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Cynthia FlynnPost Delivery Contractions
by Cynthia Flynn, CNM, Ph.D.

Q. Is it true that the post delivery contractions become more intense with each subsequent birth/delivery?

A. Sorry, it is true that afterpains tend to be more noticeable with a second delivery than with a first. What you can do to help yourself is to have your care provider help you find your uterus right after delivery, and massage it pretty vigorously (like those nurses do!) every 10-15 minutes, and especially before nursing.

The reason for the afterpains is that the uterus has been stretched out and is having more trouble clamping down after delivery. Because it isn't clamped down, you bleed some inside and then it tries to get the bleeding out before it makes clots, that are even harder to get out. When you massage the uterus, you help it to stay clamped down, thus minimizing the bleeding and therefore the cramping.

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