Postpartum Cramps

As the uterus returns to its pre pregnancy size, some people may have cramps after their delivery for a few days. These are called postpartum cramps. Continue reading to know the reasons for it and ways to relieve from these cramps.

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2020 11:29 GMT

Postpartum Cramps
Postpartum Cramps

What are postpartum cramps?

Giving birth to a baby involves lots of painful processes. After giving birth, you may feel muscle aches and pains. Postpartum cramps are also called afterbirth pains or after pains. These after pains will be short, sharp cramps in your abdomen like your menstrual cramps. This is due to the contraction of the uterus as it returns to its pre pregnancy size after the birth of your baby.

Reasons for postpartum cramps

These postpartum cramps are supposed to be mild for first time moms and don’t last for a longer duration. Some first time moms don’t feel the pain at all. For second time moms these cramps become more uncomfortable and they tend to get worse after each successive delivery. The reason behind this is first time mothers may have a better uterine muscle tone and their uterus can stay contracted.

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Breastfeeding can also cause afterpains. Your baby’s sucking stimulates the production of oxytoxin hormone which in turn causes contractions. The contractions that happen also have a positive effect as they help the uterus to shrink to normal size preventing the risk of postpartum anemia due to blood loss.

How long do these cramps last?

The uterus takes around six weeks to return to its normal size. This process is called involution. Your uterus will be 2.5 pounds after delivery and several weeks later it reaches just a couple of ounces.

The cramps last only for a few days. These postpartum cramps are very intense for the first two days after the delivery and generally slows down around the third day. For some women the cramps may last for five to seven days.

Ways to relieve from postpartum cramps

·         Try to urinate often even if you don’t have the sensation. A full bladder may not allow the uterus to contract completely.

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·         Try to lie facedown with a pillow under your lower belly

·         You can lie facedown and use a warm heating pad under your lower belly

·         Do gentle massages to your lower belly.

·         Always stay hydrated and consume healthy foods.

·         Take pain relieving medications like short acting non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.


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·         Seek immediate medical attention if you feel excessive pain or if the pain is not subsiding. It is important to get medical advice if the bleeding is heavy or if you see blood in your stool and have fever. 

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