Overview on pregnancy rib pain

During pregnancy, rib pain is a common issue especially in the 3rd trimester as the baby grows. In some cases, the pain might arise early in pregnancy.

It is important to note that the rib pain might be due to the baby physically kicking in the ribs, moving by the ribs or stretching out below the ribs. The discomfort might also be caused by the stretching of the muscles. In rare instances, it might be due to a medical complication.


There are measures that can help prevent some degree of rib pain by staying physically active and exercising during pregnancy.

What are the causes of rib pain?

  • Musculoskeletal changes – bodily changes that occur during pregnancy can cause rib pain.
  • Gallstones – being pregnant puts women at high risk for gallstone disease due to the high estrogen levels and slowed emptying of the gallbladder which leads to the formation of gallstones.
  • Heartburn – relaxin is a hormone released during pregnancy that helps some of the muscles and ligaments become relaxed for childbirth. The hormone also relaxes part of the esophagus which increases the risk for heartburn in women.

Preventive measures

There are measures that can help prevent some degree of rib pain by staying physically active and exercising during pregnancy. Both can help women stay comfortable and prevent excess weight gain which adds up to the pain

The formation of gallstones can be prevented by focusing on a healthy diet. Remember that a high-fat diet can lead to the formation of gallstones.


If rib pain arises, there are following measures that can help ease the discomfort such as:

  • Consulting a chiropractor – an adjustment can ensure that the skeletal system is in the right position since the stress of pregnancy can cause shifts in the body. It can also help the baby settle into a lower position to relieve some of the pressure from the ribs.
  • Exercise ball – these are beneficial during pregnancy especially for rib pain. It is recommended to drape the back on the ball and perform a few roll-outs.
  • Exercise – perform gentle exercises such as yoga with stretching can keep the muscles loose. It also helps keep both the woman and baby as healthy as possible.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on pregnancy rib pain is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to managing this pregnancy issue, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Surrey, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.


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