A certain level of soreness and exhaustion is normal after giving birth. As your body heals slowly, you’re also experiencing bleeding, sore breasts, tiredness, and quite a bit of abdominal pain. Because your genital area is still very sensitive and sore from giving birth, distinguishing ‘normal’ abdominal postpartum pains from those that are concerning isn’t always easy. If you’re experiencing postpartum sharp abdominal pain, here are a couple of guidelines for distinguishing normal from alarming.
Common abdominal postpartum pain
There are a couple of types of pain after giving birth that is completely common. These pains happen because your body is still getting back to a normal condition and re-establishing the pre-pregnancy hormonal balance. Here are a couple of postpartum pains that are normal:
You’ll feel frequent sharp pains in your lower abdomen after giving birth, which will intensify while you’re breastfeeding. The so-called ‘afterpains’ happen because your uterus is contracting in order to shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size. Afterpains increase in the intensity after every consecutive pregnancy.
Both constipation and diarrhea are common after giving birth. Constipation is possible if you’ve had a complicated labor and was on a light/reduced diet after giving birth. Even with regular labor, you could have dehydrated and constipation resulted from that. More common causes of constipation after giving birth include:
- High levels of progesterone
- Vaginal tears/episiotomy wound
- Low level of activity after giving birth
- Lack of fiber in your diet
If you had a C-section, the internal healing of the tissues and stitches might cause a sharp sensation of pain. Getting enough rest and treating the wound with the right remedies will help alleviate these pains. In addition, a light, low-fat diet rich in fiber and liquids will prevent heaviness in the stomach and bloating, which will also help with the C-section pains.
When should you call your doctor about sharp low abdominal pain
Although the majority of pains after giving birth are benign, you should still remain cautious and call your doctor if you experience pains that might indicate an infection or another type of health complications. If you experience one or multiple following symptoms, talk to your doctor:
- Redness and irritation around your C-section scar.
- Increased body temperature or fever.
- Vaginal bleeding that’s intense and bright red
- Tenderness in your sides.
- Vomiting or sickness/nausea.
- Severe pains.
- Worsening and intensifying of the pain.
As you recover from giving birth, make sure to focus on getting enough rest, bonding with your baby and taking good care of your body. Still, make sure to observe your body and track changes. To alleviate postpartum pains, use warm pads and warmers that are appropriate to the tenderness of the tissues. Make sure to have enough water, as dehydration intensifies postpartum pains and also leads to constipation. Still, make sure to talk to your doctor if your pains point to a health complication or an infection.