After giving birth, it is important that the uterus retracts properly and feels hard. The midwife will check this regularly.
You may also have contractions after giving birth. Post-partum contractions, also known as ‘after pains’, feel like a gnawing, sometimes cramping pain in your lower abdomen or back. They feel a bit like menstrual pain.
Post-partum contractions are less common after the birth of a first child, but more common with the following one.
Post-partum contractions can occur for up to three to four days after the delivery.
Breastfeeding and post-partum contractions
Breastfeeding stimulates post-partum contractions. The same hormone that is responsible for the production of breast milk also triggers uterine contractions.
If your pain is too severe, tell the midwife. You can have a painkiller, if necessary.
It takes around six weeks for the uterus to return its original position behind the pubic bone.
Sometimes, the uterus retracts too slowly. You can encourage your uterus by regularly massaging it with the flat of your hand. The doctor may need to prescribe medication that causes your uterus to contract.