Wendy Powell

Back Pain after C Section

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Pregnant woman in a green dress, gray sweater, and cream hat outside in the snow.

Let’s talk about an issue that far too many women face – back pain after c-section. 

No matter how your birth unfolded, you’ve accomplished is a superhuman feat. You deserve to be able to enjoy all that comes next, back pain free. 

With an increase in caesarean births, we often talk about and view the procedure in a casual way. But c-section is a major abdominal surgery.

Back pain after c-section can occur for varying reasons. Here’s some of the reasons that could be causing your back pain. As well as some solutions to help you banish that pain for good.

Reasons for Back Pain after C-section

  1. Anaesthesia
    The type of anaesthesia you receive before having a c-section could play a role. You may receive an epidural or spinal block, depending on your individual situation. An epidural takes longer to become effective and is injected into the surrounding areas of your spinal cord. Often for a c-section a spinal block is given, as this is faster acting and placed closer to the spinal cord. You may feel back pain when the anaesthesia begins to wear off. An issue that can arise from anaesthesia is muscle spasms near the injection site. Speak up and let them know you are in pain. Fortunately this is temporary! 
  2. More restrictions when healing from c-section
    With any major surgery there are going to be more restrictions post surgery to help ensure your body is able to heal safely, c-sections are no different. Resting frequently, not lifting anything heavier than your baby and being gentle with stitches or staples. All of this plus caring for a new little one leads to less movement. This inactivity can cause more back pain and aches than normal. 

    What you can do: Take slow short walks. You don’t need to be an olympic speed walker here! Set realistic goals. Start by walking to the end of your driveway and back, gradually building to a walk around your block. Walking is amazing with many benefits, one is helping ease back pain.
  3. Posture when feeding 
    Making sure your baby is well fed becomes a top priority, and that can often mean you are contouring your body into weird positions you didn’t know possible! Whether breast or bottle feeding, getting your baby in the right position to feed can get us all twisted up. Once they are finally eating the fear of moving (no matter how uncomfortable you might be) is a very real thing! Hunching over to feed your baby can be a big reason for back pain after c-section. 

    What you can do: Use support, and lots of it! Grab all the pillows around you and use them under your back, under your baby, under your arms, behind your shoulders. Support all the places that are supporting you feeding your baby. Get comfortable! Not only will you enjoy the bonding with your baby more, but your back will appreciate it as well! 
  4. The way you move
    Bending over to pick up your baby, the car seat, the diaper bag (the list could go on!), carrying all the things, standing and rocking your baby… All our daily movements impact, for better or worse, your back. 

    What you can do: When you are bending over make sure you are hinging from your hips, and not hunching and rounding forward, which places more strain on your back. Exhale and gently engage as you lift to help support your back and core better. When you are carrying your baby (or any of the other countless items mamas carry) try to keep your weight distributed evenly between your hips. Avoid sticking one hip out to the side, and this will lessen the load on your back. 

    When you are standing and rocking your baby or standing and holding anything, check in with yourself. Make sure you are not arching your back, or having your ribs lifted up (this places more strain on your lower back). Keep your ribs down and your back in neutral position – this will keep pressure off your back. Also take into consideration that all your joints and ligaments will be looser postpartum due to hormones. Moving with care is important. Try to avoid sudden or jerky movements.

Hopefully you have gained insight into what could be causing your short term back pain after c-section and what you can do to help. There is so much that can be done to help address your back pain now. It is not something you just have to learn to adjust to and deal with.

You deserve to be pain free, to be able to enjoy motherhood and to be fully present in your life. 

If you have been dealing with back pain for quite sometime now check out our post on reasons for long term back pain.

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