War Wounds: My postpartum aches and pains

When recollecting Naomi’s birth, my husband likens the labour room to a crime scene. I’m no better. There are aspects of the experience I might equate with war – the struggle, the bloodshed, the hostility,  LOL!  Now, almost three months later, I am still licking my war wounds.

I read tons of pregnancy literature. I met with my midwives often. I attended prenatal classes. I was even certified in pre- and post-natal fitness. None of these really prepared me for the aches and pains I would feel day-to-day and while exercising, months after childbirth. Why don’t people tell you these things?!

After a natural vaginal delivery, I did expect some vaginal and perineal pain. I did not anticipate the dull ache in my pubic area. I believe it’s caused by the separation of the pubic symphysis – a joint between the pubic bones that widens for childbirth.

In the initial days following delivery, the pain was quite pronounced. When walking up the block, I travelled at the same pace as the neighbourhood seniors. What I feel now is a milder internal tenderness when getting out of bed, when rising from the floor, and even when walking through snow. Also during exercises involving hip movement – running, leg presses, leg extensions, lunges, etc. The pain doesn’t prevent me from doing any of these activities, but it’s definitely present. I suspect I will reach a threshold at which a certain weight is too much to bare. I also question by ability to run lengthier distances any time soon. Hmm, might have to rethink my race goals.

Just as annoying is the persistent pain  in my wrist. The inside of both my left and right wrists are constantly sore. They are stiff,  inflexible and at times feel on fire. This is classic carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s a more recently developed overuse injury, in my case, related to breastfeeding.

This pain is particularly bothersome as it affects simple day-to-day activities like picking up my child, undoing snaps and buttons,  and holding a drinking glass. When exercising, it’s aggravated by chest presses, shoulder presses and tricep dips. Not fun. I’m hoping that as my back, shoulders and arms become stronger again, the pressure on my wrists will be relieved.

Then there’s the lower back pain and totally assaulted abs. Working out is already helping in both these areas. Woohoo!

So what do I do about my pelvis and wrists? In the short term, I’m too stubborn to stop exercising. I will however, workout with care and perhaps a wrist brace of some sort. As for the long term, I’m guessing time will heal these wounds. Whaa, whaaa…:-)

Mothers and moms-to-be, how much were you told about how you would feel physically postpartum?

GOOD TO KNOW: Some common postpartum conditions that can affect workouts are incontinence, breast discomfort, fatigue, abdomen strength and joint laxity.

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1 Comment

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One response to “War Wounds: My postpartum aches and pains

  1. Pauline

    Yup! I had some of this too. I think I had “tennis elbow” after Lily from carrying her around all the time. It’s kind of funny actually that a baby can do that! Anyway, it did pass, luckily.
    As for your question, I wasn’t told directly about how I would fare physically, but everything I read and heard seemed to suggest that it was a slow process. I also had a different experience from you because I had a c-section, so I think I was expecting the worst. LOL! Kind of feeling sorry for myself!
    It’s true that we are not told about all the various aches and pains. I wonder if maybe it’s because it’s so varied depending on the person and the experience of childbirth. Maybe it would be impossible to list all the various aches that might arise. I don’t know. I think also many of the aches and pains do pass. But I have no research to back that up! LOL!

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