Costochondritis Pregnancy

Understand costochondritis pregnancy

Costochondritis is painful inflammation of the connective cartilage between the ribs and the breastbone. This is also referred to as Tietze syndrome. This inflammation can be caused by a wide variety of things that range from viral and bacterial infections to chest trauma or fibromyalgia. Learn more about costochondritis pregnancy below.

It's generally a benign condition that resolves on its own most of the time. The condition is characterized by variable chest pains that can feel like pressure, aches, and even sharp pains.

However, during pregnancy, this condition often occurs because pregnancy causes the rib cage to stretch and this stretching often results in pain and discomfort as well as inflammation of the connective cartilage between the ribs and the breastbone.

Causes & treatment

Costochondritis can develop for a variety of different reasons that range from a previous injury to a muscle strain. Although medical intervention isn't always necessary, this disorder can be treated a variety of different ways that range from injections to medication and therapy. This is a relatively short-term condition that has been known to resolve on its own.

Episodes of discomfort can last anywhere from days to a few weeks or more. Anti-inflammatory injections are often given as treatment in addition to analgesics for pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroids. Some doctors also prescribe stretching, physical therapy, and exercise.

However, pregnancy often presents a unique problem when it comes to this disorder and there are often variations in the suggested treatments.

Pregnancy complications & costochondritis

Costochondritis Pregnancy: During pregnancy, it is not uncommon for a woman to begin to experience discomfort during the second trimester, in the rib cage region. As the body begins to expand to adjust to the growth of the baby within a woman's stomach, pain, soreness, and swelling will often start to develop in the rib cage area.

Certain parts of a woman's body begin to stretch to accommodate her changing shape. Rib dysfunction is often found on the side or back area of the rib cage and the pain is felt in the muscles between the ribs or in the joints where the ribs attach.

Costochondritis Pregnancy: This pain can be caused by tightness, tiredness, and stress of the intercostals fibers. This stress is due to inflammation. This pain can be aching, sharp and sore to the touch with certain movements and may worsen with deep breathing.

Treatment during pregnancy

Costochondritis Pregnancy: Pregnancy can create a unique dilemma when it comes to treating costochondritis. Many drugs and therapies may not be ideal for a pregnant woman to partake in. As a result, there are other safe alternatives that have been used to ease the pain of Tietze syndrome in pregnant women.

One such solution is the use of a pregnancy pillow. This is a pillow designed specifically to lift and support the stomach while a woman lays on her side. This support takes the stress off of the rib cage and helps to alleviate pain and discomfort. This is a safe non-medical approach to costochondritis in pregnancy.

A pregnancy belly support brace is another supportive tool that a woman can use while standing. This belt helps to evenly distribute the weight from the stomach region while standing, thus taking away strain. This helps with posture which decreases pressure on your rib cage.

There are even exercises that help reduce pain and soreness in the rib cage region. The Pelvic Exercises program by Michelle Kenway teaches pelvic floor and core muscle strengthening exercises. These types of exercise help by strengthening the core and improving the body's alignment of the spine and pelvis which in turn reduces strain on the ribcage and the surrounding muscles.

Costochondritis can cause painful inflammation and soreness between the connective cartilage of the rib cage and the breastbone. This type of pain can be particularly difficult during pregnancy because many of the accepted treatments, medications, and injections may not be appropriate during pregnancy.

This creates a need for safe alternative treatments to help provide relief during pregnancy. Although, costochondritis can occur for a variety of different reasons, it most likely occurs during pregnancy because the rib cage is forced to stretch to accommodate a growing stomach. This is perhaps why many of the alternative solutions involve realigning the body and creating more support so that there is less stress on the rib cage.

Last Reviewed:
July 02, 2017
Last Updated:
October 17, 2017
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