Afterpains (uterine contractions)

Afterpains are caused by uterine contractions. They occur when the hormone oxytocin is released during breast-feeding. Afterpains tend to be stronger if you have had more than one child. They usually are felt within the first few days after delivery. Although they may cause some discomfort, afterpains help reduce uterine bleeding and help shrink the uterus back to its prepregnancy size.

If pain interferes with breast-feeding, your health professional may recommend that you take a mild pain reliever such as ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) or acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) before breast-feeding.

Last Updated: May 4, 2009

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