Are you cringing with cramps post delivery rather than celebrating the new arrival? Are you writhing in pain with postpartum contractions rather than enjoying the bliss of motherhood?
Postpartum cramps or afterbirth pains are the side effects of involution a process in which your uterus contracts and shrinks back to its pre-pregnancy size. All new mothers experience it post delivery. Read on to know more about postpartum cramps, why they occur and how you can help yourself deal with it.
Postpartum Leg Cramps:
Postpartum cramps in the legs are common among most new mothers.
- The muscles in the legs get tired of carrying the extra weight for nine months. You need to ensure you get sufficient rest to ease the cramps.
- Potassium deficiency could also lead to cramps.
- When you breastfeed, you usually lose many electrolytes. It can make cramps inevitable.
[ Read: Ways To Relieve Back Pain Post Delivery ]
Postpartum Stomach Cramps:
A woman’s body undergoes many changes during pregnancy. Post childbirth therefore she has to undergo many changes for her body to come back to normal. Abdominal cramps are a side effect of the post-partum changes. It occurs due to the heavy vaginal bleeding and uterus contraction after delivery.
Pain Due To Lochia:
Uterine contractions expel tissue and blood after the delivery of your baby. Have a look at what you can expect at this time:
- Lochia or vaginal flow can continue for 2-6 weeks after your delivery.
- You may experience heavy bleeding in the first few days, and the color of the blood may appear dark red.
- Some of the clots may be large. They may be of the shape of a tangerine. However, this is perfectly normal, and you should not worry about this.
- Bleeding gradually decreases a few weeks after your delivery. The blood color also changes from dark red to pink or yellow and gets thinner.
- You may get a strong fleshy smell, but no longer the putrid odor.
- If you have started bleeding again and discharge huge clots, you may be exerting your body excessively. It signifies you need to rest and take things easy.
- Make sure to consult your doctor if you have any doubts regarding the heavy postpartum bleeding.
[ Read: Precautions After Delivery ]
Pain Due To Uterus Contraction:
Abdominal cramps are usually severe in the first two days after childbirth. The pain should start diminishing from the third day as the size of your uterus begins to come back to normal. When you are a first-time mother, you have better uterine muscle tone. It helps your uterus contract better. Therefore, the postpartum pains will not last long. It will be typically mild. The cramps get severe after second delivery and worse after successive pregnancies.
Here are some of the postpartum changes your uterus undergoes:
- When you feel your uterus around your navel, it may appear firm.
- Huge blood vessels bleed in the uterine at the spot of attachment of the placenta to the uterus wall.
- The uterus contracts to ensure it is not full of clots and blood. These contractions help in reducing blood loss.
- Your uterus will continue to decrease in size and come back to normal size after six weeks of delivery.
[ Read: Body Changes After Pregnancy ]
What You Can Do When You Experience Postpartum Cramps:
Here are some tips that will help reduce your postpartum cramping:
1. You can often pee even if you do not get the urge. The full bladder displaces your uterus and makes it difficult for it to contract.
2. You may consider lying face down with a pillow under your belly.
3. You can consult your doctor and take Ibuprofen, a pain-relieving drug.
4. You can increase the intake of oranges or orange juice. It is rich in potassium and can ease cramps arising out of mineral deficiency.
5. Alternate hot-cold compressions may also help ease the cramps. You should apply a hot water bag after applying the cold compresses.
6. You can increase the intake of tea mixed with ginger. It is an effective anti-inflammatory drink.
[ Read: Six-Week Postpartum Checkup ]
7. You can ask your caregiver or partner to massage your abdomen gently after delivery. You can ask them to place their hands on your navel and move in a circular motion. It will stimulate contractions and make your uterus firm.
8. If you breastfeed, your body releases oxytocin hormone that causes your uterus to contract and reduces the blood loss.
9. Practicing meditation after a few days of delivery can help your uterus contract and relieve you from abdominal cramps.
[ Read: Postnatal Exercises ]
If you feel the cramps are getting unbearable, you must inform your doctor. She can diagnose if there is any medical problem that needs immediate attention.
You need to remember that taking good care of yourself constitutes an important part of parenting. Give yourself some time to help your body recover from childbirth. However, you can always carry on with the activities that do not hinder your natural recovery process.
If you have experienced postpartum cramps, please share your experience and advice here with us.
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