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The After Pains in the Postpartum Stage

Postnatal Care

Let’s talk about a topic that often gets overshadowed in the glow of new motherhood: After Pains.

What are After Pains, and are they normal?

After Pains, also known as postpartum contractions or uterine contractions, that may feel like period cramping, are a natural part of the post-birth process helping to shrink the uterus back to size. They occur a few days after childbirth and can last a few weeks, it may not be the most comfortable experience, and may feel weird because you have just had your baby yet feel like you are still having contractions. They tend to come on most significantly when you’re breastfeeding, as your body releases oxytocin. but they serve a crucial purpose. Here’s why you have them and why they are normal:

Uterine Shrinkage: Your uterus has grown significantly during pregnancy. After giving birth, your uterus needs to return to its pre-pregnancy size and position. After Pains help it contract and gradually shrink back down to its usual state.

Expelling Clots: These contractions also help expel any remaining blood and tissue from your uterus. It’s like your body’s natural way of saying, “Out with the old, in with the new!”

Nurturing Bond: Interestingly, some mothers find that these gentle contractions can be an opportunity to bond with their newborns as the pressure can encourage them to nurse and snuggle close.

Now, while After Pains are perfectly normal and usually subside within a few days to a week, they can be quite uncomfortable.  Here are a few tips to help you manage them:

Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids can help your body manage the contractions more effectively.

Pain Relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers, as recommended by your healthcare provider, can offer some relief.

Warm Compress: Applying a warm compress to your lower abdomen can ease discomfort. d

Deep breathing, in through the nose and out through the mouth – lengthen the out breath can also really help just as breathing helps during labour and birth process. 

Gentle Movement: Light walking or rocking can sometimes help alleviate the discomfort.

Support: Don’t hesitate to lean on your support network—partners, family, friends—for assistance and emotional support during this time, as you maybe struggling with all the new challenges that motherhood brings. 

Remember, after pains are normal and can be experienced after any kind of birth, not all women will experience after pains and it’s okay to seek help and advice when needed. You’ve just had a baby and the after pains are just a sign that your body is healing and transitioning back. 

Did you have any After Pains? Share your experiences and tips below, and let’s support one another through this beautiful, transformative journey of motherhood!

Photos By: Greenville Spartanburg Birth Photography

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