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I'm 9 days postpartum, and I'm having afterpains like whoa.… 
22nd-Jul-2012 03:13 pm [cramps, post partum]
I'm 9 days postpartum, and I'm having afterpains like whoa. With my 1st, I remember having some cramps, but there was only one instance where they were too painful to talk through/anything comparable to labor pain. With this birth, the first day or two I had several rough times to deal with, but it was mostly very well managed with only ibuprofen or plain tylenol. I'm not a big fan of the idea of taking anything stronger, since I am breastfeeding, even though I am supplementing due to low milk supply  (I had a breast reduction several years ago). My mom joked with me that I should just have a few stiff drinks and I'd feel fine! but that's not happening, haha. In the last couple of days, the cramps have actually gotten worse, to where tylenol no longer is enough to make them bearable. Also, every time I empty my bladder it triggers more cramps. I'm guessing this is just because of things shifting around in there that are going back into place, but it is just SO damned uncomfortable.

I guess I'm just wondering: at what point should I be concerned that these severe cramps are a sign of something actually being wrong, and even if they are normal, is there anything aside from narcotics or drinking myself into a coma that would help ease them?

22nd-Jul-2012 10:20 pm (UTC)
Are you having clots or an increase in bleeding? I ask because you could have a piece of retained placenta. Maybe give a call just to be on the safe side and ease your mind??
22nd-Jul-2012 10:20 pm (UTC)
My midwife said they get worse with each pregnancy and mine were a BITCH the second time around. So unbearable the first couple weeks. Are you having oter signs of problems, excessive bleeding, very large clots, fever?
22nd-Jul-2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
From what I have been told, the labors get easier with more births, but the after pains get worse. It takes longer and more work for the uterus to fully shrink back.

With my first, I was a little uncomfortable. With the second, ibuprofen worked for about 3 hours, but I was only to take it every 4 hours. I asked about something stronger, but when they said Tylenol with codeine, I said I would suck it up.

If they are worse this time, which I expect, I will get something stronger. The cramps weren't so bad, but they kept me from sleeping and sleep is necessary for recovery.

That said, I didn't get after pains for very long. However, every time I breastfed it triggered cramping, which is normal. You still have the oxytocin receptors.
22nd-Jul-2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
Oh man this I did not know. Cramps weren't bad at all with DD but I think I had tears they didn't detect and I cried/sobbed every time I peed for like a month. Seriously the recovery was 10 x's worse then the labor.
22nd-Jul-2012 11:25 pm (UTC)
My tearing was less significant with my first than with my second, but recovery from my second was a breeze. I felt good immediately after and everything healed better and more thoroughly, more quickly.

The after pains were worse, but that was it.
22nd-Jul-2012 10:47 pm (UTC)
I had my son 10 days ago and I am going through the same thing...some of the pains are as bad as early contractions. I wound up taking the percocet they gave me at the hospital but I only took a few as I am BF as well. They told me they get worse with each baby and to look out for large clots, fever, and sudden bad cramping. They are pretty bad when I nurse....I hope you get to feeling better soon.
22nd-Jul-2012 11:49 pm (UTC)
Afterpains were definitely worse with the second, sorry :(
23rd-Jul-2012 12:12 am (UTC)
Like others have said, the afterpains get worse with each pregnancy (I'm *so* not looking forward to them after #4).

My midwife last time had me pick up something called "cramp bark" from the local health food store. She was a... less than stellar midwife. When I talked to her about the BAD cramping at my 4 or 6 week visit, she said, "That's why you have the cramp bark." I explained that they were already so bad that I didn't want to take anything that would make them worse, even if it did make them finish sooner. It was only at that time that she told me that it doesn't make them worse but takes the pain from them away. I've also had a friend use it monthly for period cramps.

So I can't tell you how to use it - I still have the sealed bottle in my medicine cabinet. But it's relatively inexpensive, and I bet someone at the store (I got it at a chain called Vitamin Cottage, I've seen it at Sprouts Farmer's Market...) would be able to give you more/better information on what it does and how it works. I do know that it is safe for nursing.
23rd-Jul-2012 01:53 am (UTC)
My midwives use crampbark after you deliver the placenta to slow/ease bleeding and cramping. One of the better midwives swears by it for all her (personal) births, so I wrote in my birth plan that it was OK to give me some.
23rd-Jul-2012 03:44 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm sure it's great stuff - I've heard lots of good things about it! I'm not doubting that. My comment about her being less-than-stellar (specifically about the cramp bark) was that I was told to have it but not told how to use it.
23rd-Jul-2012 01:57 am (UTC)
I used everything I could think of to ease pp cramping: hot pads, binding, herb baths, etc. My mother would have me get in the bath after birthing with some herbs, soak for awhile, then rub my belly down with warm oil and more herbs, then bind me. It helped a LOT. (Apparently this is the way they did things in her village in the Philippines) Other than that, it was extra strength Tylenol and lots of hot herbal tea (the "Mother's Milk" kind; I'm partial to "get maternal")
I hope you feel better soon!
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