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Childbirth Afterpains

Topic Overview

Afterpains are sharp pains in the belly that occur in the first few days after childbirth. They may cause some discomfort. But afterpains help reduce uterine bleeding. They also help shrink the uterus back to the size it was before you were pregnant. You are most likely to notice these pains when you breastfeed. Breastfeeding triggers the release of oxytocin, which causes the uterus to contract. The pains usually start to go away by the third day after childbirth.

If afterpains are severe, your doctor or midwife can prescribe medicine that is safe and works well.

Credits

Current as of: May 29, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology

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