Common Health Issues / Pregnancy Health + Wellness

Chest Pain and Tightness During Pregnancy

What is Chest Pain During Pregnancy?

Chest pain during pregnancy is a normal experience during this time because of excessive changes in hormones, blood flow and weight and size of uterus and fetus.

Causes of Pain in Chest During Pregnancy

Some normal and important causes of chest pain during pregnancy are as follows:-

  • Heartburn – During pregnancy, there is a surge of excessive progesterone hormones that helps relaxation of sphincter allowing acid in the stomach to come out. Eating certain food items, gas and indigestion can result in heartburn. Antacids have the capacity to interfere with iron absorption of body and therefore are not advised to be used along with iron supplements.
  • Weight of baby – Changes in weight of growing baby puts excessive pressure on diaphragm as well as ribs causing chest pain during pregnancy third trimester.
  • Indigestion – Avoiding food items that can cause acidity and gas is best as they often result in indigestion and chest pain
  • Stress – Anxiousness causes muscles to become tensed and lead to pain in the chest.
  • Breasts – Chest pain during pregnancy first trimester is a result of enlarged breasts. This happens because of an increase in blood flow, as it is nature’s way to prepare for upcoming breastfeeding. It leads to pain in chest and breathlessness
  • Asthma – If a patient has been suffering from asthma previously, and then it may result in obscuring normal activities as breathing becomes more difficult. Guidance of a doctor is necessary at such times
  • Extended rib cage Chest tightness during pregnancy is also because of widening ribcage. With an increase in size, the baby starts putting excessive pressure on diaphragm, ribs, and muscles resulting in breathlessness and pain
  • Cold, cough – A sore throat can easily result in moderate pain in the chest area.
  • Headache – Due to an increase of blood in the bloodstream as well as hormones in body it is normal to feel headache and chest pain during early pregnancy.

Recommended Link: Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy: What Causes and Treatment

There are also quite a few serious causes of chest pain that you should know: 

  • Deep Vein Thrombosis – This medical condition occurs when a blood clot forms in the pelvis or leg area. While walking or standing, the legs will be warmer with a feeling of heaviness. Swelling is also a part of this condition resulting in extreme pain. Deep Vein Thrombosis becomes a cause of concern if a pregnant woman is more than thirty-five years old, smokes, or is carrying multiple babies
  • Coronary heart disease – An increase in plaque contents narrows the arteries thus restricting the flow of blood. This condition results in chest pain during pregnancy and must be addressed by a doctor as soon as possible. 
  • Heart attack – Main symptoms of a heart attack are severe pain in the chest along with sweating, breathlessness, and numbness.
  • Congenital heart disease – Pain in the chest is prominent during this medical condition

Managing Chest Pain in Pregnancy

Some tips to manage and control chest pain are as follows:-

  • Drink plenty of water and eat at regular intervals to avoid upper back and chest pain during pregnancy
  • Rest is necessary as it relieves pain in areas like legs, chest, and back
  • Avoid usage of caffeine and smoking to prevent chest pain
  • Chest pain during the second trimester of pregnancy is easy to avoid by taking plenty of magnesium, iron, calcium, and vitamins in your daily diet


This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Stephanie McClane About Author

Stephanie McClane is a mother of three and enjoys sharing the knowledge she gathered throughout her pregnancies. After approaching her last two pregnancies from a more holistic prespective and having two natural births, she was inspired to share her experiences with other moms-to-be.