the spine and pelvis become soft to prepare for the baby’s delivery. This causes back strain along with rib pain. This is common in the last trimester.
- Large, Heavy Breasts. Your breasts will likely grow during pregnancy, almost a full cup size, and will feel particularly heavy. Large breasts leads to pressure in the shoulders, upper back and ribcage, so it’s likely that you’ll experience pain in these parts of the body.
- Urinary Tract Infection. If this comes along with rib soreness, you may also experience kidney pain, as well as a burning or painful sensation when urinating.
- Referred Pain in the Diaphragm. Uterus expansion puts pressure on the diaphragm, which can make it hard for you to breathe. There are several nerves in the diaphragm that can lead to rib and shoulder pain in expectant mothers.
- Uterus Expansion. The main cause of pain in the ribs is the expansion of the uterus, which naturally happens as the baby grows. This puts pain and pressure on the ribs. The intercostal muscles, or muscles in between the ribs also experience strain, which may lead to shortness of breath or overall difficulty breathing. If you’re carrying a large baby or have a short waist, you may also face the risk of rib fracture.
- Anxiety and Stress. When you’re pregnant, you will likely suffer stress and anxiety on some level. This can cause symptoms like rib pain, along with difficulty breathing and pain in the neck and shoulders.