Monday, 2 March 2020

Post-Birth Pain: The Part Of The Marathon You Weren't Prepared For

Giving birth is, without a doubt, the most amazing thing any woman can do. The experience of bringing new life into the world is literally top of the miracles scale, and it can change your outlook like few other life experiences. But, as most of us are aware, the experience will inevitably involve pretty high pain levels.
That’s why most of us do what we can to prepare. From heavy breathing right through to squats and positive hypnobirthing affirmations, a well-armed mum is, usually, in for the best possible experience. Yet, our prep typically ends there.

This is why after-birth pains can come as such an unexpected shock. Luckily, your midwife will be just as prepared to deal with this part of your birthing experience as the arrival of your baby itself. Still, you may want to do a little research into what you can expect from postpartum pain, and how you can ease it. 

# 1 - Afterpains
Afterpains’ (or involution), are an inevitable part of the post-birth process. Your uterus has gone through nine months of expansion, after all, and it now has to return to its pre-pregnancy size. This is a process that’s, sadly, accompanied by short, sharp, and painful cramps. Most often, these pains will hit during the first few days after birth but can continue for around six weeks. The best coping mechanisms here include hot compresses, baths, and other soothing techniques.

# 2 - Muscle pain
The physicality of labour is a lot like running a marathon in that you use every part of your body. As such, muscle pains in unexpected places like your legs and arms aren’t uncommon, though they can be a real inconvenience for any new mum. In this instance, a midwife will often recommend typical muscle-soothing options, such as a warm shower and massage. Anti-inflammatory drugs like these Ibuprofen 400mg tablets can also help ease the sting, though you may need to steer clear of such options if you’re breastfeeding. Again, your midwife will be able to advise you of what’s best for easing those aches in the shortest time possible.

# 3 - Headaches
As if you didn’t have enough to deal with, headaches aren’t uncommon during after-birth, either. Whether caused by pain medications during birth or fluctuating hormone levels, pain here can get pretty severe. In most cases, headache treatment will involve over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen or paracetamol (depending on if you’re breastfeeding), but headaches caused by a leakage of spinal fluid after an epidural may need more pressing treatments such as a blood patch. 

We’re sorry to steal your idea of a peaceful after-birth glow, but getting your head around the reality of post-birth pains sooner rather than later is your best chance at preparing for them. What’s more, bad as they may seem reading about them now, take comfort in knowing that you’ll be so happy to meet your child at last that even these painful niggles won’t be enough to dampen your spirits.

*Disclosure - this is a collaborative post*

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