X is for Xiphoid Process

X is for Xiphoid Process

I have only mentioned this to _____, who is of the opinion that the pregnant body is so different to normal, that this must be a normal pregnancy thing...Just under my sternum, at the front (just under where the two sides of the ribcage meet, if you will), there’s a ‘lump’.

It feels hard, but not as hard as bone, and while my ribs are just under the skin, it feels like this lump is marginally deeper. It feels like it may somehow be connected to my sternum, but I can’t be sure. Am I being paranoid and this is just a pregnancy thing?
— Mumsnet Member

As this mom asked above, the changes that occur to their bodies during pregnancy concern many women! During pregnancy, your expanding ribcage can push forward and cause pain. For some mothers, the small bump at the end of the sternum is visible. The xiphoid process is the technical term for a cartilaginous extension at the bottom of the sternum. The quick answer is that yes, this is normal!

Rib Pain During Pregnancy

With the question above, she doesn't seem to be uncomfortable but merely curious. However, if you've been experiencing chronic pain related to your ribs and chest area this post may be helpful to you. Many of the tips in my previous blog article topics will be useful to you, such as Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, Round Ligament Pain, and Diastasis Recti. When the point is to support your growing body, you can use the same techniques.

Let's talk about some things you can do to relieve this discomfort!


Be Gentle

When getting up from bed, getting out of the car, or any other twisting and bending motion, be easy with your body and turn slowly. Some moms turn getting out of bed into a three-step process, but it works to avoid pain! A pregnancy support pillow is a great investment. You can also purchase support belts you can wear anytime, or use athletic tape on your belly. Watch your posture and avoid slouching, which worsens the feeling.

Yoga for Pregnancy Discomfort

Practice Core Strengthening

Whether it's swimming, dancing, or gentle yoga, core strength from your abdominal muscles will help to support your growing body. Some practitioners swear by kegels, but I think you should do what is most comfortable to your body. If you do kegels, balance that exercise with exercise involving your whole body once or twice a week.


Heat Therapy

As long as you only use heat for 20-30 minutes at a time and watch the temperature, hot water bottles, rice heat packs, and baths or showers are safe for you to get pain relief. For more pain relief, add few drops of lavender essential oil (with a base oil, such as almond or coconut) to your bath water. Avoid hot tubs unless you can lower the temperature to 99 degrees or lower and stay mindful of the time you are in the water.

Nourishing Prenatal Foods

Nourish Your Body

What you eat can be helpful to your muscles and ligaments. To support these specific areas of your body, focus on bone broths and whole foods in your diet. Full fat and sugar products in moderation are better for you than low sugar or low fat. Take your prenatal vitamin daily for the extra nutrients!


If the pain is persistent or isolated to one side of the body, there may be a more serious underlying cause for your pain. I would see your care provider if you're experiencing any symptoms that are causing worry, anxiety, or severe pain for you.

I hope these tips are useful and practical for you! Let me know what works in the comments, or if you're struggling drop me a line directly for personal support in Delmarva.

Y is for Yoga

Y is for Yoga

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