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Sharp, Severe Upper Right Rib Pain and Sore Ribs During Pregnancy, mainly in Second Trimester -- It May Be Gallstones

Updated on June 26, 2012

Just when I thought things were getting easier...

The first trimester of my pregnancy was pretty rough... not going to lie about it. However, it seemed as if by magic, the second trimester was going wonderful. I regained my energy, had pretty much gotten rid of morning sickness, was in an overall good mood most of the time, but then...

A couple of weeks ago, just as I was approaching the 21st week of my pregnancy, I woke up one morning with the most excruciating in my upper ribs on my right side. I seriously thought it was possible that my husband had beat me and cracked my ribs in my sleep. It hurt that bad. (My husband has never harmed me, and I am extremely confident that he never would, by the way.) I almost went to the hospital, as I had never felt anything like this before, and was kind of worried about it. I had experienced the hip pain as I had expected I would, but this was something that I hadn't heard of.

Before deciding to have my husband pack me out to the car and speed off to the emergency room, I realized it may be a good idea to call my obstetrician first. I am now thankful that I did, seeing as how this is apparently a common ailment among pregnant women, and the emergency room staff probably would have looked at me like I was some sort of idiot that wasn't aware pregnancy would be so uncomfortable. My OB told me this was totally normal, and could result from a few things. Perhaps my daughter was pressing my liver up against my ribs (hitting the hepatic nerve), my uterus could just be expanding out and upward, causing pressure, and apparently during pregnancy a woman's ribs will typically spread 2-3 inches in preparation for child birth (this possibility creeps me out more than the rest, by the way). She did, however explain to me that in order to rule out the possibility of gallstones, I would be scheduled an emergency ultrasound.

The only treatment that I can recommend is Tylenol, if you're comfortable taking pain medication while pregnant, finding a comfortable position to lay/sit in and stick to it, walking it off, and heating pads.

After researching extensively, this usually hits women much later in pregnancy, more toward the third trimester, and can possibly last until the baby drops closer to time for delivery. Mine only lasted about a week, so I'm assuming that my baby girl was just in an awkward position. I cannot imagine having to go through that until almost 37 weeks!


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      Priyanka 5 years ago

      I just completed 20 weeks and pain on the right side ribs started around 18th week..It increases when I walk, and especially in the evening... Good to hear that I am not the only one, but it is a common symptom..

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      Amber 5 years ago

      I have that same pain from the second trimester until I give birth. It is on and off but mostly on. It is really uncomfortable and I can't find a way to get comfortable enough to ease it even with taking Tylenol.

    • kikalina profile image

      kikalina 6 years ago from Europe

      I had bad rib pain in the last few weeks of both pregnancies. The day I thought I could not handle it anymore I went into labour.