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Table of Contents:
- C department of healing
- When do you see a doctor?
Causes of a pulse in the abdomen
You would definitely expect to be sore and exhausted right after giving birth, but you probably didn’t expect to experience abdominal pain after giving birth. The postpartum period includes the first six weeks after childbirth, a unique and somewhat fragile period of time in which a woman’s body returns to its pre-pregnancy state.
From a cramping uterus to constipation, learn what’s behind your abdominal pain, and how to relieve it quickly so you can get back to caring for your baby and newborn.
After delivery, the uterus shrinks and shrinks back to its normal size, and this may cause some lower abdominal cramps, which are called after aneurysms. Most women will experience the most severe pain in the first two to three days after giving birth, although the uterus can take up to six weeks to return to its normal size. It is important to note that these pains will be stronger when your baby is breastfeeding because this stimulates the release of oxytocin, the hormone that causes the uterus to contract.
If you are a first-time mother, your painkillers are likely to be lower than a mother who has had more than one pregnancy. This is because a mother who has given birth more than once will have less muscle strength in her womb.
Another factor that contributes to abdominal discomfort in the postpartum period is constipation which can cause painful bowel movements, straining, lumpy or hard and dry stools, and a feeling of incomplete stool evacuation. Possible causes of constipation in the postpartum period include:
- High levels of progesterone in a woman’s body (remaining from pregnancy)
- Hemorrhoids (common during pregnancy and the postpartum period)
- Pain at the site of the episiotomy
- Vaginal tears or a bruised perineum (the area between the anus and the vagina) from labor
- Decreased physical activity after childbirth
- Diet low in fiber
Medications are another possible cause of postpartum constipation. For example, anesthesia or the use of opioids for postpartum pain such as hydrocodone or magnesium sulfate (sometimes given to women with pre-eclampsia) can cause or worsen constipation.
The good news is that while constipation can be troublesome in the short term, it usually improves in the postpartum period, compared to pregnancy when the uterus puts pressure on the colon.
Additionally, there are things you can do to prevent constipation in the postpartum period. Eating plenty of fiber (such as fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, and whole grains) and drinking plenty of water during pregnancy and in the postpartum period is crucial and may be all you need to do is ease your bowels.
Also, exercising after pregnancy will help you with constipation. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise. Be sure to confirm this with your doctor when it is medically safe for you to begin exercising, as time will vary. Examples of moderately vigorous exercise include:
- Brisk walking
- Water aerobics
- playing tennis (doubles)
Finally, if you suffer from hemorrhoids, warm sitz baths may be helpful. In addition, pain in the vaginal or anal area may be soothed with a pain reliever or with ice packs.
Even if you are proactive in your gut health, some women still experience constipation. If you have not had a bowel movement for more than two days, please talk to your healthcare provider – it may be time to take a laxative.
C department of healing
If you’ve had a cesarean delivery (C-section), you’ll experience some mild cramping as the cuts and internal wounds heal. The best thing you can do after a C-section is to make sure you get enough rest (for example, sleep when your baby sleeps) and not put too much pressure on your stomach.
Additionally, be sure to take pain relievers as directed by your doctor. Remember, if the pain is really bothering you, it is better to stay ahead by taking your prescribed dose rather than delaying your dose.
Finally, to allow time to incise your wound, ask friends and family members for help with meals, chores, and other tasks, but make sure they do not hinder your need for rest. If necessary, hire professionals to take care of the yard work, shopping and cleaning.
When do you see a doctor?
If you have any of the following symptoms, or if the pain is not relieved by simple treatments, be sure to get medical attention right away to rule out anything more serious such as an infection. Symptoms include:
- Redness around the C-section incision
- Excessive red or bright vaginal bleeding
- Tender areas on your sides
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Sharp pain
- Pain is getting worse
A word from DipHealth
Adjusting from pregnancy to your intimate state is not always easy, physically or emotionally. Try to be proactive in maximizing comfort and convenience as possible.
Be sure to follow up with your obstetrician as well for your six-week postpartum appointment – this is a good time to discuss your mental health, contraception, and/or any questions or concerns you have.
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