Sharp Pain Under Left Breast Comes and Goes During Pregnancy Explained
There are so many uncomfortable symptoms that women feel during pregnancy. One of them is that sharp pain under left breast comes and goes. This is quite common. Different things may be responsible for this sharp pain depending on what trimester of pregnancy you are in. Most of the time, sharp pain under the left breast, while you are pregnant, is harmless. It may just be due to the growth of your fetus (baby) encroaching into your rib space due to the anatomy (position) of your uterus (womb). The movements of your baby may also cause pain and discomfort. It may just be your active baby is punching and kicking the area. That is why the pain comes and goes.
In some cases, pain under your left breast could be a result of medical complications. This is less common. However, you should know warning signs that can separate a harmless pain from a serious one under your left breast if you are pregnant. This is so that you will know when you need to visit your doctor. We will discuss all that in this article. We will also talk about the different causes of rib pain during pregnancy, and how you can find relief. Simple things like changing your position may be all you need to do.
Why Sharp Pain under Left Breast Comes and Goes During Pregnancy
1. Pressure from your growing baby
This usually happens late into your second trimester and in your third trimester. Because your baby is growing, your womb (which houses the baby) begins to expand upwards so that it can accommodate the growing baby.
As your baby gets bigger, they may encroach into your rib area and press against your ribs. This can cause pain. The weight of your baby can also strain your chest muscles (under your breast). This will lead to muscle ache and the feeling of pressure on your ribs.
If pressure from your growing baby is the cause, the pain will not be severe. It would usually range from slight to moderate. In case you experience severe pain, you should visit your doctor.
2. Your baby’s position
This also happens usually around the late second trimester. The position of the fetus would change. Your baby would turn upside down. In the new position, your baby’s head would be facing down while the feet would point toward your ribs.
You can imagine what could happen when your baby kicks. It can cause your ribs under your breast to ache and/or pain. Even when the fetus is not moving, it can put some pressure on your ribs because of its position.
While you are pregnant, your body would regularly produce the hormone relaxin. The work of this hormone is to relax your ligaments and muscles in preparation for childbirth. This hormone can, however, relax some other muscles that have nothing to do with childbirth.
One of those muscles that may be relaxed is the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When this happens, it causes heartburn and you may feel pain under your breast. This can start from your first trimester and continue all through the period of pregnancy.
All three causes we have mentioned so far are harmless. There is no cause for alarm if these are the reasons for the pain under your breast. Meanwhile, the pain is usually just mild or moderate. Any form of severe pain requires medical attention.
Can The Pain Be Due To Medical Complications?
Pain under the left breast should be a call for serious concern and medical attention if it is caused by any of the following:
Experts agree that pregnant women are at more risk of having gallstones than other people. More than 1 out of every 10 pregnant women will likely develop gallstones. This may occur in any of the three trimesters
Why is this so? It is so because pregnancy causes a spike in estrogen levels. This, coupled with the difficulty in emptying your gallbladder, may cause the development of gallstones, which may be symptomatic or asymptomatic.
If the gallstones cause symptoms, you may feel pain under your right breast. In rare cases, the pain may radiate to the left. Some women eventually would need surgery after their pregnancy to get rid of the gallstones.
Urinary-Tract Infection (UTI)
Another high risk that pregnant women have is for UTI. This risk increases significantly in the last trimester of pregnancy.
This is because pregnancy can alter the bacteria composition of the urinary tract. More so, pressure from the fetus can make it hard for pregnant women to empty their bladder. These two factors are responsible for increased UTI risk.
If UTI is not properly treated, it could cause kidney pain. This pain always mimics rib pain. Doctors would call this “referred pain”. If you notice any of the accompanying symptoms of UTI, you should immediately call the attention of your physician.
Those symptoms are as follows:
- Burning sensation while urination
- You urinate more often than normal
- There is poor flow while urinating
- Chills or fever
- Pain near your kidneys or in your bladder
Preeclampsia is a medical complication that sometimes happens during pregnancy. HELLP syndrome, a variation of preeclampsia, could also occur. Both of these conditions can cause pain. However, this pain is usually felt under the right breast or on the shoulders.
These are dangerous complications and could be life-threatening for both mother and child. Accompanying symptoms include:
- Increased blood pressure
- Presence of protein in your urine
- General body malaise
- Severe recurrent heartburn and nausea
- Difficulty with urination
- Sudden gain of weight
- Visual problems
These conditions require thorough medical attention. They should not be overlooked.
How to Relieve Pain under Your Left Breast
The treatment and cure usually depend on the cause. But for pain that is not associated with any medical complication, the following tips may give you relief:
- Regular but gentle exercise during pregnancy
- Make use of a heat-pad
- Wear clothes that are not tightly fitted
- Avoid hunching and any other bad posture especially while sitting down
Sharp pain under left breast comes and goes during pregnancy, and it is normal. However, watch out for symptoms of complications and don’t overlook them. If you notice any sign of complication, call the attention of your doctor immediately.