Breastfeeding and contractions in stomach
Sometimes when I breastfeed, I feel a contraction in my stomach or womb. Why is this so?
The contractions that you are feeling post giving birth probably is something known as afterpains. This refers to contractions in your womb. Afterpains can range from mild to severe. Breastfeeding often exacerbates after pains.
What causes afterpain?
It is caused by a hormone called oxytocin, which stimulates contraction during labour. It is working so as to help your womb contract in shape so you can regain your pre pregnancy figure. Oxytocin is also released during breastfeeding, to allow milk letdown.
How long will afterpain last?
All women experience uterine contractions during breastfeeding, although they are usually too mild to be noticed. The contractions will be most intense during the first 24 to 48 hours after giving birth, and the discomfort should taper off within two to three days. Most breastfeeding mums share that their afterpains ended between two to three months after giving birth.
Is there anything I can do to reduce the pain?
Try to urinate as often as you can. A full bladder displaces the uterus so it can't contract as well as it should. This can cause more afterpains and increased bleeding.
Some women find it helpful to lie on their stomachs with a pillow under the lower abdomen. Gentle massage of the lower abdomen can also help the uterus contract.
Should I be worried about these contractions?
If the only time you feel the pain is during or after breastfeeding then you probably have little to worry about. However, do inform your doctor about it. If your tummy aches seem unrelated to your feeding routine, then you should definitely consult your doctor to ensure that everything is healing as it should.
Need Help? Don't fret!
When in doubt, please refer to a lactation consultant, who can offer you more personalised advice according to you and your baby's situation.
theAsianparent also has a Singapore Breastfeeding Mums Support Group that you can join for mum-to-mum advice.