Oct 10, 2019
You just had a baby! Congratulations!
The contractions and pain should be over, right? Not so fast...
Afterpains (also known as involution) can be just as painful as when you were in labor. While your uterus is shrinking back to its normal size, you may feel short, sharp, cramps in your abdomen a couple of days after giving birth, often while nursing. Your uterus is contracting and that helps it expel lochia (discharge of blood, mucus, and uterine tissue) and it helps your uterus get back to the right size.
Some first-time moms don't always feel them, but women that have had multiple children are more likely to feel them intensely. The hormone oxytocin, which is released by breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact with your baby and a few other things is what gets your uterus to contract. Believe it or not, this is a good thing. Your body is going through the healing process, but that doesn't mean its enjoyable!
Thankfully, this will hopefully only last 5-7 days. It feels different for every woman and is often worse with each subsequent pregnancy, but you can absolutely experience some relief. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of taking an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen.
If afterpains last longer than a week or you notice increased bleeding, foul smell or anything you feel is "off", contact your doctor or go into the ER.