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Pain in your muscles and bones after birth

After birth, you may feel pain in your joints, bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Your shoulder may feel sore because you are changing your body posture for feeding. Your lower back or pelvis may also feel tender.

Your womb stretched a lot during your pregnancy as your baby was growing. Now your womb needs to shrink back to the size it was before you became pregnant.

After pains

You may feel some painful, period-like cramps low down in your tummy as your womb gets smaller. These are sometimes called 'after pains'. These cramps should go away after a few days.

You may feel these pains are more severe when you breastfeed. This is because breastfeeding makes your womb contract, which helps it to return to a normal size.

Your midwife or doctor will examine you after the birth to check your womb is shrinking.

Ask your midwife or doctor about what painkillers you can take to help with these cramps.

Non-urgent advice: Contact your GP, midwife or public health nurse immediately if:

  • the pain in your tummy is not getting better, is getting worse, or is severe

This could be a sign of infection.

If you have a caesarean birth (C-section)

Follow the advice your obstetrician, midwife or physiotherapist gives you about how to care for your scar.

Page last reviewed: 2 February 2023
Next review due: 2 February 2026