Pregnancy causes a lot of physiologic changes in the pregnant woman to allow for the growth and the delivery of the fetus. These physiologic changes are often a result of increase in the maternal hormones in the body. Physiologic changes involve the changes in the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, integumentary and musculoskeletal system.
One of the changes in the musculoskeletal system is the presence of rib pain. This occurs because of the increase in hormones that allow the ligaments to loosen and the muscles on the abdomen and chest to be flexible to accommodate the growing fetus. As the fetus grows inside the uterus, the uterus pushes the abdominal organs and the ribs upward in order for the body to accommodate it. The ribs also expand to increase the lung capacity that has been affected by the growing fetus.
The result of the pressure in the ribs includes shortness of breath and pain in the ribs. However, this may not result to rib fracture. The body has the capacity to compensate with the growing fetus and only result to pain in the ribs with no breakage in the bones.
Bruised ribs symptoms also include shoulder pain because of the compression in the nerves on the diaphragm and ribs. Rib pain is characterized as a sharp and sudden pain and more apparent during the third trimester when the fetus has already taken much space in the thorax.
Rib pain is also aggravated by the increase in the size of the breasts. This puts additional tension in the back, neck and shoulders that also strains the adjacent rib cage.
Bruised rib pain also becomes severe when the pregnant woman is in a sitting position. Good posture and stability is a right key in reducing the pain because a slouching posture may cause additional compression on the rib cage.
Management of rib pain during pregnancy
Rib pain during pregnancy does not need medical and surgical managements because this will eventually disappear once lightening has occurred. Lightening is a phenomenon wherein the fetus descends on the pelvis to get ready for delivery. Lightening usually happens 2 weeks before the delivery.
Managements include wearing loose clothing to allow the ribcage to expand fully. Supportive bras are also helpful in reducing tension on the rib cage as a result of engorged breasts. Shoulder exercises and stretches are also good in relieving rib pain.
Guest Author bio
Dr. Alapati Amarendra is blogger and freelance health writer. He is contributor at baby world.