PAIN IN MY SIDE IS KEEP­ING ME UP

Your Pregnancy - - Q & A Month 6 -

Q:

I’m 29 weeks preg­nant and I’ve been hav­ing this un­com­fort­able pain un­der my left breast just af­ter en­ter­ing the sec­ond trimester. It usu­ally starts when I stand for a long time or when I sleep on my side. It only goes away when I sleep on my back. Now I’m wor­ried be­cause I heard that preg­nant women shouldn’t lie or sleep on their back from the sec­ond trimester and that’s the only po­si­tion I’m com­fort­able with. The pain is so un­com­fort­able and doesn’t al­low me to en­joy ly­ing on the bed. Is there any­thing I should do or take to get rid of it?

A:

This is a very com­mon com­plaint of preg­nancy and in­volves the ribs and mus­cles of your ribcage. In the third trimester of preg­nancy you may ex­pe­ri­ence sore or painful ribs on your left, right or both sides – which can range from mild dis­com­fort to ex­tremely sore. The pain and sore­ness is caused by pres­sure from the top of your grow­ing uterus, as well as baby kick­ing or punch­ing the area. Sore ribs are usu­ally on the side of the baby’s po­si­tion and can be felt just be­low the breasts. Usu­ally this pain is worse when sit­ting and lean­ing for­ward. Once your baby drops (usu­ally be­tween 36 and 38 weeks), things will im­prove. Here are some sug­ges­tions to ease your dis­com­fort un­til your baby moves lower: Make your­self as com­fort­able as pos­si­ble by wear­ing loos­e­fit­ting clothes. Sup­port your­self with cush­ions when ly­ing down. Sit up straight and don’t hunch over – bad pos­ture is a cause of this dis­com­fort. Avoid sit­ting down for too long and get up and take reg­u­lar stretch breaks or short walks. Use heat packs or cold packs and do ex­er­cises that help you stretch out and sup­port your body. Try sit­ting in a cross-legged po­si­tion and place your hands on your ribcage. In­hale as deeply as you can and ex­pand your ribcage, and then breathe out slowly. Do this at least eight times dur­ing the day to re­lieve the heav­i­ness that you feel. Also try the fol­low­ing stretch: Stand fac­ing a wall, with your feet 40cm from the wall and cross your arms in front of your face. Lean your crossed arms on the wall slid­ing them up the wall above your head and stretch­ing your­self up as far as pos­si­ble. Hold the po­si­tion for as long as com­fort­able. This lifts the di­aphragm and ribcage up off the uterus and pro­vides huge tem­po­rary relief. Ly­ing on your back is not as dan­ger­ous as it’s made out to be as you move a lot dur­ing sleep. I sug­gest you place a flat­tish pil­low un­der the right side of your back, so that you are slightly tipped to one side. This will al­le­vi­ate pres­sure on the ma­jor blood ves­sels that run be­hind your uterus.

TINA OTTE

Mid­wife, child­birth ed­u­ca­tor, author and spe­cial­ist edi­tor of Your Preg­nancy mag

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