Pain in ribs during pregnancy

You may experience pain in ribs during pregnancy, which is a very normal symptom. As the pregnancy progresses many women feel pain in back, pain in hip and joints.  Pain in ribs is the most uncomfortable symptom, especially in your third trimester. However, there is no guarantee you won’t have this pain early in your pregnancy.

The growing baby inside you can be the reason of your rib pain during pregnancy. Either the baby is kicking or the growing size of the uterus is putting pressure on the ribs causing discomfort and pain in the ribs. The only remedy to relieve this pain completely is the birth of the baby. However, you can make yourself feel comfortable by minimizing the pain.

What causes the pain in ribs during pregnancy?

The baby inside you is growing bigger and bigger, putting pressure on your ribs, and the other organs, making you feel uncomfortable. Increased body size during pregnancy can be the cause of rib pain during pregnancy. Below are the other most common causes of rib pain during pregnancy.

Rapidly growing uterus

Increased uterus size due to growing baby is the most common cause of pain in ribs during pregnancy. As the baby grows larger, causing the uterus to expand. Ultimately, pushes the diaphragm and compresses the rib muscles, creating strain.

Increased breast size

A pregnant woman also experiences increased breast size during pregnancy. Pregnancy adds almost 2-4 kg weight to your breasts. Carrying this weight whole day puts pressure on your ribs and makes your shoulders tired.

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes are obvious during pregnancy. In fact, the female body is a sea full of floating hormones. During the later pregnancy, the level of progesterone in the body is high. This is necessary for the uterine contraction. However, this progesterone softens the muscles and ligaments of the body causing pain in the ribs.

Musculoskeletal pain

Muscular changes in the body during the pregnancy may cause pain in ribs. The stretched muscles during pregnancy limit the motion of your body like bending forward. This limited motion can be the cause of pain in ribs during pregnancy.


As the baby begins to grow the uterus expands against the abdominal cavity, compressing the abdominal organs like stomach and intestine, causing congestion. You might experience indigestion. This can be another cause of pain in ribs during pregnancy.


A pregnant female is at higher risk for gallstones. This is due to the increased estrogen level in the body, slower emptying of the gall bladder and bile ducts. All these can lead to the formation of stones in the gall bladder of a pregnant female. Sometimes, these stones don’t cause any symptoms. But sometimes, these stones become the cause of severe pain in ribs during pregnancy.


Pregnant woman suffers from anxiety and stress. This becomes the cause of pain in the body. Make sure to keep yourself calm.

When to worry about the pain in ribs during pregnancy?

Pain in ribs during pregnancy is usually considered normal. However, in some cases, it may have some serious underlying cause. Some of them are.

Liver cancer

Hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy can promote the liver growth of a pregnant woman who either has liver cancer or is at a high risk of liver cancer. If the tumor develops due to this might push the liver upwards causing pain in ribs.


Increased blood pressure during pregnancy is known as pre-eclampsia. Its symptoms are;

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased protein in the urine
  • Abdominal pain

HELLP syndrome

HELLP is a life-threatening condition. Its symptoms include;

  • Intense rib pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

Immediately, consult your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms.

Preventive measures for the pain in ribs during pregnancy

Here are some of the tips to prevent pain in ribs during pregnancy and to make you feel comfortable during the pregnancy.

Wear loose clothes

Wearing tight clothes will put extra pressure on your ribs making them sore. Pregnancy is not the time to show off your fancy clothes. Avoid wearing tight clothes during pregnancy to prevent any discomfort.

Healthy diet

Avoid eating oily food and high fat-containing food during pregnancy. It will keep you healthy and lower the risk of the formation of gall stones.

Lose weight

One of the major causes of pain in ribs during pregnancy is weight gain. Keep yourself active and fit during pregnancy by doing a little exercise every day.

Sleeping posture

Adjust your sleeping posture according to your comfort. Avoid sleeping in an awkward posture. You can add multiple pillows while sleeping to make sleeping position comfortable.

Change your daily routine to a pregnant lady

Just another reminder that you are not in your normal shape. So, you should not hustle or avoid your limited range of motion. It will only make things worse for you.

Remedies for the pain in ribs during pregnancy

Following are the remedies that can relieve your pain in ribs during pregnancy.

Exercise and yoga

Doing a little exercise every day can help greatly against the pain in ribs during pregnancy. Lying on the exercise ball for a few minutes is a useful way to reduce rib pain.

Warm compress

Taking a warm shower or using a warm compress against the sore ribs will give you the much-needed comfort. It will ease out the knots in your muscles and reduces pain.

Chiropractic care

Chiropractic care is another useful way to relieve pain. It helps greatly against the musculoskeletal pain by pressing the right place with the right pressure.


Massaging your breasts and other body parts is the best therapy. It will reduce stress, helps you relax and instantly relieve the pain.

Supportive products

There are tons of products to support the breasts during pregnancy. You can use them to relieve your pain in ribs. Other useful stuff includes; maternity pillows, lumbar seat pillow, maternity girdle support for the lower body, etc.