Cramping after birth
Surprise! Just when you thought you’d felt your last contraction, the constant cramping you felt after giving birth – and still continue to feel – probably has you thinking- When will the pain stop? Here’s what’s going on.
- Your uterus is contracting as it shrinks back down to size, so the pain will be less intense than when it was pushing out a baby, but enough to be uncomfortable.
- Keep in mind that every contraction is helping to slow your postnatal bleeding as well.
- Breastfeeding intensifies the cramps, but there’s a good reason for it. Every time your baby latches on and sucks a chemical called oxytocin is released. Oxytocin induces contractions and shrinks your uterus faster. So remember that every time you breastfeed, you’re one suck closer to recovery.
- Paracetamol (eg Panadol) or Ibuprofen (eg Nurofen) can be taken to ease the pain. Dr's recommends that Ibuprofen be taken in low doses and only for a short time. Check with your doctor for information on dosages and any other questions you may have. The pain should subside after a week or so.
The contraction-like cramping you experienced after delivery (which, by the way, gets worse with subsequent deliveries – hooray!) should have subsided by now. But if you’re still feeling afterpains – especially if it’s a relentless ache in your lower abdomen – call your doctor to rule out an infection or another serious complication.
Be sure to call your doctor if you’re still feeling cramping in your abdomen.