Some reasons for postpartum pain can be tied into the hormones that a woman’s body releases during her pregnancy. As I discussed in last weeks blog the hormone “Relaxin” is responsible for the softening of the ligaments essential for the delivery of the newborn baby. This hormone can take about 5 months to leave your body if you are not breastfeeding and can last up until 12 months if you are. Because of this you are much more prone to sprains and hurting yourself than you would be normally. The most common conditions that we see in our office after delivery are listed below and can respond with the same success that you may have experienced during your pregnancy.
You might find that your whole body is sore, from laboring in different positions and pushing. This might be a shock. You assume certain parts of your body would be sore, like your bottom, but why are your arms and legs sore?
We weren’t joking when we said labor was a marathon, and even a short labor can cause muscle strain and stiffness.
Sometimes your hips can really be sore as well. This can be from having your legs placed in stirrups for hours upon hours, or having your support team pull your legs in odd positions.
Your back might be sore if you had an epidural or if you had people using counter pressure from back pain in labor.
You may also experience pain in joints throughout your body, including your hands, wrists, feet, and ankles. These pains may be due to the position you were in during delivery and recovery.
Your joints may also still be affected by the chemical changes during pregnancy that caused them to loosen. Carpal tunnel syndrome, pain in your wrists due to compression of nerves as they travel through the wrist to the hand, can take longer to go away and contribute to postpartum pain.
You may experience more frequent or more severe headaches after delivery. This can be due to changing hormones, stress, and sleeplessness. However dehydration often plays a leading role in headaches. Dehydration is especially likely if you are breastfeeding. Try to keep a full bottle of water close by to sip throughout the day.
Back pain is common during pregnancy. You may find that you still have back pain after delivery, although for different reasons. These can include the strain of labor and delivery or using an awkward posture while holding or breastfeeding your baby.
With time and with the aid of a treatment plan, postpartum pain will subside and you will feel more like yourself.