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7 Common Afterbirth Pains And Ways To Deal With Them

7 Common Afterbirth Pains And Ways To Deal With Them

Now that you’ve delivered your baby, you would expect to say goodbye to all the aches and cramps that you experienced during pregnancy. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds, as instead of pregnancy cramps, you will now be experiencing afterbirth pains and aches all over your body. This is because, after delivery, your body takes a while to return to its pre-pregnancy state, and during this time it is normal for you to experience different cramps all across the body. Worry not, as most of the symptoms subside soon after birth, and you will be back to feeling your normal self again.

What Are Postpartum Cramps And How Long Do They Last?

Postpartum or afterbirth cramps are uncomfortable aches that signal that the body is trying to get back to its normal state post-delivery. It usually occurs during the first six weeks after childbirth (aka postpartum recovery period) and gradually subsides over time. These pains can be eased by taking the medications prescribed by your doctor or using home remedies like hot water compress. However, if the symptoms take longer to subside or you experience any sharp or abnormal pains, make sure to consult your doctor.

7 Common Postpartum Cramps And Aches

Postpartum Pains
The physical changes that occur during pregnancy lead to aches and pains in the various parts of the body during postpartum

Postpartum Back Pain

You may have back pain due to the physical changes that it undergoes during pregnancy. Also, the physical stress during labour strains the back muscles, causing pain. You may experience backache until the muscles regain their strength back in a few months. 

Moreover, if you had back pain during pregnancy, there are high chances of having it after childbirth as well. Being inactive or overweight may also increase the risk. To ease back pain, try a hot water compress, and use a footrest to elevate your feet while breastfeeding or sitting. You may also try some light stretching exercises after getting your doctor’s permission.

Postpartum Pelvic Pain

When you are pregnant, the hormones in your body stimulate the pelvic muscles to expand and contract for aiding delivery. This causes the ligaments to loosen and any activity (even walking) can cause pain in your pelvic areas during postpartum. This pain can also occur due to a tear in the pelvic tissues or muscles during delivery. Additionally, you may experience this pain during urinating, passing bowels, and during intercourse. 

To reduce this pain, you can perform Kegel exercises every day. Practicing Kegels will help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, improve blood circulation in the area, and promote wound healing. 

Postpartum Abdominal Pain: Lower And Upper

Postpartum Pains
Pain in the abdominal area can be relieved using a hot compress

You may experience both lower and upper abdominal pain post-delivery. Lower abdominal pain mostly occurs due to prolonged contractions of the uterus and breastfeeding. Sometimes the pain occurs as a result of complications like appendicitis, ovarian cyst torsion, or genital infections. Upper abdominal pains on the other hand are rare and may occur due to gut inflammation or infections. If you experience upper abdominal pain, you should inform your doctor immediately.

Hot water treatment is the best way to cure these aches. It helps improve blood circulation, thus relieving pain in your lower abdomen. 

Postpartum Hip Pain

Hip pain is common, especially after vaginal delivery as your hip and pelvic bones undergo some trauma during childbirth. Moreover, if there is difficulty in delivering the baby, the doctor may have to use forceps or a vacuum, which may lead to bruising, dislocation, or even a fracture in the hip area, causing severe pain. Usually, women experience mild to moderate hip pain, but if it’s severe or lasts for more than two weeks, you should consult a doctor. 

You should take ample rest to ease your hip pain and refrain from lifting any heavy objects for at least 3-4 weeks after childbirth. You may also perform Kegel exercises to strengthen your hip bones. However, practice exercises only if your doctor gives you a go-ahead.

Postpartum Leg Pain

Postpartum Pains
You can soothe your leg cramps using a natural pain relief oil and massaging in gentle motions

Leg cramps are common during postpartum as the extra body weight gained during pregnancy exerts pressure on the leg muscles. Additionally, hormonal changes during the postpartum period relax the joints and ligaments, adding to the cramps. Sitting for long durations while nursing, lack of sleep, and magnesium deficiency are also associated with postpartum leg cramps. 

To ease the cramps, make sure to keep your feet elevated while sitting and resting. You may also consider using a natural pain relief oil to relax and soothe leg cramps. Use a pain relief oil formulated with plant-based ingredients like mahua oil, turmeric oil, and mustard oil to reduce inflammation and strengthen the leg muscles. Ask your partner to give you a gentle massage with pain relief oil for instant relief.

Postpartum Uterus Pain

The uterus takes at least six to eight weeks to go back to its pre-pregnancy size after delivery. While the uterus resizes, you may experience pain and cramps. These pains can also be felt during breastfeeding and get stronger with subsequent pregnancies. However, don’t worry, as the pain will subside once the uterus returns to its normal state.

You should avoid heavy movements during this time and use a hot water compress to get relief from contractions. If the contractions are severe, inform your doctor immediately. 

Postpartum Breast Pain

In the first week after childbirth, your breasts may feel bigger and tender due to the first breastmilk (colostrum). This may lead to breast engorgement and soreness, causing postpartum breast pain. This pain usually subsides within a week or two, however, you may experience difficulty while nursing your baby. 

To soothe your nipples, you should use natural nipple butter with plant-based ingredients like kokum butter, calendula oil, and rice bran oil. These ingredients moisturise your skin and soothe cracked and sore nipples. Make sure to use the nipple butter after every feed to get relief. 

It’s not uncommon for women to experience afterbirth pains. These pains are a sign that your body is recovering after childbirth and going back to its normal state. Moreover, postpartum pains usually subside within six weeks after delivery. You can use several remedies to ease the pains, such as using a hot water treatment, pain relief oil to relax muscles, and nipple butter to soothe sore nipples. In addition to this, stay hydrated, consume plenty of fruits and veggies, and indulge in light exercises to speed your recovery. 

02 Jun 2022

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