Pain after Childbirth: What is Normal?

Updated at: Jun 12, 2013
Pain after Childbirth: What is Normal?

Physical pains of pregnancy do not end at childbirth. There is more that can take a pregnant woman by surprise. Learn about the different postpartum pains.

Bhadra Kamalasanan
PregnancyWritten by: Bhadra KamalasananPublished at: Jun 12, 2013

women with back pain

A slight sore after delivery is likely to be an expected guest, but what may strike you harder is the delay in postpartum problems from bloated breasts to cramps. The types of pains you experience after childbirth can be bitter and to the extremes of making it difficult for you to care for your baby as much as you would want to. Depending on your well-being and health scale, the postpartum pains can last for as long as three months post childbirth. This is because the changes that your body was a constant to for 9 months are now being brought back to the pre-pregnancy state, affecting the vagina, breasts, stomach, lower abdominal area, back and pelvis. To know what kind of pain needs a doctor’s supervision, take a look at the different types.

[Read: How to Handle Pain after Delivery?]

After-birth Pains

This type of pain is of the nature of a cramp and is triggered by post –partum contractions of the uterus. The contraction of the uterus starts almost immediately after the baby is born and may last for over 6 weeks until the uterus is finally back to its original size and location. Oxytocin, the hormone that influences the contraction of the uterus, is released in great amounts soon after childbirth and it is during this time that the woman experiences pain the most. Breastfeeding also causes the hormone to release, which may cause pain to the woman. It is important that a woman urinates frequently to ensure that the uterus contracts appropriately. A full bladder can lead to after pains. After pains are normal and do not need a doctor’s attention. They are symbolic of the body recovery.


A lot of women find it difficult to have normal bowel movements after childbirth. This is mostly because of the fact that the muscles of the rectum get tired during the process of childbirth. Hormones that trigger labour may also lead to constipation. Constipation can be dealt with the help of consumption of a diet that is rich in fiber and plenty of fluids.

Achy Muscles

The entire process of giving birth puts a lot of stress on the pelvic and abdominal muscles. These muscles must be given rest for a few days to recover from the strain. If your muscles are achy, they are so because the delivery was taxing and are therefore, normal. You may take painkillers along with plenty of rest to ease the aches.

[Read: What to Expect after Labour and Delivery?]

Sore Breasts

Soon after childbirth, the breasts may be full with milk and the nipples sore because of the suckling of the baby. Such discomfort is experienced by most women who have just given birth and is normal.

Back Pain

The expansion of the uterus at the time of pregnancy and the baby’s weight can put excess strain on your back. This pain may aggravate if your labour prolongs and you maintain an incorrect posture while nursing. The back pain is normal as long as it lingers only a few months after delivery.

Read more articles on Childbirth.


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