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Cramps after childbirth

Just when you thought it was over, it began again. The uterus tightens with contractions despite both the baby and placenta being out, and you should now be getting some well-deserved rest. Fortunately, afterbirth pains are not nearly as painful as the contractions during childbirth, but they can still be uncomfortable. Keep reading for more information on afterbirth pains and how to alleviate them, and download the LEIA Health app for practical tips and advice after childbirth.


During pregnancy, the uterus enlarges to accommodate the baby. The purpose of afterbirth pains is to ensure that the uterus contracts back to its normal size.


Despite the discomfort caused by afterbirth pains, they are entirely harmless. On the contrary, they help reduce the surface where the placenta is attached, thus decreasing bleeding.


Duration of afterbirth pains

Afterbirth pains usually come in intervals and feel like cramps or menstrual cramps. It's common to experience more afterbirth pains during breastfeeding, as hormones released during breastfeeding cause the uterus to contract. The first time you give birth, afterbirth pains are usually milder, and they tend to become more intense after subsequent births. They typically subside around 3-4 days after childbirth, but while they persist, some form of pain relief can be comforting.


Tips to alleviate the pain

Heat can alleviate discomfort. Place a warm wheat bag on your abdomen or take a hot shower. Over-the-counter medications like paracetamol and ibuprofen also help relieve the pain. Take a maximum of two paracetamol 500 mg tablets and one ibuprofen 400 mg tablet every eight hours.


When to seek medical care

You don't need to seek medical care for afterbirth pains. However, if you have continuous lower abdominal pain instead of intermittent pain and simultaneously have a fever, it may be a sign of uterine infection. In that case, you should seek medical care immediately.


"Place a warm wheat bag on your abdomen or take a hot shower. Over-the-counter medications like paracetamol and ibuprofen also help relieve the pain."


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