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Pregnant. Having sharp pain under rib cage. Is this normal?

Answered by
Dr. Aarti Abraham


Practicing since :1998

Answered : 6003 Questions

Posted on Fri, 19 Apr 2013 in Pregnancy
Question: i am in my first trimester of my pregnancy and i have a sharp pain under my left side of my rib cage
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham 18 minutes later
Thanks for your query.

Rib pain is most common in the third trimester due to the growing uterus pressing on the ribs and the pressure from the baby.
It is quite uncommon to have it in the first trimester, though it happens in some cases.
One reason is that in pregnancy the bones and ligaments become loose, and cause pain.
Inflammation of the ribs is called costochondritis. This can be relieved by analgesics like Tylenol, which I suppose are best avoided in the first trimester, unless the pain is unbearable. Local anti inflammatory gels like Volini or hot compresses are best.
Another cause of rib pain during pregnancy is the increased weight of the breasts. As the breasts become larger, so do they place more weight on your rib cage as well as your spine. Tight bra and breast support will help.
Test yourself for calcium and Vitamin D deficiency, and take supplements if required, as these could be potential causes.
Acid reflux and heartburn could be a reason. Eat a bland, non spicy diet and eat meals at regular intervals. Eat small frequent meals and do not sleep for atleast 2 hours after eating. You can ask your obstetrician for antacids.
Make yourself as comfortable as possible by wearing loose fitting clothes
Support yourself with cushions when lying down
Sit up straight and don’t hunch over – create more room, while supporting your back
Avoid sitting down for too long – get up and take regular stretch breaks or short walks
Heat packs or cold packs – whatever works best for you
A nice hot shower (be sensible with this one – not too hot!)
Exercises that help you stretch out and support your body, like swimming, will help.
Gentle massage from a partner or professional can help to alleviate discomfort temporarily as well as finding and eliminating knots and tense areas in your muscle.

If your discomfort continues or you notice other concerning symptoms then be sure to get yourself checked out with an obstetrician , or an Orthopedic Surgeon.

Take care, and feel free to ask further questions.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Aarti Abraham 11 minutes later
the pain is a sharp pain and hurt wen i sleep on that one side however once i change to the other side the pain reduces but any little movement triggers it, and my nausea has increase in this week
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham 6 minutes later
I think it is definitely costochondritis, that is, inflammation of the ribs.
Please try local analgesic gels and hot compresses.
If not relieved, then consult an Orthopedic surgeon.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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