How to Sleep with Rib Pain During Pregnancy: Relief Guide


Learning how to sleep with rib pain during pregnancy can be a challenging yet essential skill for many expectant mothers. Pregnant women often experience rib pain, which can drastically reduce the quality of their sleep. In this blog post, we’ll explore strategies to alleviate rib pain during pregnancy and enhance your sleep experience.

We will begin by identifying the symptoms of rib pain during pregnancy and understanding its underlying causes. Next, we’ll discuss different sleeping positions that may ease pressure on your ribs while providing adequate support for your growing baby. Additionally, we’ll cover the benefits of using supportive pillows specifically designed for pregnant women experiencing rib pain.

Lastly, you’ll learn about chiropractic care as a treatment option to relieve rib pain during pregnancy effectively. By implementing these tips and techniques into your nightly routine, you should be well-equipped to manage pregnancy-related rib discomfort and enjoy more restful nights as you prepare for the arrival of your little one.

Table of Contents:

1. Identifying Rib Pain During Pregnancy

Rib pain is a common complaint during pregnancy that can cause discomfort and disrupt your sleep. It is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of rib pain during pregnancy so you can take steps to ease it and get a good night’s rest.

Symptoms of Rib Pain in Pregnant Women

  • Chest pain: You may feel a sharp or severe pain around your chest, particularly under the breastbone or along the sides of your rib cage.
  • Sore ribs: Your ribs might be tender to touch, making it uncomfortable to lie on your side while sleeping.
  • Pain when breathing: Deep breaths or coughing could exacerbate the soreness in your rib muscles, causing more discomfort.
  • Movement-related pain: Bending over, lifting objects, or twisting might trigger an increase in rib pain as well.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms during early pregnancy, it is crucial not to ignore them. Instead, consult with a healthcare professional who can help determine if what you are feeling is related to pregnancy-induced rib pain or another condition like acid reflux or round ligament pain.

Tips for Easing Rib Pain at Home

In addition to seeking medical advice from professionals like those at Grand Health Chiropractic, there are several things pregnant women can do at home to alleviate some of their discomfort caused by growing baby pressure on their lower ribs and upper abdomen:

  1. Wear supportive bras: A comfortable bra with ample support will reduce strain on your shoulders and back.
  2. Stretch regularly: Engaging in gentle pregnancy stretches can help relax your rib muscles and improve flexibility.
  3. Apply heat or cold packs: Alternating between hot and cold therapy on the affected area may provide temporary relief from pain.
  4. Practice good posture: Sitting up straight will alleviate pressure on your ribs, making it easier to breathe and reducing discomfort.

Remember that while these tips might offer some relief, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional if you are pregnant and experiencing severe pain or other uncomfortable symptoms. They can recommend appropriate treatments like chiropractic care or prescribe safe pain medication for managing rib pain during pregnancy.

Pregnant women should be cognizant of rib soreness and its possible origins, so that they can undertake the essential steps to handle it. Understanding the underlying cause of this type of discomfort will help provide relief and prevent further complications.

Key Takeaway:

Rib pain is a common issue during pregnancy that can cause discomfort and disrupt sleep. Symptoms include chest pain, sore ribs, pain when breathing, and movement-related pain. Pregnant women can alleviate some of their discomfort by wearing supportive bras, stretching regularly, applying heat or cold packs, and practicing good posture. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional if experiencing severe pain or uncomfortable symptoms.

Understanding the Causes of Rib Pain

Rib pain during pregnancy is a common complaint, and it’s essential to understand its causes to manage it effectively. There are several factors that contribute to rib pain in pregnant women, including:

  • Growing baby: As your baby grows, your uterus expands and pushes against your rib cage, causing discomfort.
  • Hormone called relaxin: Pregnancy hormones like relaxin can cause ligaments around the ribs to loosen up, leading to soreness or sharp pain.
  • Muscle strain: The growing uterus puts pressure on surrounding muscles, which may lead to strained or overworked rib muscles.
  • Round ligament pain: This type of early pregnancy discomfort occurs when the round ligament stretches as the uterus grows. It often affects the lower ribs and upper abdomen area.
  • Chest expansion: Your chest cavity needs more space for breathing due to increased blood volume during pregnancy; this can result in stretched intercostal muscles between your ribs.

To ease rib pain during pregnancy without relying on medication alone (which should be avoided unless prescribed by a doctor), consider trying some natural remedies such as gentle stretching exercises (pregnancy stretches) specifically designed for pregnant women experiencing these uncomfortable symptoms. Additionally, wearing a supportive bra throughout your day can help alleviate pressure on sensitive areas around your rib cage while also providing much-needed support for growing breasts caused by hormone fluctuations.

Avoiding Triggers That Worsen Rib Pain

Besides understanding what causes rib pain during pregnancy, it’s crucial to identify and avoid triggers that can exacerbate the discomfort. Some common factors include:

  • Acid reflux: Pregnancy hormones can cause acid reflux, which may lead to chest pain or burning sensations in your upper abdomen.
  • Poor posture: Slouching or hunching over puts additional strain on your rib muscles and ligaments, worsening rib pain.
  • Lifting heavy objects: Lifting heavy items during pregnancy can put extra stress on your body, including your ribs. It’s essential to practice proper lifting techniques if you must lift something while pregnant.

Incorporating these insights into daily life will help you manage rib pain more effectively throughout pregnancy. The next step is finding ways to sleep comfortably despite this common pregnancy complaint by adjusting sleeping positions and utilizing supportive pillows for a restful night’s sleep.

Pregnant women may experience rib pain, and it’s essential to comprehend the potential causes of this discomfort. Adjusting your sleeping position may help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with rib pain while pregnant.

Key Takeaway:

Rib pain during pregnancy is caused by several factors, including the growing baby, relaxin hormone, muscle strain, round ligament pain and chest expansion. To ease rib pain without medication, pregnant women can try natural remedies such as stretching exercises and wearing a supportive bra. It’s also important to avoid triggers that worsen rib pain like acid reflux or poor posture while lifting heavy objects should be done with proper techniques if necessary.

3. Adjusting Your Sleeping Position

To get a good night’s rest, try adjusting your sleeping position to ease pressure on the rib cage and reduce pain. By adjusting your sleeping position, you can help alleviate pressure on your rib cage and reduce pain.

a) Sleep on Your Left Side

Pregnant women are advised to slumber on their left side, as it can boost circulation to the unborn infant and assist with digestion. This position also takes some of the pressure off your lower ribs, which may be causing pain as your growing uterus expands. To maintain proper alignment while sleeping in this position, place a pillow between your knees.

b) Use an Incline or Wedge Pillow

If you’re experiencing acid reflux along with rib pain during pregnancy, consider using an incline or wedge pillow to elevate your upper body slightly while you sleep. This will help prevent stomach acids from flowing back into the esophagus and may also relieve some of the pressure on your ribs caused by pregnancy hormones.

c) Avoid Lying Flat On Your Back

Lying flat on your back can cause more strain on both chest muscles and rib muscles leading to increased soreness around that area making it harder for pregnant women suffering from rib pain to have peaceful sleep at night. Instead, try propping yourself up with pillows behind your head and shoulders so that the upper part of your body is elevated. Doing this not only eases discomfort but also reduces the chances of developing other uncomfortable symptoms like heartburn and indigestion.

d) Try the “SOS” Position

The semi-fetal or SOS (Sleep On Side) position is another option for pregnant women experiencing rib pain. To sleep in this position, bend your knees slightly and place a pillow between them to support your hips and lower back. This will help take some of the pressure off your ribs while still allowing you to maintain proper spinal alignment.

4. Utilizing Supportive Pillows

In addition to adjusting your sleeping position, using supportive pillows can make a significant difference in reducing rib pain during pregnancy. Pregnant women can benefit from using various pillows specifically created to give extra support where it’s most needed.

  • Pregnancy body pillows: These large, U-shaped or C-shaped pillows offer full-body support by cradling your growing belly and providing cushioning for your head, neck, shoulders, back, hips, and legs.
  • Wedge pillows: As mentioned earlier, these small triangular shaped foam cushions can be used under the upper part of your body so as to elevate the chest area, relieving pressure on the ribs.
  • Knee/leg pillows: Placing a pillow between your knees helps keep your spine aligned, thus preventing any additional strain on rib muscles which might worsen existing pain conditions.

Finding the right combination of supportive pillows may require some trial and error, but once found, they’ll definitely help ease discomfort caused due to sore ribs during pregnancy, making it easier for expectant mothers to have a peaceful night’s sleep without having to worry about worsening their condition further.

Changing your sleeping posture can be useful in reducing rib soreness during pregnancy, but other approaches might also be of help. Utilizing supportive pillows is one way to provide extra comfort and support while you sleep.

Key Takeaway:

To ease rib pain during pregnancy and get a good night’s sleep, pregnant women can adjust their sleeping position by sleeping on their left side with a pillow between their knees, using an incline or wedge pillow to elevate the upper body slightly, avoiding lying flat on their back, and trying the semi-fetal or SOS position. Using supportive pillows such as pregnancy body pillows, wedge pillows, and knee/leg pillows can also make a significant difference in reducing rib pain.

4. Utilizing Supportive Pillows

Rib pain during pregnancy can make it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position, but utilizing supportive pillows may provide relief and help you get the rest you need. Body pillows are designed specifically for pregnant women, offering support for your growing belly and helping to alleviate pressure on your rib cage.

A. Types of Supportive Pillows

  • Pregnancy body pillow: These large, U or C-shaped pillows are designed to contour around your body, providing support for both your back and belly while reducing strain on the rib muscles.
  • Wedge pillow: A wedge-shaped cushion that can be placed under your side or back to elevate specific areas of the body, helping ease rib pain by taking pressure off sore ribs.
  • Lumbar roll: This cylindrical pillow is perfect for supporting the lower back when sitting up in bed or lying down with an elevated upper body - a position that may help relieve chest pain caused by acid reflux.

B. How to Use Supportive Pillows Effectively

  1. Sleeping on your left side is generally recommended during pregnancy as it improves blood flow and reduces pressure on major organs such as the liver. Place a pregnancy body pillow between your legs and wrap it around you like a hug; this will keep you supported throughout the night while minimizing discomfort from sore ribs. Learn more about sleep positions during pregnancy here.
  2. If experiencing severe pain in one particular area of the rib cage, try using a wedge pillow beneath that region to lift it slightly off the mattress, taking the pressure off your lower ribs.
  3. For those who prefer sleeping on their back, a lumbar roll can be placed under the small of your back to maintain proper spinal alignment and alleviate discomfort from rib pain.

In addition to using supportive pillows, consider wearing a supportive bra during sleep. This will help reduce strain on your rib muscles by providing extra support for your growing breasts. Remember that as you’re pregnant, it’s essential to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed in order to find relief from uncomfortable symptoms like rib pain.

Utilizing supportive pillows can be a great way to provide relief from rib pain during pregnancy, but if the pain persists it may be time to consider seeking chiropractic care. Chiropractic care is an effective treatment option for those experiencing persistent and severe rib discomfort while pregnant.

Key Takeaway:

Pregnant women experiencing rib pain can find relief by using supportive pillows such as pregnancy body pillows, wedge pillows, and lumbar rolls. Sleeping on the left side with a body pillow between the legs is recommended for optimal blood flow and support. Additionally, wearing a supportive bra during sleep can reduce strain on the rib muscles caused by growing breasts.

5. Seeking Chiropractic Care

If you’re experiencing rib pain during pregnancy, seeking chiropractic care can be a great option to help relieve your discomfort. Chiropractors are well-versed in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal issues that arise during pregnancy.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Pregnant Women

  • Pain relief: A chiropractor can help alleviate the pressure on your ribs and spine caused by your growing baby and uterus. This may provide immediate relief from rib pain as well as other common pregnancy complaints like lower back pain and round ligament pain.
  • Better posture: As your uterus grows, it’s not uncommon for pregnant women to develop poor posture due to the added weight. Regular chiropractic adjustments can help improve posture and reduce strain on the rib cage, muscles, and joints.
  • Hormone balance: Pregnancy hormones like relaxin cause ligaments around the pelvis to loosen up in preparation for childbirth. However, this hormone also affects other areas of the body causing instability that could lead to discomfort or injury. Chiropractors can address these imbalances through targeted adjustments.
  • Sleep improvement: By addressing any misalignments in your spine or ribs that might be causing pain while sleeping, chiropractors may help you find more comfortable positions so you can get better rest at night.

Finding a Qualified Prenatal Chiropractor

To ensure safe treatment during pregnancy, it’s important to find a qualified prenatal chiropractor with experience working with expectant mothers. Here are some tips to help you find the right practitioner:

  1. Seek out referrals from individuals you trust, such as your family and friends or healthcare provider, when searching for a prenatal chiropractor.
  2. Search online directories such as the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association.
  3. Check credentials and ensure they have completed additional training in prenatal chiropractic care.
  4. Schedule a consultation to discuss your specific needs and concerns before committing to treatment.

Incorporating chiropractic care into your pregnancy wellness routine can provide numerous benefits, including relief from rib pain. By working with a qualified prenatal chiropractor, you’ll be taking an important step towards improving your overall comfort during this special time in your life.

Key Takeaway:

Chiropractic care can be a great option for pregnant women experiencing rib pain, as it can provide immediate relief and improve posture. A qualified prenatal chiropractor with experience working with expectant mothers should be sought out to ensure safe treatment during pregnancy.

FAQs in Relation to How to Sleep With Rib Pain During Pregnancy

How to Sleep with Rib Pain During Pregnancy

As a pregnant woman, rib pain can be a common and uncomfortable symptom. The pain can be caused by the growing uterus pushing against the diaphragm and ribs, hormonal changes causing ligament relaxation around the ribcage, or poor posture affecting muscle tension in that region. Here are some tips to help you sleep with rib pain during pregnancy:

  • Adjust your sleeping position: Try lying on your side with a pillow between your knees to alleviate pressure on your ribs.
  • Use supportive pillows: Consider using body pillows or other supportive pillows to help you find a comfortable sleeping position.
  • Seek chiropractic care: A chiropractor can help alleviate rib pain through adjustments and other techniques.

How to Relieve Pain Under Your Ribs When Pregnant

If you’re experiencing pain under your ribs during pregnancy, there are several things you can do to find relief:

  • Practice proper posture: Maintaining good posture throughout the day can help alleviate rib pain.
  • Perform gentle stretches: Try stretching the affected area to relieve tension and discomfort.
  • Apply heat or cold packs: Applying heat or cold to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
  • Consult a healthcare professional: If your pain is severe or persistent, it’s important to seek advice from a healthcare professional or chiropractor.

Why Do My Ribs Hurt at Night While Pregnant?

There are several reasons why you may experience rib pain at night during pregnancy:

  • Hormonal changes: The hormone called relaxin can cause ligament relaxation around the ribcage, leading to discomfort.
  • Increased pressure: As your uterus expands, it can put pressure on your diaphragm and ribs, causing pain.
  • Acid reflux: Acid reflux is a common pregnancy complaint that can cause pain in the chest and ribs.
  • Wearing an unsupportive bra: A bra that doesn’t provide enough support can cause pain in the ribs and chest.

To alleviate rib pain at night, try adjusting your sleeping position and using supportive pillows. If your pain is severe or persistent, consult a healthcare professional or chiropractor for personalized advice.


Experiencing rib pain during pregnancy is a common complaint among expectant mothers. Nevertheless, there are a variety of techniques that can help you manage the discomfort and get some restful sleep. By identifying the causes of rib pain, adjusting your sleeping position, utilizing supportive pillows, and seeking chiropractic care if necessary, you can find relief from sore ribs and chest pain.

If you’re struggling with how to sleep with rib pain during pregnancy, remember that it’s important to prioritize your comfort for both yourself and your growing baby. Experiment with different strategies until you find what works best for your comfort and the wellbeing of your baby.

If you’re still experiencing discomfort despite trying these tips or want additional support in managing your pregnancy symptoms overall, consider reaching out to Grand Health Chiropractic for expert guidance and personalized care. Our team specializes in providing safe and effective chiropractic services tailored specifically to pregnant women’s needs. Contact us today!