Rib pain/ sleep positions

I have been having this intense, stabbing pain in my upper left rib which after a while also goes through to the same spot in my back. It gets bad when I sit for long periods and now hurts when I lay on either side while trying to sleep! It's unbearable sometimes! OB said this is due to the twins taking up so much space and everything else being pushed up and the ribs expanding to make room. He said the ribs actually separate from the cartlidge and in some cases if there is a lot of coughing, can become fractured! Has anyone else had this? How are you coping? Tylenol does nothing! I need better ideas for sleep positions since I can't lay on my stomach and now both sides cause intense rib pain. I try lying on my back with tons of pillows under my head and knees but that has started causing lower back (sciatic) pain!! UGH!!! Help!!!! I'm dreading beadtime tonight and already am in increasing pain!!!

-Joy
23w1d
b/g twins!!

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15 replies. Join the discussion

Joy,

I'm so sorry you are so much pain. I also was in a tremendouse amount of pain with the twins. I use to hate night time/bedtime.
I got a body pillow from Relax the Back that went around my whole entire body but nothing seemed to really help. I wish I had more advice but just really wanted to say hang in there!!!!!!!
I know carrying multiples is difficult but I promise it will be worth it.

Grace
Jonah/Elliana
9 months

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Thanks Grace! I do appreciate your sympathy! Eeeeek ....here comes bedtime.... !!!

-Joy

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Oh Joy...I'm having sympathy pain for you (& a bit nervous of what's ahead for me)! These are just suggestions (I'm a physical therapist & I'm just trying to help problem-solve with you)...could you stretch a bit before bed (add some deep breathing in too while you stretch because that's one way to stretch the rib cage)? Or sleep in a recliner (you might still need pillows under your head/low back)? I can see why lying on your back with pillows under your head/knees wouldn't work because your hips still take the bulk of the weight. Maybe a heating pad if your OB's ok with it?

If I think of anything else, I'll let you know...hope your nights get better.

Lisa J in MD
13w2d
twins

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Oy, I feel for you! And like Lisa, a bit nervous for what's in store for me too! What about maternity massage? Any chance that might help?

I hope you feel better soon!
Colleen
11w1d
twins

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I am having the same stabbing pains. I'm about 34 wks with twins (I measured 5 lbs + now, the other 4 lb. 12 oz). It feels like severe heartburn - just not in the heart area! Sometimes the pain makes me double over and just want to cry.

The explanation about the ribcage makes sense. Baby B is over in that area.

I wonder why my doctors didn't have that kind of explanation for me. :(

Lying on my right side with lots of pillows (the pain is on the left ribs) helps me. So does taking a Benadryl!

But in the most literal way, I feel your pain and I hope yours will readjust and subside soon. Meantime, I appreciate having your description but sorry you're going through it too.

Janie

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Thanks so much for your suggestions! I couldn't understand why my lower back was still in so much pain with all the pillows while lying on my back but now it makes sense. We don't have a recliner but will obviously have to invest in one!! Thanks again!!
-Joy
23w2d
b/g twins

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Yes! It does kind of feel like a burning or heartburn! You nailed it!! For some reason, no matter which side I'm on or how many pillows I'm using it gets increasingly worse. If I find a solution, I'll definitely share!!!
-Joy
23w2d
b/g twins

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Joy, if you don't have a recliner, you could just try a "reclined" position either in bed or armchair/sofa (where instead of sitting upright with your legs out in front, you'd be leaning back slightly). While this is on my to-do list, I have yet to get my hands on a pg yoga dvd. (I've had sciatic pain pre-pg & I've been feeling "clicking" around my tailbone area so I'm trying to prepare for what's coming.) But maybe some of the upper body stretches might help a bit...of course, you're not going to be able to move the babies around but a massage might not be a bad idea either.

HTH,
Lisa J in MD

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I'm feeling a littel dense here. What exactly do you mean by reclining? If I'm on my back (which is the least painful) I have pillows under my knees and propped behind my back which hasn't been great for very long. So, if my legs aren't out in front of me on the bed where would they be? And do you mean using more pillows behind my back? I really appreciate your advice and want to try it I'm just not grasping too mch these days!!! Thanks, Lisa!!!!

-Joy

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I had a friend who fractured a rib due to an illness and coughing in the last month of her pregnancy with a singleton. She did sleep in a recliner a lot, which seemed to help. Sorry you don't have one. Maybe a chair or sofa with an ottoman and some support in the lower back and neck (for the drooping head you get when you sleep sitting up). I am so sorry you are in pain. Also, someone mentioned pregnancy yoga DVDs. My friend (same one with the fractured rib) has let me borrow a great one that I love but don't get to do as often as I would like. It is called Yoga for Pregnancy by Theresa Jamieson. It is a book and DVD package. The DVD is about 100 minutes of yoga and meditation work, focusing a lot on the back and hips as well as legs. I find it very relaxing and helpful for the aches and pains of pregnancy. I have also tried a yoga pilates DVD, but found it much more strenuous and caused aches rather than relieving them. Hope this helps and I hope you sleep well tonight!!!

--Megan, 25w2d

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Joy - I have a tendency to not make sense in writing. (Wish I could draw it for you.) So, you're legs would still be out in front of you...it's more the incline of your back (or spine) that I was referring to. Picture how you would look if you WERE in a recliner...your back wouldn't be as upright as if you were in a seated position, right?

So, the hard part about doing this in bed is that you have no choice but to have your legs up at the same height as your hips. That can stretch the nerves & can flare up any sciatica. If you were in an armchair/recliner, you could use an ottoman which would have your feet in a position that they were supported but not ALL the way up.

I agree with Megan's suggestions (esp. what her friend with the rib fracture did)...you might need one of those neck support pillows for when your head droops (you know, the kind they sell to use when you're flying).

Hope I didn't confuse you more. I brought up the recliner in the first place thinking you might have one on your registry or are planning to get one anyway for the nursery.

Lisa J in MD

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Thanks so much you guys! I really appreciate the input! And you are making sense, Lisa! I will try more stretching and a preg yoga dvd. Today's been a little better!!

-Joy

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Hi Joy,

I'm sorry you're feeling so uncomfortable sleeping. I'm finding it hard too, although my symptoms are less severe than yours. Laying on the left, I feel pain in my left rib, near the sternum. So I've resorted to laying on my right side. However that starts to hurt my shoulders after a while. I found if lay on the side with a regular pillow behind my back, I can lean into the pillow and be at a 45-degree angle. That seems to be the most comfortable (easier to breathe). Maybe you could try that?

The recliner idea might be a good idea since it sounds like the LOs are high up. My sis-in-law had to use a recliner in her last weeks of pregnancy. She couldn't sleep any other way.

Philipa
23weeks, b/g twins

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I had the same thing...to the point of crying sometimes.
It's your ribs separating from the cartiledge to allow for more room. I had it with my first just a bit but with twins it was unbearable.
It lasted about 2 months and when it seemed to get worse I brought it up at my bible study and my girlfriends prayed for me and it went away the next day.
I don't think I could have survived another minute and I have a high tolerance for pain.
All I can do is send lots of sympathy because it is awful and no position seems to alleviate it!
hugs
Ann

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I had the same thing...to the point of crying sometimes.
It's your ribs separating from the cartiledge to allow for more room. I had it with my first just a bit but with twins it was unbearable.
It lasted about 2 months and when it seemed to get worse I brought it up at my bible study and my girlfriends prayed for me and it went away the next day.
I don't think I could have survived another minute and I have a high tolerance for pain.
All I can do is send lots of sympathy because it is awful and no position seems to alleviate it!
hugs
Ann

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