So you’ve had the baby, but you’re still experiencing contractions!?
Well, yes and no. This may be one of those areas that you weren’t warned of prior to your labor experience. What am I talking about? The “after birth” pains, or uterine contractions that follow the delivery of your baby and placenta.
More often than not, you get a break after the baby is born, but upon breastfeeding you welcome back, though not fondly, some discomfort or pain in your abdomen. These pains, that come and go, are a result of your uterus contracting in order to clamp down and continue the process of its journey to return to a smaller, pre-baby state. While the process takes weeks to complete, the majority of women find these uncomfortable after birth pains only last up to a few days.
Does it happen to everyone?
Yes, though most first time mothers don’t notice it much, if at all. This is because your uterus was pretty toned to begin with since this was your first delivery.
Many mothers report more intense after birth cramping with each subsequent delivery. Meaning, you are more likely to notice and be uncomfortable after baby #3 than with your previous births.
Is there anything that can be done to lessen the discomfort?
Remember, it’s a good sign that you are noticing those sensations while breastfeeding because the nipple stimulation helps the uterus to contract. The uterus contracting helps to keep your bleeding down and to return your womb to its proper state. In addition to staying on top of the recommended pain relievers given by your healthcare professional, which may include Ibuprofen or Tylenol, you can take natural supplements. Two that I recommend are:
Both work well, though AfterEase is an alcohol-based tincture and burns a bit when held under your tongue. Personally, I felt this distracted me from my uterine discomfort and it made a difference in how quickly I perceived it taking effect. The benefit to these herbal supplements is that you can take them more often than you can take over-the-counter medication.
In addition to the recommendations here, taking warm herbal baths can be of comfort for this and to heal your bottom area. You could also use a heating pad set on low, or a warmed rice sock/compress for short periods of time for relief.