Right after giving birth, you will most likely feel exhausted, but you are not expected to suffer from abdominal pain after childbirth. The postpartum period refers to the first six weeks after giving birth, the period when your body returns to the state it was in before pregnancy. In this article, you’ll discover what’s behind postpartum abdominal pain and how to cure it so you can get back to taking care of your baby and yourself.
If you’re a new mum, chances are you’ve heard of them. Menorrhagia is known as the postpartum cramping you feel after giving birth and continues for weeks afterwards. For vaginal delivery, ice packs throughout the day for the first 24 hours can benefit both pain and oedema in the perineum and labia.
Having contractions several days after delivery is a normal reaction. You will feel them like the contractions you have during your period.
These contractions occur because the uterus is shrinking to its normal size. The uterus weighs about 1 kg after delivery, and several weeks later, it weighs only a few grams.
These uterine contractions become more intense when you feed your baby because breastfeeding releases oxytocin in the body. But these uterine contractions help reduce the amount of postpartum bleeding and prevent haemorrhage.
According to statistics, the more babies you deliver, the stronger and longer-lasting the postpartum contractions will be. Most likely, the contractions will disappear after the sixth week.
Taking childbirth classes is one of the many things you can do to help yourself. Performing and focusing on deep breathing, as you did during contractions in labour, will help you endure the actual contractions after delivery. Fill your diaphragm with a deep breath that will go all the way into your abdomen.
Some many medicinal products and herbs can help reduce postpartum abdominal pain and give you a sense of calm and relaxation. Stay hydrated and eat healthy food.
Constipation and haemorrhoids
The main reasons for postpartum constipation are haemorrhoids, pregnancy hormones (high progesterone levels), iron deficiency anaemia and surgical incision. You could have postpartum constipation even if you did not have it during pregnancy.
Constipation can last for a few days if you do what is necessary to treat the problem.
Your doctor must first establish the correct cause of your constipation and provide you with the appropriate treatment.
Eating high-fibre foods is one of the best ways to combat constipation. A diet rich in fibre will improve bowel movements. Foods such as legumes, bread and rice are included here. In addition, it is essential to keep your body hydrated.
Fluids help stool pass out of the body more easily. Moving the body also helps move the bowel. If you had a C-section, it might be difficult and painful to walk at first. Start exercising when you feel comfortable with yourself. Avoid processed foods and foods high in sugars and fats.
If you are concerned about the pain caused by hard stools, you should stop being concerned. The nerves in and around the vagina are stretched during labour and the perineum becomes numb. When the nerves begin to recover, you will start to feel pain when you go to the toilet. Try to relax by reading a book or listening to music while you are in the process.
Another bowel movement problem, which mainly accompanies constipation, is postpartum gas. The main symptoms of postpartum gas are flatulence, acute abdominal pain and abdominal cramps. Postpartum gas usually goes away on its own or after dietary changes.
Your doctor can give you laxatives to help relieve constipation. Never take laxatives by choice, as the recommended dosage depends on whether you are breastfeeding or not. Postpartum constipation can be treated. It is not a serious condition if treated early. But sometimes, it can aggravate other problems such as haemorrhoids.
External haemorrhoids are most likely to occur during pregnancy and disappear when pelvic pressure is relieved after delivery.
External haemorrhoids are located below the pectineal (dentate) line, receive somatic innervation from the lower rectal branch of the pudendal nerve, and therefore hurt if they are thrombosed. They can also be the reason for rectal bleeding, which means that you should go to the doctor immediately.
Cesarean section healing
In the last 20 years, cesarean sections have become more popular. Sometimes, a cesarean section is not only the woman’s choice, but it is the only way to deliver the baby safely.
Having a cesarean section is quite aggressive and can also be painful. An incision is made in the abdominal muscles during the procedure, which mainly causes pain after surgery. The scar from the surgery may even fade several years later.
Right after the procedure, rest well and try to have everything you need within reach. Do not lift heavy objects for the first few weeks, except for your newborn. Having abdominal pain after giving birth is normal because most incisions are made in the lower abdomen. Your doctor may also give you medication to relieve pain.
Your catheter will be removed two days after surgery. You will start walking to and from the bathroom. If you do not have complications after giving birth, you should increase physical activity as time goes on, as it helps circulation and improves bowel function. You should wash the skin where the incision is with soap and water only.
You will still feel pain four weeks after delivery, but you will also be able to move around more comfortably. You will most likely be healed by six weeks after surgery.
The scar will grow and be dark in colour at first. But it will begin to shrink after the sixth week after surgery.
Currently, more than 30% of deliveries in the U.S. are done by cesarean section. C-section is usually performed through a straight incision 3 cm above the symphysis pubis.
Keep in mind that since it is a surgical procedure, there is some risk of wound infection. Infectious wounds usually include cellulitis or abscesses in the wound.
Infections can arise primarily from local carelessness or poor hygiene in the wound. The usual signs of an infected wound after cesarean section are redness, swelling, lower abdominal pain and fever. In this case, you need to go to the doctor immediately.
However, everyone is different and the healing process also varies from person to person. Sometimes the tenderness and discomfort can last up to eight weeks.
How long does the pain last before giving birth?
If you had a vaginal delivery, the pain would go away on its own after 8 to 10 days. You will have cramping for the first few weeks, which will become more intense during breastfeeding.
The pain should be gone when you have your first postpartum checkup, which is usually about six weeks after delivery. If you still have severe abdominal pain, tell your doctor.
If you had a C-section, severe pain would probably last a little longer – up to two weeks. After the fourth week, you should feel no pain at all.
As we’ve said before, everybody’s ability to heal is different, and for some women, it can last up to six weeks. And if you are concerned about scarring, you need to make sure you are treating the skin in that area following the proper instructions given by the doctor. It can take several years for the scar to fade completely.