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Leg pain after undergoing a c-section can be unbearable for a woman that she may even struggle to do her normal day to day chores. If you have had a C-section delivery in the recent past and are experiencing leg pain, then you must know the reasons for the same. Find out what causes leg pain after c-section and what you should do.
What Causes Leg Pain After a C-section?
Vaginal or normal delivery is the best way to give birth to a child. However, sometimes due to certain health complications or personal choice, some women may have to undergo a caesarean delivery. C-section is a major surgery that you may go through, therefore, just like any other surgery, this too may lead to certain side effects, such as leg or knee pain. The possible conditions that may lead to leg pain post a c-section are mentioned below:
1. Nerve Injury
A woman is positioned flat on the operation table, and the lower part of the body is made to tilt so that oxygen supply to the placenta is not disrupted. Sometimes this positioning may compress the nerves, which may cause tingling sensation, numbness, or pain after the surgery. However, these nerve injuries are not a common phenomenon and those who suffer from it recover within a few days of time.
2. Muscle Fatigue or Fluids
Sometimes caesarean delivery is not planned, and the doctor may suggest it if he notices any complications later. or if you have already tried to deliver your baby vaginally. Under such circumstances, you may have already experienced labour positions such as squatting, crouching, kneeling or holding your knees for some time. Being in these labour positions for a long time may hurt your legs. Another reason that may cause leg pain is the accumulation of fluids. These fluids or intravenous fluids may get administered to you during your c-section. The fluids may accumulate in your legs making it appear heavy and thus causing pain. However, this may subside within a few days.
3. Compartment Syndrome
Compartment syndrome may also cause extreme pain and discomfort post-c-section. This may occur due to the swelling in your leg, which may hamper the blood flow to the muscles. The hampered blood flow may cause numbness, stiffness, and pain in legs. You are at a risk of developing compartment syndrome if your doctor used some medicine to speed up your labour if you lost a lot of blood during the delivery or you suffer from low blood pressure. If the condition gets severe, surgery may be required to relieve the pressure from the leg so that normal blood flow can be maintained.
4. Deep Vein Thrombosis
DVT or deep vein thrombosis is a condition that occurs in the deep veins of your body. If you experience leg pain after six weeks of C-section, there are chances that you may be suffering from this condition. This is because the danger of this condition lurks until you get through with your postpartum period, which is until 6 to 8 weeks post delivery. This condition is characterized by a clot in legs that may cause intense pain, swelling, redness etc. The pain may even travel from calf to the back of knee, thigh and even to backbone. Sometimes a low-grade fever may be registered, too. Though this condition may affect a very small percentage of women, however, this condition may become life-threatening. One of the most common complications is a pulmonary embolism, which may occur when the blood clot travels to the lungs causing severe blockage and fatal complications.
What to Do If You Are Experiencing Leg Pain After a Caesarean Delivery?
Where some cases of leg pain may not evoke concern or tension, there are other conditions that may lead to life-threatening conditions. Therefore, as soon as you register any leg pain or cramps after undergoing a C-section, this is what you may be required to do:
- You must report any kind of worsening or new leg pain to your doctor when you return home from caesarean delivery.
- If you notice chest pain, shortness of breath, light-headedness, palpitation or other such symptoms then you might be suffering from a pulmonary embolism; you must seek medical help immediately.
It is not necessary that all women will experience leg pain after undergoing a caesarean delivery but some women do. If you experience any kind of leg pain, you must act promptly and talk to your doctor about the same at earliest.
Also Read: How To Recover After C-Section