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Sore Ribs, Rib Pain, and Other Early Pregnancy Concerns

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Rib pain, insomnia, tender breasts, morning sickness, increased urination, light spotting and constipation may all be symptoms of early pregnancy.

Rib pain, insomnia, tender breasts, morning sickness, increased urination, light spotting and constipation may all be symptoms of early pregnancy.

First Off, Congratulations!

Hello and congratulations! You are on your way to becoming a mum. Whether this is your first time or you're a pro by now, it can still be scary to experience something that is alien to your body.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was terrified at all the symptoms I was experiencing because I had no idea what was normal and what wasn't in early pregnancy. I searched tons of websites and read countless books, yet I couldn't get a straight answer from anything. After a miscarriage, I decided to write this article to help others in easing their confusion or worries during pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a very beautiful and blessed thing to go through. While I'm one of many who haven't been fortunate enough to have an easy ride, I'm still hoping that my current pregnancy will turn things around. If you're in the same boat, check this article out for an explanation of many early pregnancy symptoms. And good luck. Also, again, congrats!

Rib Pain During Early Pregnancy

The number one thing I wish I'd known about the first time I was pregnant has to be rib pain. If you're experiencing soreness or pain in your ribs, you're definitely not alone. Many people have complained about this very common early pregnancy symptom. It could be any one of these reasons:

  • Constipation or trapped wind. If the discomfort is in the lower margin of your ribs, it could just be constipation or trapped wind. However, if it's really bothering you, make sure to mention it to your sonographer at your next scan.
  • Costochondritis. The pain or discomfort could be costochondritis, which is the flaring up of cartilage in between the ribs. I experienced this symptom and it stopped me from sleeping because it was so painful.
  • Intestines moving. Your intestines could be moving up to make room for your growing uterus, but this would be very unlikely if you are only a few days in or a week. I only experienced my rib pain in the fifth week of pregnancy, while others feel it much later.
  • The baby. The baby could be pushing up against them. However, this is only if you are in your third or late second trimester.

So many people have been asking me about rib pain. I can tell you now that it is most likely something that you will notice. I felt like I was dealing with cracked lower ribs on both sides. The pain moved from one side to the other during times when I wanted to sleep. This led to insomnia, another factor that I will be discussing in this article.


Cramping is another common occurrence during early pregnancy. Bottom line: this is uncomfortable and maybe even painful, but most likely normal.

First of all, the uterus can contract quite often and regularly. This occurs by just simply moving around. Or, performing an exercise can trigger uterine cramping in early pregnancy. Even having an orgasm can cause these cramps to occur. Discomfort in the abdominal area is extremely common during early pregnancy. You may first experience pain around the time of your first missed period. It consists of a pain lower down in the abdomen and feels a bit like dull period pains. This is nothing to worry about and is very normal in early pregnancy.

Later in Your Pregnancy

However, this doesn't just affect women early on during pregnancy. It also may be common for women during the third or fourth month of pregnancy to frequently experience a sharp stabbing pain in their groin or to one side. This may come on at sudden intervals. If you suddenly get up or stretch, it might flare up. This pain could also be sporadic—appearing and then reappearing days later. This happened to me, and I was so terrified that I consulted my doctor who told me it was perfectly normal. She said it was just due to the muscles around my uterus in my pelvis stretching and thickening as they were supporting my little one.

Constipation, bloating, and wind can also cause aches, pains, and abdominal discomfort.


Irregular Sleeping Habits: Insomnia or Extreme Tiredness

As mentioned earlier, insomnia is a common occurrence during early pregnancy.

Ahh, the dreaded insomnia. I suffered from this even before my pregnancy occurred, but it became worse when I started to enter my third week of pregnancy. I remember when I sat up chatting on pregnacy forums into the wee hours of the night, all the way until my partner had to wake up for work the next morning. I never got tired or wanted to sleep, and this became so frequent that once I hit five weeks, I wanted to sleep all the time—I felt the complete opposite within a matter of days. I went from constantly being wide-awake to being awoken all disoriented by my partner who had to wake me to remind me to eat.

These feelings of fatigue are actually very normal. Every pregnant woman feels tired as energy is diverted to her baby. My body just happened to react weirdly for a few weeks by dramatically doing the opposite. Now, I take naps during the day to give my body the sleep it needs without ruining my sleep patterns.

Tender Breasts

Tender breasts. The one symptom men seem to love. It may almost seem like a joke to men that when we go through pregnancy we can sometimes go up a whole cup size or two. If your breasts are larger or more tender during pregnancy, this is normal. Breasts are where we harvest the milk for our babies to drink when they are born, after all. So, don't panic if suddenly your partner stares at you a bit more if you're in vest top or even does the opposite and covers you up in full thermals and baggy, huge jumpers. He is just a man.


Morning Sickness

Morning sickness. We all hate it and it happens to all of us. This is just a sign to tell us, "Hey! Start preparing, you're gonna be a mum." Whether it's light sickness when you wake up or heavy constant sickness throughout the entire day, it's unfortunately perfectly normal. I was consistently sick for the first four weeks of my pregnancy, and it was horrible. I couldn't eat or keep my head out of the toilet. I felt like I was going to die. Here are a few tips from friends and family that I will share with you now:

  1. Eat frequent but small portions throughout the day.
  2. Try sipping ginger tea. Anything with ginger works brilliantly.
  3. Eat rich tea biscuits or digestives (have one before you go to bed).
  4. Drink plenty of water if you can't keep your food down.
  5. Go straight to your doctor if you find that you can't keep any food or water down!

Increased Urination

An increased urge to urinate usually occurs between six to eight weeks of your pregnancy. The excess production of the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone during pregnancy will cause more frequent urination. It could start very early on right from the start, but the majority of women start when their baby is much bigger and can press on their bladders. This can sometimes make urination hard to control. Don't be alarmed if you wet the bed or your pants—it's actually normal during pregnancy!

Light Spotting

If you have conceived, spotting can happen when implantation occurs before your menstrual period would then begin. This is normal. Pregnancy bleeding from implantation is pinkish or brownish and certainly not as heavy as a regular period.

A normal menstrual flow usually starts off light, then becomes heavy, and then tapers off again before ending. So if you experience this sort of bleeding (heavy period-like) you'll definitely need to contact your midwife or doctor immediately—it could be a miscarriage.



Constipation is often caused by the pressure of a growing bump on your rectum, as well as hormones which are said to slow down the movement of food through your digestive system.

During the first trimester of pregnancy, there is an increase in the progesterone hormone, which slows down the movement of food through the digestive tract.

Sometimes, constipation can also trigger heartburn.

Other Symptoms That Can Occur During Early Pregnancy

Additionally, there is nothing to worry about with these symptoms:

  • An increase in body temperature.
  • An increased sensitivity to tastes and odors.
  • Cravings, whether it be for the most random of things or not. It's natural and all us mums-to-be go through it.
  • Breast differences aside from tenderness. For example, a pregnant woman’s nipples will commonly turn a darker shade.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Amanda Nealy on August 22, 2020:

I am 6 weeks and the upper left rib pain is crazy!!!! Its like a cramping muscle ache. I was beginning to panic and this post and all the comments made me feel a lot better! Thank you!

Divinity Turner on July 24, 2020:

I have rib pain in my lower rib. I have not taken a pregnancy test yet I’m trying to wait up to like 3 weeks to take one. But it been about a week and I’m already getting rib pains should I get a hold of a doctor?

Ann wanjiru on June 13, 2020:

I got my periods on 6may 2020 on my feritle day lhad unprotected sex but on 26 'th may lgot a blood spot that stayed for 3days it ended,Iexpect my period on 3 June but they have nt come could be pregnate.

Chelsea on September 13, 2019:

Hi I am looking for help, I had spotting around the time of my period just for a few hours, since then I have been really bloated, sharp pains in my hips, light period cramps and lower back pain, breasts are tender to touch and sometimes get itchy. I had 2 blood tests done to check for the hcg hormone and both were negative, I also had multiple urine pregnancy tests and all negative but for some reason I still feel pregnant. I am 2 weeks past what was supposed to be my period and still feeling all the symptoms, has anyone else experienced anything similar?

Melanie on June 02, 2019:

Thank you so much for this article. I was confused about the insomnia- since my last 2 pregnancies had me knocked out right away. This was very helpful!

Jjb on December 02, 2018:

I’m having a lot of rib pain and stomach cramps but I did not know when my ovulation day was could I be pregnant???

Anonymous on November 08, 2018:

This is so helpful! Really put my mind at ease. I'm very early in my (first) pregnancy, so everything is totally new! This nausea can do one. And please baby, give me my energy back!

kerry on September 25, 2018:

heklo im 9 weeks pregnant having rib pains sn little niggling pains all round my belly i have one daughter already just forgot how it feels in beginning is this all normal im tired all the time can hardly sleep at times . i have my first midwife appointment week today ive spoke to them they said all normal but worry as bewn trying for over a year and half just got let this sink in when i have scan just worry about any pains i get. very good article tho

Robin on August 29, 2018:

Hey. I do not know if I'm pregnant or not. I'm experiencing nausea but not actually vomiting. I have rib pains constantly but nothing I can't handle. I have constant head aches and dizziness. My eyes blur sometimes. My whole body aches like my upper arm and upper legs...I have cramps where my ovaries are and I have like a burning/tingeling sensation in my stomach. I have a thick milky white discharge once. I never get moody or frastreted but now I get irritated so quickly and can't controle my moods. When I try to sleep it's hopeless... Can someone help??

Robin on August 29, 2018:

Hey. I do not know if I'm pregnant or not. I'm experiencing nausea but not actually vomiting. I have rib pains constantly but nothing I can't handle. I have constant head aches and dizziness. My eyes blur sometimes. My whole body aches like my upper arm and upper legs...I have cramps where my ovaries are and I have like a burning/tingeling sensation in my stomach. Kan anybody help me??

Charlotte on July 17, 2018:

This was so helpful,ive been worried for days about upper rib pain on my left side,i am 6 weeks but couldnt find anything about it on google untill i came across this page...i will relax a little now :)

Kayla on May 17, 2018:

I’ve been having a lot of pregnancy symptoms and I conceived about 3 weeks ago and my right rib and middle right side of my back have very dull pain. Could this be linked to pregnancy or just a random feeling ?

Cass on April 10, 2018:

I don’t know if I’m preganant my boobs do not feel sore nor tender but I’m not sure if my nipples are darker but I have rib cage pain, discharging more, and a bit of cramps.. daily I get nauseated but not every morning but throughout the day and I have some cravings and also I have been not having the urge to eat as much

leahmommy on April 04, 2018:

@Keira- I'm not a doctor but I was only 4 days late when my doctor told me to take a first response pregnancy test. Turns out I'm pregnant (for the first time). I'm only a few weeks and have no symptoms. It may be worth a shot to take a test. wishing you the best

Keira on April 03, 2018:

I don’t know if I’m pregnant or not. My fiancé and I have been trying for over a year and a half with no luck. Well, I missed my period and I’m only 5 days late, but that isn’t normal for me. I have no symptoms of pregnancy, or even PMS.

My ribs cage is uncomfortable. I have a milky watery white discharge and lots of it. Do you think it’s my period arriving, or could I be pregnant? My boobs don’t really hurt, just tender.

Ling on March 09, 2018:

Idk if I’m pregnant my nipples hurt just my nipples and I can’t sleep at all and my body feels tinder all the time and legs cramps and feeling dizzy and tired in the afternoons and I can’t use the bathroom like go number 2 it’s hard and my back under my left rib cage I feel cramping ..

Kayla on March 05, 2018:

I don't know if I'm pregnant or not, but I've been having a lot of symptoms like cramping, heart burn that goes from my breast bone to the middle of my throat, dizziness, I've been feeling sick and I stay up most of all night and it occurs around 2 am or 3am but sometimes different times, yesterday I kinda started to bleed and it not alot just a little at a time, I feel my boobs getting bigger and I'm gaining weight I've never been more then 100 been this way for years and I'm 110 now, and sometimes I feel really sick but I haven't really throw up. I had sex with my boyfriend on the 20 or the 21 and most days till the other day when I wasn't bleeding and I have to pee all the time. So I'm on here trying to get help and see what people think if I'm pregnant or not.

Danielle on February 12, 2018:

I don’t know if I’m pregnant or not but I’ve had mild rib pain that just sprung on me one day, it’s accompanied by lower belly pain. I don’t know what it could be, could I be pregnant?

AngelAura on February 04, 2018:

Jackie, how did those chemicals treat your developing fetus? Ugh. I'm going to start blogging how to have a healthy pregnancy and newborn... article lady talks about miserable pregnancy with miscarriage!! I want to point out how her bad energy is part blame.. staring at her phone/computer putting radiation into her fetus all night with "insomnia" lowered her vibration! (Just one thing, I imagine she also takes poisonous ex drugs, eats processed foods, and doesn't exercise. So anyway, with low vibrating/bad energy = preggo having super difficult/miserable pregnancy with high miscarriage rates. Much more useful blog by meee, will be coming soon on such topics. Create a miracle the way Nature intended.. and do NOT take stimulant laxatives for fucks sake, pregnant or not! Change your diets, and you will be regular. I go everyday like clockwork, and I'm on supplements that slow down digestion. Good luck everyone, start raising your vibrations

Jade on August 29, 2017:

Thankyou so much for this article. I'm on my 3rd pregnancy I have a 3 year old and I had a miscarriage back in Feb. I'm not 6-7 weeks pregnant and have been having horrible pains in my ribs! I couldn't remember having this when I had a miscarriage. It's so so scary every little twinge you think something's going wrong. Every time you wipe after a wee you check to makesure your not bleeding. Your mind does overdrive! This article relieved me so much! So thankyou!! Xxxxx

Jackie on August 25, 2017:

I'm 11 weeks and getting crazy rib pain and a little cramping. It's mostly when I do too much. Like today when I decided to deep clean the entire house. (I smelled something and didn't know what it was)

Pam on August 11, 2017:

Thanks so much very helpful❤

Kayla Caballero on August 02, 2017:

Yes this helped me! I'm in my early 2nd trimester and recently felt pain in my right side where my ribs where and it kinds scared me. But it doesn't feel as bad as it did so maybe it is like what you said it was.

chellybelly on July 25, 2017:

this is amazing! thank you :) i was worried about this weird pain on my left side, under my ribs it feels like muscle straight but i think its everything moving, im 5 weeks 3 days today kept thinking Ectopic but all my blood tests had about 5 or 6 done due to anxiety were great, rising normally! hoping for a happy healthy pregnancy

Melanie on July 02, 2017:

Omg the rib pain. I have a 10 and 11 year old and never had this until 3rd trimester. Only 8 weeks and I'm really in pain today with it.

Jovanna on May 23, 2017:

I'm on my 6th week and it's My first baby. But i haven't had no morning sickness or I haven't thrown up yet. It that a normal thing. ?

MS P on May 05, 2017:

Thank you for the info! 3rd pregnancy ONLY 3 weeks and 2 days and having rib pain!

Nthabiseng on March 20, 2017:

Hi had a baby on March, but passed away,now I have a pain on the right side under the ribs,I feel it when I move,laugh or sneeze and increased of eating, help could I be pregnant again.

jesenia on February 14, 2017:

im five weeks pregnant and feel fat af

Rysheda on February 08, 2017:

Thank you I really needed that this rib pain is a killer!!! This is my first pregnancy so my questions are at an all time high

Sarah on April 11, 2016:

I'm 5 weeks pregnant. Woke up with the rib pain. I was so worried.

Reading this has really helped.

Thank you

Shalini on April 01, 2016:

I think I maybe experiencing implantation bleeding- more like spotting at the moment as you have described in your article. I am due for my period a week from now. Have had a very early miscarriage last year and hoping this time around I have a successful pregnancy. Is it normal to be having rib pains and slight back pains already so early?

Nicki on October 08, 2015:

omg not sure if I'm pregnant or not yet I will know soon though. I have been cramping all day for the most part,only stops every now and then but I'm having a nagging sharp pain under my left rib and have been thing something is wrong. I also have a clear stringy discharge and yesterday a thick milky discharge neither have an order or itch and I have constant heart burn and gas and if I stand up to quickly I get dizzy. I have had other children but don't remember rib pain this early. Any opinions??

Erica on July 07, 2015:

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! I was so confused by waking up in the middle of the night feeling like I'd been punched in the ribs! This is a symptom I haven't heard about. I still don't know for sure if I'm expecting, but will in a day or two.

marie on June 08, 2015:

i am epileptic and 14 weeks and 5 days ive already lost a couple babies and i was freaking out about the rib pain it hurt so bad i couldn't take a breath ty so much

Danielle on June 06, 2015:

This was so helpful!! I suffer from anxiety and I am 5 weeks pregnant. I am getting sharp stabbing pains under my left rib & was convinced there was something wrong till I read this.

Can I just ask about spotting though, when is this most likley to occur? If it happens to me I am bound to think it's miscarriage.

Thanks mums & fellow mums-to-be. on May 12, 2015:

I'm 3weeks n I have tiny pains is it normal that early

Caroline on March 31, 2015:

Just found out I'm about 4 weeks pregnant and worrying myself sick about tummy and back pain,I had a miscarrige 4 months ago and needed a blood transfusion! Never had any aches or pains in first two pregnancies and this time I'm getting myself in a state thinking I'm going to miss carry again,but found this article useful and trying to calm myself down .

Lou on March 26, 2015:

I am 11weeks and I just started experiencing rib pain too, I googled it saw this Thanks xxx

natols on March 18, 2015:

Woow! This is my 4th baby and yet there is always something different! Rib pain i hav experienced with the last three babies but in the later stages of pregnancy! I am only at max 5 or 6 weeks and yesterday started experincing rib pain similar to what i got in the later stages! So here i am googling my way thru preggy pages! Thanks mums :)

rhonda on February 21, 2015:

Glade im nt the only woman experiencing this rib so thankful to know its normal.

tito on February 16, 2015:

So useful and encouraging .

Joanna on February 03, 2015:

Yes, so I am not the only one experiencing this out of the blue rib pain I was pretty worried about that. It kept me up throughout the night. I just thought it was in my head! This article is pretty cool!

Donna :) on January 12, 2015:

I'm experiencing major cramps and rib pain

At the min and your article just settled my head. Great job thanyou xx

becky h on December 24, 2014:

Glad I have seen this page. Been worried about this rib pain. Will mention it at the hospital next week.

adi on November 01, 2014:

Im maried last dec. I missed my period 2day,my periods is mostly irregular. My first day of last period was September 20. I took d preg test today it was negative. But im getting some sharp stretch pain near my belly button and sharp pain in lower chest ribs im nt comfortable with my stomach when i bend. And some pain in leftside right side abdomen. But all d pain doesn't stick all d day long. It just comes and stay for few minutes nd it goes. I feel very tired from the last week. Im nt like this before. Will i b pregnant.

eiyc on August 25, 2014:

Thanks it really help .

tamara on April 14, 2014:

i am 11 weeks today and all i feel so far is side pains should i be worried

babyhumphrey on November 21, 2013:

5 weeks and 5 days! Noticing more and more symptoms coming along every day. Tonight I had pain start near the right side of my belly button then shortly after from that point all the way down. The a few hours later my ribs started hurting, OUCH! Definitely nothing nice while trying to sleep, but through the paid it makes me smile knowing I have a baby growing inside of me (:

savannah on November 11, 2013:

Thank you so much. Im 5 weeks and feeling rib pain, last week was abdominal. I was reading everything i could about these symptoms, yours has been the most helpful by far.

Holly on July 09, 2013:

I am almost 100% positive I am suffering from COSTOCHONDRITIS. Is there anything that can be done? I am 4 1/2 months along. I had similar pain postpartum when my first child was born, but nothing until now.

zvtcdeeddy on May 12, 2013:

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and adore learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is extremely helpful for me.

Estell on August 23, 2012:

Hope this one goes well for you I also had two and hope I don't have a third

Sherrie on July 05, 2012:

I have had 2 previous miscarriages n panick about everythin I'm now 8 weeks n all I can think about is a third miscarriage hopefully this time round is lucky

nelson7 on June 22, 2012:

This was so helpful! I'm about five weeks and haven't told my partner yet because I was starting to get worried with the rib pain and cramping, thank you so much!

tee on March 24, 2012:

I'm 5 weeks and 1 day and I'm. Having pretty bad rib pain and I thought something was wrong until I read this thank you for calming my nerves

liz on May 16, 2011:

Oh thank god I've been so worried that's there's sumin wrong with me tbh! Then took a atest found out I was pregnant and looked at thesee signs nd nw I feel better

dizzy1987 on April 01, 2011:

Iv just found out im pregnant...i think im only about 4 weeks so still early days but am getting the rib pain a lot and was sooo worried until i read this, I have also put on a lot of weight lol x

Chris on October 03, 2010:

Thank you! Very helpful info, especially the part about the rib pain (which is what I was googling)

Draven (author) on September 07, 2010:

I hope this helps some of you mum-to-be's out there. Let me know. Draven.xx