After a cesarean birth, many women experience cramping and pain. Often, these cramps can be attributed to the surgery, but there could be other reasons for the pain as well.
During a cesarean section, the surgeon cuts through many layers of your body: skin, muscles and uterus. While the sutures are sturdy and effective at holding these layers together so you can heal, the area is sore from the tugging and pulling as well as the actual incisions. If you had a cesarean birth, you should be very cautious as you resume activity to help prevent pain and cramping.
Cramping after a cesarean could be normal. Your uterus after you give birth automatically begins to revert back to its pre-pregnant shape by contracting, which causes cramps. Cramps can also be caused by your intestines beginning to work again after your surgery. You might notice some constipation cramping as well. Breastfeeding increases the cramping, so be prepared.
If you are suddenly experiencing cramps, or have a fever or body aches, call your doctor. This could be a sign of infection. If your cramps are accompanied by excessive bleeding (more than a period) call your doctor. If you have pain when you urinate with your cramping, you might have a urinary tract infection, which requires treatment from a doctor.
If you wish to treat your cramps, most doctors recommend that you take ibuprofen. For dosage information, please consult your doctor. Alternative treatments include using a heating pad, resting, drinking to thirst and breastfeeding on demand (to help your uterus return to its pre-pregnant shape faster).
Within six to eight weeks postpartum, your cramping should be over. If it is not, tell your doctor at your postpartum visit.