Postpartum Rib Pain
Postpartum rib pain can happen for several reasons. Let's take a look at some of the potential causes
Hormonal changes: During pregnancy, hormonal changes can cause the ligaments and joints in the body to relax and become more flexible, preparing the body for childbirth. After delivery, the body undergoes a period of readjustment as hormone levels return to normal, which can cause pain and discomfort in the ribs and other parts of the body.
Strained or pulled muscles: The physical strain of pregnancy, childbirth, and caring for a newborn can cause muscle strain or injury, including in the muscles surrounding the ribs. If you are continually carrying your newborn on one side of your body this could lead to rib pain on either side. Try switching sides periodically or using a baby carrier or a baby wrap.
Pressure from breastfeeding: Breastfeeding can cause discomfort and pressure in the breasts, which can radiate to the chest and ribcage, causing pain and discomfort. Make sure to check around your breasts and ribs to be sure that you don't notice any unusual changes.
Related: Can You Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?
Medical conditions: In some cases, postpartum rib pain may be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as costochondritis (inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone), gallbladder disease, or other conditions that affect the ribcage or surrounding organs.
If you are experiencing right sided postpartum rib pain, this may be from your gallbladder. The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ that is located on the right side of the body, just beneath the liver. Gallbladder disease is more common in women. Gallbladder pain postpartum can be a sudden or a chronic pain. It may be located in the ribs or can also be in the upper middle of the abdomen. In some cases, the pain may radiate to the back or to the shoulder blade.
Postpartum Rib Pain: Summary
Postpartum rib pain can be due to hormonal changes, a strained muscle, pressure from breastfeeding, or a medical condition. If you are experiencing postpartum rib pain, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment. In some cases, rest, pain relief medications, physical therapy, or other treatments may be recommended to relieve discomfort and promote healing.