Afterpains are contractions of the uterus that are experienced after the birth of your baby.
Afterpains are often stimulated by hormones released by the baby suckling at the breast and usually subside within a few days after birth.
Afterpains are nature’s way of getting the uterus to empty and return to its pre-pregnant size, so in that sense they are a pain with gain! They are often noticed more in women having baby number two or more and can be a surprisingly painful contraction that the woman was not expecting to experience.
Several strategies can be used to help with women who suffer with afterpains post birth. Regular analgesia will help with the pain when you are breastfeeding. Warm hotpacks are often used; prepared prior to the breastfeed and placed on the lower abdomen to give comfort while feeding. Afterpains should subside within a few days, speak to your doctor or midwife if they go on any longer.