Wendy Powell

Suffering from back pain after c-section? Read this

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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, vaginal birth or cesarean birth – you are incredible! That is a superhuman feat you accomplished, bringing life into this world. You deserve to enjoy all that comes next, back pain free. 

With an increase in cesarean births, it’s easy to forget that a c-section is a major abdominal surgery!

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What causes back pain after c-section and what can you do?

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

  1. Anaesthesia
    The type of anaesthesia you receive before having a c-section could play a role. You may have had an epidural or a spinal block. 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, this is faster acting and is placed closer to the spinal cord. Back pain can be felt when the anaesthesia begins to wear off, and muscle spasms near the injection site can occur.

    What you can do: Speak up and be honest with your doctor, let them know your back is hurting and if there is anything that can be done to help. Fortunately this is temporary! 
  2. More restrictions when healing from c-section
    C-section is a major invasive surgery! With any major surgery there are going to be more restrictions post-surgery to ensure your body can heal safely. C-sections are no different. Rest frequently, don’t lift anything heavier than your baby, be gentle to protect 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. Set realistic goals. A starting goal could be to the end of your driveway and back, gradually building to a walk around the block. Walking is amazing with many benefits, one is helping ease back pain.
  3. Feeding you baby 
    If you’re nursing / breast-feeding, you may be contouring your body into weird positions you didn’t know were possible just to get your babe to latch and eat! Once they are finally eating, the fear of moving (no matter how uncomfortable you might be) is very real. Hunching over to feed your baby and all the cirque du soleil-worthy positions you find yourself in, are not so kind on the back. All this can be a 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! 
    Fed is best. This advice is not just for nursing Moms! It’s every bit as important for bottle-feeding Mamas to make sure you are comfortable and fully supported as you feed your baby. Focus on the bond that comes from feeding… and not the aches and pains that come from not being better supported.
  4. The way you move
    Bending over to pick up your baby, the car seat, diaper bag (the list could go on), and basically carrying all the things, affect your back. Standing and rocking your baby, and all other daily movements impact for better or worse, your back. 

    What you can do to help: When you are bending over make sure you are hinging from your hips, and not hunching and rounding forward. This avoids more strain on your back. Exhale and gently engage as you lift to support your back and core better. When you are carrying your baby or anything else, try to keep your weight distributed evenly between your hips. Avoid sticking one hip out to the side to lessen the load placed on your back. 

    When you are standing and rocking your baby or standing and holding anything, check in on your alignment. Make sure you are not arching your back, or lifting your ribs 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 remember that your joints and ligaments will be looser postpartum due to hormones, so moving with care is important. Try to avoid sudden or jerky movements.

Back pain after c-section – important takeaway

The most important takeaway is that 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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