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Afterpains After Birth

Updated: May 8

afterpains after birth | Jax, FL Birth | Birth after pains

Afterpains After Birth When we daydream about meeting our baby for the first time most pregnant people aren't thinking about the afterpains they'll experience after they give birth. Partly because it's rarely talked about. However, if you've taken the Epic Postpartum class or our full childbirth education course you'll have a good understanding of many terms, including after pains. Hopefully having this information in your back pocket will help you be less fearful of it when it happens.

You'll have contractions of the uterus, often called afterpains, immediately after you give birth to the baby and your placenta!

For those who experience contractions in labor, it may be helpful to know that these contractions are not nearly as painful as the labor contractions. They also don't last as long or come as often as labor contractions. For those who are scheduled for a cesarean birth, you won't have to deal with contractions in labor or immediately post-op because of the power of medicine.  However, in addition to the pain from the cesarean incision, you will have to deal with those afterpains too as the anesthesia wears off.

The afterpains are a necessary part of the process of involution, the process of shrinking your uterus back to pre-pregnancy size and firmness. Without the contractions of the uterus, you would bleed, a lot. So much so that you would hemorrhage if doctors didn't intervene. Your uterus pre-pregnancy is about the size of a grapefruit and in pregnancy it stretches to accommodate the baby, amniotic fluid, and the placenta.  After birth, it beginnings to rapidly shrink, but it takes up to a full six weeks for it to return to pre-pregnancy size. In the meantime, you'll experience bleeding, afterpains, and can still appear to be pregnant.

What triggers the afterpains? Medication given to you by your providers such as Pitocin, breastfeeding, and pumping are all ways to signal these postpartum contractions. They will periodically just happen, some very mild, others very intense. Your nurses will also come in and push on your abdomen to feel for your uterus and signal contractions. Not fun, not one little bit! Most nurses get right to it and make it as quick and as painless as possible, but they do have a necessary job to do, and that is to see to it that you are safe!

What can be done to lessen the afterpains? Use your breathing and relaxation techniques if you find yourself wincing in pain. If you've not received pain medication it's ok to ask for something if you feel you need it.

afterpains after birth | Birth Jax, FL

Remember those fundal height measurements in pregnancy? This is the reverse of that. The contractions or afterpains do tend to be much more noticeable with second, third, and fourth deliveries versus the first delivery.

Afterpains are just plain insane! But, like we teach in The Confident Birth and Parenting Class and the Epic Postpartum Class, these pains and labor pains are: P=purposeful A= anticipated I=intermitent and N=normal!

To learn more about our classes or to book a private consult contact our team today!

Happy Birth & Parenting!


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