It doesn’t come as a surprise to many women that there are aches and pains associated with being pregnant. Your body changes significantly in a relatively short space of time and we’re often trying to go about life as if these changes aren’t happening. It’s very common during pregnancy to feel a nagging discomfort or pain around your rib cage and upper back. It can be felt at the front or back and can be on one side or both. You will usually be more aware of the feeling when you take a deep breath, are sitting for too long or twist your body. Usually, this will be felt as your pregnancy progresses and your belly grows and can depend a lot on what you do for work/how you spend your days.
The reason you feel this is because your rib cage is widening to make space for your baby growing inside your uterus. The usual angle of your ribs can change by around 35 degrees by the end of your pregnancy, so this has an effect on the way your ribs connect to your spine.
This change in angle reduces the usual amount of mobility we have at these joints, causing them to become stiff, and for some women, painful.
The best thing you can do if you are feeling stiff or sore around your ribs, is keep them moving - motion is lotion! Try not to sit for more than 20-30 minutes at a time and when you are sitting, make sure you are in a chair with back support. Do some regular stretches where you rotate your spine in side-lying, sitting, standing or 4 point kneeling. If you aren’t sure how to stretch, we have several classes that are perfect for you:
- Let’s Twist
- Pregnancy Spine Stretch
- Pregnancy Spine Twist
- Lower Back Relief
- Pregnancy Wind Down
- 15 Min Upper Back and Neck Stretch
If you are doing all of these things and you are still in pain, it’s best to see a physio sooner rather than later so that you can get on top of it and enjoy your pregnancy. They’ll be able to assess you properly and recommend some specific stretches to help relieve your pain.