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Mrs. E Brush
Mrs. E Brush, Nurse
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 675
Experience:  RN, CNA II, BLS-CPR certified, Ordination current, Author of "In Exchange for Grace"
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I think I cracked a rib from coughing

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I am 36 weeks pregnant and think I cracked a rib while coughing a few days ago. My ribs on one side hurt very badly. They seem a little swollen and I can hear a shift or pop sound when I expand them all the way. I can move around a little better after about 4 days but it is still very uncomfortable when I take deep breath or cough as well as sleep. I have not called my Dr. about it and am unsure if I should or wait until my next appointment. Plus what happens if I am right and go into labor, will it cause problems while pushing or can it do any damage?

This can be a herniation or a cracked rib as you describe. In either case we would want to manage your pain before you go into labor, especially if this affects your breathing and ability to strain... this is important to have evaluated soon, especially since you are so close to the end of your pregnancy! Unfortunately because you are pregnant, xrays would not be advised and magnagement of this problem would be difficult... it is likely you will be prescribed an anti inflammatory and be monitored. Additionally, in the future when you cough you need to practice splinting techniques (hug yourself around with a body pillow or in a self-bear hug to brace your sides) to try to prevent the injury from getting worse or from a new one from developing. The swelling and discomfort, albeit that it is described as getting better, needs to be evaluated sooner than later and I would suggest that you call your doctor at this time. They may go ahead and tell you to take tylenol at home, but they may want you to come in and be seen. I know if you were coming to the clinic that I work in, we would want to have heard from you before your appointment! Not because this is likely to be deterimental to the pregnancy, but simply because you are uncomfortable enough at this stage of your pregnancy without adding this and suffering needlessly : ) I hope this is helpful to you, please remember to press accept and feel free to contact me if you have anything to add.

** note: I noticed you mentioned using a heating pad. Remember that this is NOT recommended on your abdomen and you should not be heating your tummy.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
If the rib is cracked would it effect the possibility of a normal delivery? My appointment is tomorrow morning and I have an ultrasound scheduled to reevaluate the size of my son since at my 34 week appointment he was measuring 6 lbs. My understandy is that if he is still measuring big then the Dr. will induce me around 38 weeks. This is my second successful pregnancy and would be second induction ( I also have blood pressure spikes).
If the rib is cracked, your chances of a normal delivery are entirely dependant on your symptoms and ability to push... understandably this is pretty painful and if you are unable to breath normally or to bear down then it is likely that this will effect your ability to preform functional pushing and may make labor last too long and indicate the need for a c-section... however, that is completely worst case scenerio and dependant on your doctor's views on how liberally he or she uses c-sections. 6 weeks is the usual healing process for cracked ribs and depending on how severe they are, it can be less than that... you are already noticing improvement and I would suspect that in another two weeks you will be able to be medically managed for your pain and be able to deliver normally... though your doctor may give you to the 40 weeks at full term to schedule the induction... again that is really doctor dependant and dependant on what's going on with your son.
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