Pregnancy brings a multitude of changes to a woman’s body, and rib pain is one discomfort many expectant mothers experience. Understanding the causes and effective ways to manage rib pain during pregnancy, especially in the second trimester, can significantly improve comfort and well-being.

What Causes Rib Pain During Pregnancy?

Several factors contribute to rib pain in pregnant women, including hormonal changes, inflammation, increased pressure from the growing uterus, and even the baby’s movements.


During pregnancy, hormonal changes, particularly increased levels of relaxin, can cause the ligaments supporting the ribcage to loosen. This hormonal shift aims to prepare the body for childbirth but can lead to discomfort and pain in the rib area.

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Inflammation is a common occurrence during pregnancy, especially in areas experiencing increased strain. The ribs, being part of the skeletal structure supporting the expanding abdomen, may become inflamed, causing pain and discomfort.

Increased Pressure from the Uterus

As the baby grows, the uterus expands, placing pressure on surrounding organs and structures, including the ribcage. This pressure can result in discomfort, particularly on the right side, where the liver is located.

Baby’s Kicks

As the pregnancy progresses, the baby’s movements become more pronounced. Kicking and stretching can put pressure on the ribs, leading to pain, especially if the baby’s feet are positioned near the ribcage.

How Does Rib Pain Change During Pregnancy?

Rib pain can vary in intensity and location throughout the different trimesters of pregnancy.

First Trimester:

During the first trimester, rib pain may not be as prevalent since the uterus has not yet significantly expanded. However, hormonal changes and mild inflammation can still cause some discomfort for some women.

Second Trimester:

The second trimester is when rib pain and also TMJ pain may become more noticeable for many women. As the uterus continues to grow, it puts increased pressure on the ribcage, leading to discomfort, especially on the right side. This discomfort may be exacerbated by the relaxation of ligaments due to hormonal changes.

Third Trimester:

In the third trimester, rib pain may persist or worsen as the baby continues to grow and occupy more space within the abdomen. Additionally, the expanding uterus may push the ribcage upward, exacerbating discomfort.

The good news: Rib pain during pregnancy is typically temporary and resolves after childbirth once the uterus returns to its pre-pregnancy size.

How Do I Relieve Rib Pain During Pregnancy and Other Pain?

Managing rib pain during pregnancy and also shoulder pain involves adopting strategies to alleviate discomfort and support the body’s changing needs.

Wear Loose Clothing

Opt for loose-fitting clothing, particularly around the ribcage, to minimize pressure and provide more comfort.

Take a Bath

A warm bath can help relax the muscles and alleviate tension in the rib area. Adding Epsom salts to the bathwater may further enhance the soothing effects.

Find a Different Position

Experiment with different sitting and sleeping positions to find one that alleviates pressure on the ribs. Using pillows for support can help achieve a more comfortable position.

Wear a Belly-Support Band

Belly-support bands or maternity belts can help distribute the weight of the uterus more evenly, reducing strain on the ribcage.

Take Tylenol

If the pain is persistent and interferes with daily activities, consult your healthcare provider about taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) for temporary relief. Always follow the recommended dosage guidelines.

Stay Active

Engaging in gentle exercises approved by your healthcare provider, such as prenatal yoga or swimming, can help alleviate rib pain by improving posture and promoting relaxation.

Practice Breathing Techniques

Deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques can help reduce muscle tension and alleviate rib pain during pregnancy. Consider incorporating these techniques into your daily routine for added relief.

When Should I Be Concerned About Rib Pain?

While rib pain during pregnancy is often a normal part of the experience, certain symptoms warrant medical attention. If you experience severe or persistent pain, difficulty breathing, or any other concerning symptoms, contact your healthcare provider promptly.

Jump to Your Week of Pregnancy: Understanding how your baby is developing week by week can provide valuable insights into what to expect and how to manage discomfort more effectively.


In conclusion, rib pain during pregnancy, particularly in the second trimester, is a common occurrence due to hormonal changes, increased pressure from the growing uterus, and other factors. By implementing strategies to alleviate discomfort and knowing when to seek medical attention, expectant mothers can navigate this discomfort more comfortably, focusing on the joys of pregnancy.


How to ease pregnancy discomfort?

To alleviate pregnancy discomfort, try gentle exercises like prenatal yoga or swimming. Maintain proper posture, use supportive pillows for sleep, and wear comfortable clothing. Stay hydrated, eat small, frequent meals, and include fiber-rich foods to prevent constipation. Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation, and consider prenatal massages. Consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice.

Is abdominal discomfort normal in early pregnancy?

Abdominal discomfort can be common in early pregnancy due to hormonal changes and the stretching of ligaments as the uterus expands. However, severe or persistent pain should be promptly addressed by a healthcare provider to rule out any complications such as ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. It’s always best to consult a doctor for personalized advice and reassurance.

How to relieve discomfort during pregnancy?

To relieve discomfort during pregnancy, try gentle exercises like prenatal yoga or swimming. Opt for comfortable clothing and footwear. Utilize supportive pillows for better sleep and consider prenatal massages. Stay hydrated and eat small, frequent meals to alleviate nausea. Communicate any concerns with your healthcare provider for personalized advice.

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