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With all the pains woman experience during pregnancy and childbirth, most mothers are relieved to know that they are free from all that pain after delivery. However, some of them, possibly including you, might continue to experience stomach pain even after giving birth. These intense pains are generally a sign of your body going back to normal, post-pregnancy, but it is important to understand these in detail.
Causes of Abdominal Pain After Delivery
Some of the common reasons why you would continue having stomach pain after delivery are,
1. Pain as a Result of Afterpains
Right after your delivery, the uterus starts reducing back to its pre-pregnancy size. This leads to some cramping in the abdominal area, termed as afterpains. These are usually present for an initial couple of days right after birth, as the uterus takes nearly 6 weeks to return to originality. Breastfeeding is known to trigger these pains further. Mothers who are giving birth to their first child have lesser pain as compared to others, since their uterus retains more muscle strength.
2. Pain as a Result of Constipation
Many women can suffer from constipation following their delivery. A barrage of bowel movements that are quite painful, straining to poop, and passing hard and dry stools without feeling totally empty further contributes to this pain.
This is generally due to elevated levels of progesterone, the presence of piles, vaginal tears, or absence of any physical activity following labour. Certain medicines like anaesthetics, hydrocodone, and others can also cause constipation. This usually lasts for a short period of time, compared to that during pregnancy.
3. Pain as a Result of the Healing Process After C-Section
A caesarean birth comes with its own share of pains that are usually around the incision and the internal wounds, as they proceed with the healing process. Taking rest and lying down are the best ways to reduce pain. Pain relievers suggested by doctors can help alleviate it to an extent.
How Long Does Stomach Pain Last After Childbirth?
The pains post-delivery depends on the kind of delivery that the mother has had. If the delivery was a normal vaginal delivery, then most of the pain fades away within a couple of weeks following the delivery.
In case you have had a caesarean delivery, the pains fade away in a couple of weeks. However, certain pains or sensations might remain beyond that time. The medical history of the mother plays a key role in this, such as the number of surgeries undergone previously if the labour has been extremely lengthy, there have been any complications during the delivery, and so on. Some amount of soreness might also feel like intense pain, so the fading away time is subjective and varies from person to person, based on their capability to sustain it.
Treatment for Post Pregnancy Stomach Ache
Since the stomach ache that a woman has after her delivery is mostly the body coming to terms with the abrupt change in physiology, weight, and internal structure, it’s simply a matter of time for the pain to subside. Until then, the usual techniques of using well-known painkillers is the go-to method. Ibuprofen or paracetamol are the best bets to control such pain. Using a warm blanket that is heated or a warm water bag can help soothe the pain as well. Any medications should always be taken after consulting a doctor. This is primarily because the newborn baby would be breastfeeding and anything the mother consumes passes on to the baby as well. Many women find relief by adopting various breathing and relaxation exercises that are similar to those undertaken during the delivery.
Home Remedies for Postpartum Abdominal Pain
Here are some simple home remedies to relieve abdominal pain.
1. Honey Juice
At times, infections in the womb can cause severe cramps as well. If you also face swelling in the abdomen and bleeding in the vagina, a doctor’s consultation is advised. Until then, consuming honey is a good way to combat the infection, since it contains natural properties that combat bacteria and viruses, and it is an antiseptic as well. Adding a tablespoon of honey to lukewarm water, and squeezing some lemon juice in it helps soothe the stomach and works wonders when consumed first thing in the morning.
2. Lime Juice
A mother’s body is at its weakest post-delivery. The immune system is just getting back to building itself and the digestive system is coming to terms with all the changes. Improving overall health is key to reducing pains and bringing back normalcy. In such a case, loading up on Vitamin C acts as a boost to help repair all systems. Squeezing some lemon juice with boiled water not only reduces stomach ache, but also provides you with the minerals necessary for recovery.
3. A Warm Water Bath
As the pain generally resides around the uterus and abdomen, warm compresses in the area are known to help. What helps, even more, is taking a nice relaxing bath in a tub filled with warm water. Don’t make it scalding hot. Keep yourself immersed for half an hour or so twice a day, and enjoy the relief that accompanies it.
4. Turmeric Milk
Chances of infection post-delivery are at an all-time high, given the weak immune system of the mother. Such infections may also result in stomach aches and it is necessary to combat and prevent them altogether. Using boosters to increase immunity is necessary, and there’s nothing better than a natural antibiotic for the job, called turmeric. Taking a spoon of turmeric powder with a glass of milk protects the body from infections, and prevents building up of the pain.
5. Fennel Seeds
Post delivery, mothers might observe some inflammation and pain in the areas around the hips, since most of the physical change happens there. Opting for natural remedies such as fennel seeds helps reduce the inflammations. Many prefer chewing on the seeds to prevent vomiting and nausea after pregnancy. Boiling fennel seeds with water and adding honey to the strained mixture, forms a tea that can help reduce the pain substantially, when consumed two times in a day. Plus, fennel seeds also help increase the production of breast milk.
6. Ginger Tea
Ayurvedic medicines make use of ginger in almost all remedies that treat stomach related disorders. Not only is ginger an antiseptic, but it can also improve emotional stability. Grating some ginger in boiling water, and letting it simmer with a few leaves of parsley, forms what is known as medicinal ginger tea. Best enjoyed with some honey, this not only tastes great, but takes care of stomach cramps by reducing pain.
7. Rice Water
Once you’re done cooking rice, the water that remains is extremely beneficial to treat stomach problems. What it does is create a smooth lining on the inner layers of the stomach, which reduces stomach pain. It further improves digestion and reduces constipation, as well as the presence of blood in urine. It’s best to add more water than needed while cooking rice, so that you have enough rice water to consume.
8. Hot Water Bag
After the delivery, the muscles in the abdominal area undergo a lot of cramping due to the expansion and contraction they have undergone. Your belly might be extremely sensitive and the lower area might hurt. This is where using warm compresses or making use of a hot water bag relieves pain. It improves blood circulation in the area, which also allows the uterus to loosen up a bit. Wrap the bag in a cloth and hold it over the area every time you feel a sharp pain. The intensity will gradually reduce.
Tips on Relieving Postpartum Abdominal Pain
1. Pee Frequently
Do not let your bladder fill up until you have strong urge to pee, before you visit the bathroom. Go as often as possible. A full bladder increases discomfort and worsens abdominal cramps, so peeing often provides relief and prevents the pain from getting worse.
2. Opt for an Oil Massage
Ask your partner or loved one to massage your abdomen with coconut or almond oil. Applying a light pressure to the abdomen helps relieve pain and cramping. You can even amp up the effects by mixing in a few drops of essential oil such as lavender or peppermint oil, which are known to help with pain relief.
3. Sleep on Your Stomach
You may have been advised not to sleep on your tummy during pregnancy, but there’s no harm in doing so after pregnancy, especially if it helps relieve pain. Put a pillow under your belly to strengthen the pressure on your tummy and relieve cramps.
4. Practise Meditation and Deep Breathing
Deep breathing during uterine contractions decreases pain and relieves any cramps you may suffer. Practise meditation to stay calm and breathe through any pain you face.
When Do You Need to Visit A Doctor?
- The area around the incision of the c-section begins to turn red
- There is fever and the pain becomes severe
- The vaginal bleeding increases and the blood is bright red in colour
- Both your sides feel extremely tender
- Nausea and vomiting become severe
Most women who face lower abdominal pain after delivery manage to keep a strong face throughout by taking the right precautions. It is important to know that the pains are generally short-lived and fade away in a couple of weeks, as your body returns to normalcy.