Abdominal pain 3 months after C-section

(46 Posts)
Cocodrillo Mon 11-May-09 21:18:49

I had a C-section 11 weeks ago. If anyone puts any pressure on my abdomen (eg one of kids) I still have real pain and tenderness there - has anyone else experienced this? It's also painful if I move quick enough to make everything jiggle about, eg run across a zebra crossing... I went to the GP nine weeks post-CS, she felt around and said it couldn't be infection or I'd feel ill, and it didn't feel like organ damage, and sent me off. I'm supposed to go back if it's no better in a couple of weeks, but it's not changed at all for the past month... I'm getting fed up!

Sorry to tell you this, but this is the worse bit - till about four months - your internal stitches have dissolved and your muscles are knitting together again. Coupled with the fact that you are a bit more floppy and less supported than pre-pregnancy, it's gonna hurt quite a lot till things get more stable.

I've had two caesarians, each had it's own share of side effects but yes three months afterwards is a big hump in terms of recovery.

You need to try and be conscious of supporting your abdomen when getting up and obviously avoiding children jumping on you! I know how hard that is. I found gentle exercise helped (okay let's be honest I did sit ups a lot to get my muscles back!) But it does pass by four months.

Having said I got a massive incisional hernia with the second one (not related to the sit ups btw!) and that presented with pain and swelling, but immediately afterwards. I assume your GP has checked for that? You don't have a lump which disappears when you lie down?

Cocodrillo Mon 11-May-09 21:38:43

When did you start doing sit-ups? I've done nothing yet, in terms of exercise.

After two "normal" deliveries, I'm shocked at the recovery period post-CS.

Doc didn't mention incisional hernia. Did you need further surgery to correct that?

I started doing exercise at nine weeks and sit ups at about the same time.

If you have an incisional hernia it will hurt a lot when you cough and when you cough a lump will appear then disappear. I looked about six months pregnant with mine but when I lay down the lump disappeared entirely. I had to have surgery to install a mesh to hold my innards in (a hernia is a bit of internal organs bulging out of the muscle layers through a weakness). Yuck! Well you did ask!

Oh and yes, caesarian recovery is bloody awful, everyone assumes it's actually not bad but if you have a child already, ye gods it's tough. I thought it was tough with my first but when you have an active little bruiser jumping on you and making demands all day PLUS a newborn gah - it's not surprising you take longer to recover!

EachPeachPearMum Mon 11-May-09 21:55:07

Sorry to demur, wmmc... as I normally am in awe of your knowledge in all matters... but I had a cs 13 weeks ago... it was my 2nd, and I have had no pain or twinges since week 5... I would be going back to the doctors tbh cocodrillo.

I did feel as though I'd been hit by a train for the first week mind you.

EachPeachPearMum envy. I believe some lucky cows other people have no pain after week 6 but it is major abdominal surgery and pain for longer shouldn't be such a surprise when you acknowledge how invasive the surgery is in terms of cutting through central muscles which are used for the majority of movements!

EachPeachPearMum Mon 11-May-09 23:15:44

Well, your experience is slightly out of the norm... well- it was a f'ing travesty really... but thats a whole different thread.
I guess I'm just lucky- first time I had no pain after 5 weeks either.

But pmsl @ the though of doing exercise... no idea when that will start again.

Cocodrillo Tue 12-May-09 09:23:03

No pain when I cough, thank goodness. You poor thing, WMMC.

I will go back to docs in a couple of weeks, but am beginning to wonder if I overdid it a bit in the early days - I have a 4 yo and a 2 yo, as well as the new baby.

Doc did say to go swimming! Er ... How? When?

EachPeachPearMum Tue 12-May-09 11:19:52

Hah! hmm At our pool you're only allowed 2 children per adult... so that's probably completely out for you!

You have an extra child to be jumping on you than wmmc and I... yes I can imagine recovery would be much longer and more difficult. Hat off to you- I have no idea how you manage a baby plus 2 little ones! smile

endless Tue 12-May-09 11:22:15

me too, my abdomen hurt for about 12 months after c section.
If i walked too far or too quickly, if i stood up too quickly.
was a bit disabling have to say

Funnily enough I met up with my surgeon today for something else and he said that women with good muscle tone find it harder recovering because they are used to having a good supporting muscle network which works like a girdle to support the upper body which is very badly damaged by a caesarian and can take months and months to recover fully.

Which made me feel slightly better about it. Except then he went on to remind me that if I gain ten pounds or get pregnant again I'm in deep doo-doo because my mesh (which corrects the hernia) will probably break and I'll have to have major abdominal surgery to correct it! hmm So I guess my exercise is self-preservation!!!

Castiel Tue 12-May-09 19:56:46

I think the recovery period varies from woman to woman. Some have pain months later, others have no pain from early on. I was very lucky that it didn't hurt at all after a couple of days but I put this down to luck and nothing else. A friend still has pain when she pulls up or moves suddenly and she's 18 months post cs.

Cocodrillo Tue 12-May-09 21:23:34

endless are you fine now?

Thanks eachpeachpearmum. I don't particularly manage! But the kids are fed and dressed (so far), so am muddling through.

sad WMMC. It's crap what women have to put up with to have children.

Weirdly I had no pain at all straight after the op, it's now that I'm suffering most. I was very pro-CS a couple of days in. But then I got a massive haematoma, an infection in my wound and now this ongoing pain.

Has your friend asked the doc about her pain and whether she can expect to recover fully Castiel?

Ah don't feel sorry for me Cocodrillo, thanks to the hernia I have lost quite a bit of weight and shop in the children's depts, so I don't pay VAT on my jeans! grin

Interesting you had an infection though - are you sure that was all healed okay - did you have a clear set of swabs to show no more infection or did you just get pills thrown at you and were told to come back? If it's the latter might be worth getting a fresh swab (ha, you'll be lucky, they have all been used up testing for swine flu but you could try), to check whether the infection is still there. You can get pockets of infection which fester for months if you don't kill the bugs entirely.

If it is an infection, at this point, you will be having some hard core antibiotics (cefalexin etc) which will make you feel very shitty for a week or two but which do work.

However, some people do get adhesions very easily and have pain years after ops. My mum has some abdo adhesions she received after surgery forty years ago and they still hurt! But it's less likely with modern surgical methods because they take more care knitting you back together (hopefully).

anjlix Wed 13-May-09 12:45:08

Cocodrillo I had c-section 5 months ago and my stomach is still tender when pressed. If I walk too much I start getting various pains in tha region. I saw an Osteopath and he basically said that my core muscles got really weakened during my twin pregnancy and c-section. I am on a rehab program to improve under his guidance. Week 1 is over I can feel the difference. All I did was some specific crunches twice a day, 4-5 assisted (bydh) stretches and climbing stairs very slowly with abdomen sucked in. Does not take more than 30mins.

You don't sound too bad when I compare you to me, may be you just need some guided training for your weak spots. I had a slow recovery and could not even walk a mile outside until 12 weeks.

Cocodrillo Sat 16-May-09 20:10:33

interesting post anjlix. My abs were bad even before this CS, so I suppose they are now shot to pieces...

WMMC don't at all like the idea of pockets of infection festering away, but will bear in mind, as they didn't ever check that infection had cleared - just assumed all ok as wound had healed up.

jellybeans Wed 20-May-09 14:49:25

Hi I have had 3 sections. Every time have felt pain for up to a year. They diagnosed IBS as there was nothing obvious! But I think it's just healing/scar tissue. It's been 6 months since my 3rd c/s and my scar still hurts and tummy area. MUCH harder than normal birth!!! (I have had 2 of them with severe tears...still better than c/s)

Cocodrillo Wed 20-May-09 20:46:56

Thanks jellybeans. I think people are led to believe that a CS is far less traumatic to the body than it actually is. Or can be, at any rate.

MamaG Wed 20-May-09 20:51:44

coco i had a cs 6 months ago, having previously had 2 vag births

What a complete shock it was, the recovery and everything

I really struggld, I don't mind admitting it. I get the odd twinge now and again, sort of an ache but i'm 99% now

but hahahahahahaha at doing sit ups 9 weeks post cs! WMMC you are bonkers grin

Cocodrillo Wed 20-May-09 20:59:07

I'm quite traumatized by mine. It was an elective (though I still think with good reason), so I have the whole 'what if' thing.

My vaginal births were in the distant past by
this stage, I'd forgotten them 3 months down the line.

Am also distraught about the horrible pouch that now sits over my CS wound. I feel very self-conscious about it, and it's caused me to turn quite Victorian with DH.

MamaG Wed 20-May-09 21:03:33

you're not alone coco!

I still feel upset about mine. Silly as BabyG wouldn't be here safely if I hadn't had him by CS, but it is ok to mourn the birth you didn't have

Cocodrillo Sat 23-May-09 19:21:00

thanks for the link, MamaG.
I have very mixed feelings about my CS, but I know rationally that my lovely DS was totally worth it.

FabulousBakerGirl Sat 23-May-09 19:22:17

I am getting pain from inside with my scar, feels like pulling. I had my baby in 2001.

anjlix Mon 25-May-09 12:54:04

Cocodrillo try to invest some time on your recovery if you can. Osteopath is totally working for me. In one month I can feel the difference. I wont say I am 100% but I am getting better by leaps every week.

Cocodrillo Wed 10-Jun-09 22:21:26

Now waiting for an ultrasound appointment to investigate what is going on. Thanks again for the replies. I still feel a bit down and bitter about the whole CS experience, just silly little things like not being able to carry DS comfortably in a sling...

kid Wed 10-Jun-09 22:25:43

My last baby was born in 2002 and that was my second c-section. I get lots of pain on one side but its due to scar tissue. I had a scan done as the Dr didn't think it should be so painful, turns out its quite common. The only way to stop the pain for me would be surgery to remove the scar tissue. But that would create more scar tissue so not worth it really!

I didn't think they cut through the muscles, I thought they moved them out of the way. Not sure though.

dottyaboutstripes Thu 11-Jun-09 14:29:03

I am wishing I hadn't read this thread.....I had my 6th baby 2 weeks ago today - my first c-section. Now I am worried!!! GULP!

cocodrillo I hope you get some answers, let us know, won't you?

tsm Mon 24-May-10 15:39:50

I have had 2 caesarian sections, 12 and 9 years ago. 2 years ago I started having severe abdominal pain around the time of ovulation, but not every month. A laparoscopy to detect adhesions has been suggested. Has anyone had similar symptoms, this long after birth?

Finemiche Mon 28-May-12 15:29:11

I have had 4 C Sections in 4 years. The last one was 7 mths ago i still have pains in my stomach if i roll over to fast, sit up too fast or even lean on the counter when i am washing dishes. The doctor told me that i have adhesion's and a lot of scar tissue, i also tend to get burning sensations in the lower area of my stomach. The pain is excruciating at times so i guess that some of you are still lucky compared to me not to mention the fact that i have four kids all under 5 years of age to see about, thank GOD for my husband or else i might not be sane.

elizaregina Mon 28-May-12 20:10:57

wow 4 sections in four years! That must have been so gruelling to put yourself through?

Raven78 Tue 26-Jun-12 08:46:51

Hi. Sorry yo hear you are still in pain. I had an elcs, my second, 20 months ago and I am still in a lot of pain. It took me 13 months of going back again and again to my obs who didnt give a sh*t by the way. I was also seeing a womens health physio and doing all the abdominal work and massage on abdomen and nothing happened. Eventually I saw another gynae and another womens health physio and they both concluded, separately that one side of my pelvic floor was elevated, or in spasm and causing pain all over that side of my abdomen. I had no pain at the site of the problem and it was all referring up to around my scar. I have just finished 6 months of weekly internal trigger point therapy and dry needling of the problem area in the pelvic floor. It is not much better at all Im afraid to say. I am in pain every day, I havent been able to return to work and I have 2 kids to mind with a DH that is sick listening to me. At this stage I just cry all day from the time I get up until I go to bed. I dont want to frighten you but Im being told if the problem had been detected sooner it would have been easier to treat and I wouldnt have gotten so depressed about everything, which is never going to help where pain is concerned. Apparently this is a common enough thing to happen after pregnancy/c section and research is just out in last year or so to identify it as cause of ongoing pain in abdomen after a c section.

kitstwins Wed 27-Jun-12 12:44:40

I've had two emergency sections. First, for twins, was grisly but I was back to 90% after four weeks although didn't start running until about 12 weeks post-section. The scar line had adhesions and 'pulled' on occasion, and in wet or damp weather it could feel twingy (weird!). Other than that, all okay.

Second time around I took things really slowly. I scarcely left the sofa, didn't lift, didn't do too much. In short, I did everything to maximise my recovery. I still felt bloody awful and no better by 4 weeks post-section, which I'd been holding out as my 'recovery benchmark' from last time. I went back to A&E a few times, saw my GP and even had abdominal ultrasound to check for any problems. Nothing, they simply said I was 'overdoing it' or may have had nerve damage.

At 6 weeks I suddenly developed a temperature, rock-hard abdomen with a big, red, hot raised area around my scar. Turns out I'd had an infection bubbling away in there for 6 weeks which had finally flared up. It wasn't in the scar, which had healed fine, but deep in the muscle/underlying tissue. Ironically, had I not taken things so easily and 'overdone' things a bit it probably would have flared up earlier. As it was, I ended up in A&E & got a massive dose of antibiotics. The infection cleared and I felt fine within a week. It made a massive difference. And there was I thinking and being made to think that it was all in my head; that I was being a bit of a drama queen about it all. Aside from the relief at finally getting it bloody sorted and feeling halfway towards human again, I remember thinking "I knew it!". I knew it had been more than I thought or was told.

I'm not saying you've got an infection at all but I am saying that if you don't feel right then go and see your GP or ask to see a consultant at the hospital. They can perform an ultrasound scan and do some blood tests. They checked me for infection via blood test on a couple of occasions and said I didn't have it, but as a (finally) switched on doctor pointed out, when it starts showing in your blood then things are at a different stage. It doesn't always have to show up on blood tests for it to cause debilitation and pain. Certainly I was side-swiped and scarcely mobile at 5 weeks post-section when I still wasn't presenting 'infection' in my blood tests.

I do think 3 months is a long time to still be feeling shit and in pain. Twinges are normal as the muscle heals, but anything more should always be checked. Is the pain a burning sensation? This can be nerve damage, which standard painkillers won't help (you need neuralgic 'painkillers' - usually micro doses of anti-depressants). It will pass as the nerves heal again but it can take time. Either way, go back to the doctor and tell them you don't feel right. Be specific and detailed and forceful about the degree of pain. If it helps, keep a 'pain diary' for a couple of days beforehand. Write down when it hurt (& what you were doing at the time, if anything) and how it felt (burning, achy, sharp, pulling, tender).

Hope this epic reply is of some use. Congratulations on your baby!
You will heal. You will feel normal again.

Mond Thu 20-Dec-12 17:35:38


I know this is a really old thread but hoping some of you have seen the results a couple of years down the line?

Crocodillo - How are you feeling , did your pain go away?

I am 5 months post section after 2 natural births and I am still in pain in my tummy area = struggle to lift car seat or pram and struggle generally with life with three kids and not being able to lift anything

I have had 5 infections in my womb and scar but am now clear of all of them - I have had a scan - nothing showed up _ Im now going to see a private a gynae who can hopefully shed some light - IF it is scar tissue how long does this take to heal? - and what sort of pain is adhesions??

My opain is like a tender bruised feeling across my belly.

Pleas tell me yours got better eventually!!

christa10 Tue 01-Jan-13 10:43:42

I had natural birth first time and elective c-section 2nd time round. I had a lot of pain for about 6 weeks after c-section and was convinced I had an infection even though I didn't have a fever or discharge etc. Well turned out I was fine- no infection. I just took longer to heal than some people. Friends would look at me with pity and tell me that they recovered in 2 weeks which made me more worried that something was wrong with me. There wasn't. I just healed differently than them. At 4 weeks I went for my first little walk down the road which was hard and after that I did little walks everyday and it actually sped up my recovery. After about 8 weeks the twinges disappeared and I was able to carry a heavy pushchair, car seat with baby etc. So don't get too worried reading all the posts on here. I know the people posting don't intend to worry anyone and are just sharing their experiences. But its easy to get alarmed reading all the bad cases and thinking the same is going to happen to you. I know I did and it made me worry more than I should have. To those who are still suffering and have had prolonged pain I feel for you because I know how bad I felt for the first few weeks. I hope and pray that you will recover and be able to look after your babies pain free.

KatieDingus Thu 10-Jan-13 14:52:34

I had an emcs with ds, my 1st, 5months ago and l still get twinges and pains. I have been worried but reading this thread has put my mind at rest as it sounds normal and it is easing, just very slowly!

Mond Tue 22-Jan-13 20:10:37


YOu must have had baby similar time to me? - Ds No 3 born 18 July 2012.

I went to see a gynae last week as I still wpouldnt fancy pushing a pram a mile, and carrying a couple of shopping bags from tesco to the car leaves me in muscular pain in the abdomen the next day - I regularly played netball and horse riding before the baby arrived and I couldnt dream of doing that now

Does that sound familiar to you?


ow did your recovery go?

mobellydance Sat 09-Feb-13 21:23:45

Thanks for posting this thread. i've also suddenly started getting pain 11 weeks after my section, having initially recovered well. Hopefully it's something and nothing, but going to see the gp just in case, as I have had some blood when going to the loo too.... My section was unavoidable really... failure to progress with a breech birth... But I do wish they would give you a clearer idea of what to expect after the surgery. But having read this thread I'm a lot less worried!

FergusSingsTheBlues Sat 16-Mar-13 17:07:26

Glad to read this thread two weeks after my csection and wondering if ive been doing too much....clearly yes, been out walking, housework, hoovering ironing and today woke up with super painful tummy and backache.

my cesction was elective and the best day of my life unlike the previous birth....psycholocally i feel fantastico, so frustrated at the tummy issues though

rainbowface Mon 18-Mar-13 13:46:41

Hi everyone, I had a c section 8 weeks ago, due to baby being breech. Have had normal deliveries before and have been a bit down and generally shocked at how different I feel this time post birth. I had no idea recovery would be so slow you just arent told at the time. Anyway just wanted to ask how soon was it before you felt like sex again or when it is safe - bearing in mind internal stitches (sorry if thats a bit to the point - have been too embarrassed to ask HV). Also how long did you bleed for afterwards? My bleeding seems to be stopping and starting altho is now just slight. TIA.

QTPie Mon 18-Mar-13 15:01:21

Sex should be fine 8 weeks after CS.

Rainbowface, are you bfing or bottle feeding. A second bleed could be your period (less likely with bfing) or it cold be a sign hat you are "overdoing" things.

shock at housework, hoovering and ironing two weeks after an ELCS.... Yes a C Section is "giving birth", but it is also very major surgery. If your Mum had a hysterectomy, would you expect her to do the housework, hoovering and ironing 6 weeks afterwards? Or would you insist she put her feet up? Do as little as possible that isn't baby related...

rainbowface Mon 18-Mar-13 16:07:16

Thanks for your reply. I am bottle feeding. It doesnt look like a period and it is very much there one day not there the next. Have had it the last three days thou. Just not sure whether to mention it to the hv or not. How long is normal to bleed after a cs? I had ragged membranes as well, so I guess I am worrying a bit.

QTPie Mon 18-Mar-13 22:27:58

I think that bleeds post-CS (and normal birth) can vary so much from person to person.

Personally I bled for about a week, then nothing for a few days, then started again (much heavier than before) and I bled for about 6 weeks... It generally decreased, but I bled more if I "overdid" things.

Your first period/s after birth can be quite odd: it can take a few months to get back to normal. I don't think it is uncommon to have your first period 8 weeks after delivery if you bottle feed.

HV doesn't tend to be much use at all with "mummy issues": they are there for the baby and not for us. If you are worried, then speak to a GP. In general, if the blood/discharge looks and smells (sorry TMI) "ok", you feel well within yourself (hard to judge after a birth or a CS!) and/or you don't have a fever, you should be ok... My guess (assuming all is otherwise ok) is it is either your period or over-doing things, BUT it never ever hurts to get yourself checked out.

rainbowface Tue 19-Mar-13 11:38:42

Thanks QTpie. I think it has just felt completely different this time post birth. I never expected to have a cs and dont feel I was given that much info afterwards re the fact that I had a scar to be careful of. I was only really told dont get it wet! I saw the retained membranes on my notes but didnt know what it meant til I asked at my 6 week check. Since then I have been panicking a bit about any bleeding.

QTPie Tue 19-Mar-13 16:52:27

Oh dear me, that is terrible care, am very sorry: they should give you more information sad

A CS is both a birth and a major operation too: recovery shouldn't really be "bad", but you should really take it as easy as possible (since overdoing it can give issues).

IrisGirl Tue 19-Mar-13 21:52:23

hi ladies.....i had a c-section (emergency due to non-progression at 9cms ggrrr) and to this day (DD is now 2.4) my stomach is still "numb" when touched on the outside, but i can feel pins and needles on the inside if that makes sense. no pain or anything but if i over do it when cleaning etc sometimes it feels like my someone has grabbed my stomach and is twisting it slowly and painfully from the inside, when this happens i'm literally on my knees deep breathing like i'm about to give birth lol. couple of minutes and it passes!! have spoken to doctor about it but told this is completely normal and not to worry...few women i have spoken to about it have funnily enough all mentioned the numbness in the stomach??

it certainly doesn't stop me doing whatever i want to do, but it is painful if i over do it!!

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