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What pain relief should I take to hospital for post section pain?

(41 Posts)
Loopylouu Mon 10-Mar-14 14:40:57

I wasn't offered much in the way of pain relief after my first section - it was paracetamol, which I find about as useful as fairy dust at the best of times, offered at sporadic times. I actually thought the midwife was joking when she offered me two paracetamol, sadly, she wasn't

I want to be prepared this time, so what shall I take in? Whats the strongest over the counter painkiller I can buy at the chemist?

KatoPotato Mon 10-Mar-14 14:44:50

I had morphine and diflofenic, but I came off them by day two as they mad me feel worse. Think it was just paracetamol after that, but the hospital wil sort that for you, I'm quite sure it's not you responsibility to self medicate on their wards, and in fact couldn't they could get in trouble if something happened to you?

Loopylouu Mon 10-Mar-14 14:55:48

You'd think wouldn't you?

But my experience of my first section was a shot of something (morphine?) in my thigh once the epidural was wearing off, then jack shit. I had to repeatedly ask for pain relief, kept being told they were run of their feet, told off for ringing the buzzer and then finally being offered paracetamol, which doesn't even touch a headache in me, let alone the pain from major surgery. They didn't even offer me that at regular intervals.

So I really want to be prepared this time. Especially as I'm going to a hospital with an appalling reputation for postnatal care.

DeMaz Mon 10-Mar-14 15:30:37

They offered me morphine which I refused! I was then offered paracetamol, ibuprofen and codeine! They all helped me.

ShatnersBassoon Mon 10-Mar-14 15:33:47

It wouldn't be a good idea to take your own medication in. It's very easy to get confused with lack of sleep and not being sure what you've been given.

Be assertive if you find the pain relief they're giving you isn't sufficient.

amandine07 Mon 10-Mar-14 15:34:11

I sympathise thoroughly OP!
Had my first CS at the start of year, the PN ward was shockingly awful- despite me hearing about how crap it was prior, didn't believe it til I saw for myself!

Had regular paracetamol and Ibuprofen- for me this was not enough, I know there are women who don't need more than a couple of paracetamol post section but I think they're in the minority.

I had oral morphine prescribed 'as required' but getting hold of it when I required it was almost impossible! Ward was chaotic, short staffed etc.

The drug rounds seemed to happen randomly, you never knew when you'd get your next dose- unless you buzzed for a midwife, even then they didn't always agree to give me my meds!

I kept paracetamol in my handbag- took when I was hanging on for the drug trolley which never appeared. Then told them what I'd taken so they could cross it off on my chart to show I'd had some. Wish I'd taken some Ibuprofen too!

Not ideal to self medicate at all but judging by the state of some PN wards you're better off than being left at the mercy of staff.
Paracetamol, ibuprofen, oh and bring your own laxatives- getting any senna or lactulose was almost impossible on my PN ward and believe me it's better to prevent than cure!
Good luck!

amandine07 Mon 10-Mar-14 15:35:58

PS I kept track of what medications I'd had on my mobile phone.

amandine07 Mon 10-Mar-14 15:39:50

Oh poor you- your experience sounds very similar to mine!
I naively went in thinking I'd get morphine because it had been prescribed for me on my drug chart.

You'd think that wouldn't you?!

We'd like another baby in the future, I would definitely bring my own pain relief (& laxatives!) just in case.

amandine07 Mon 10-Mar-14 15:46:16


I was assertive asking for the pain relief I required- ringing the buzzer, even during the night- at first I was a bit wary of this but once the pain really kicked in, I rationalised that the stuff were there to do their job, not sit around the nursing station reading magazines & eating biscuits!

I asked any member of staff who came by, which wasn't often, as being in a bay of women staff don't just tend to walk by or come in.
When my OH and family visited I sent them to ask for me.

Believe me, I tried to be assertive but they had lots of excuses why I couldn't have my meds, my drug chart even went missing for a few hours!

Those are my reasons for bringing my own medications in! I wouldn't necessarily advise others to do the same, but if you've had a previous bad experience and are fairly switched on I don't see the problem.

expatinscotland Mon 10-Mar-14 15:49:41

I'd see if the GP would be willing to prescribe codeine. Otherwise, go in with Solpadine Max and Volterol.

I took my own drugs in with my third.

cravingcake Mon 10-Mar-14 15:54:11

I took my own paracetamol, ibuprofen & codeine (was prescribed 4 boxes in late pregnancy). Before my section the midwife asked me if i had my own pain relief, to which she said i couldnt take codeine if breastfeeding (but yet it was fine for me to take while pregnant??).

They presribed me oral morphine as required and i had it a few times over the first 2 days.

Its easy to keep track of, i just had a little note pad and wrote down the time & what i'd had.

HappyAsEyeAm Mon 10-Mar-14 15:56:28

I completely understand where you are coming from.

I have had two CS, both EMCS. After my first, I got a shot of morphine in my thigh (like you) after the epidural wore off, and then only paracetemol and ibuprofen. The midwife said that she had only taken paracetemol after breaking her back, and she didn't need anything else so that was conversation over shock. I took lots of hemeopathic remedies too.

When I was pregnant with DC2, I made it a condition of me agreeing to attempt a VBAC that if I did end up with an EMCS, I would be given more pain relief this time round. I had it written into my notes that I should be prescribed diplofenac. Sure enough I ended up with another EMCS for failure to progres (I love that term) and I pushed for the dipolfenac afterwards. I got massive resistance as I was told that if I was BFing (which I was) then i couldn't have it. I had to refer back to my notes and then, when it was still not forthcoming, chase and chase for it. I said that they were not discharging me without it.

I think it is really sad that you have to push for pain releief after surgery. I thought, in my naivety, that women in the 21st century would be better looked after than that. I could not get my head around not being offered pain releif. I really could not get my head around being refused pain releif after asking for it, especially when it was writtn in my notes. I was made to feel weak and that I was creating a fuss by asking for pain releief after major surgery, to take home, with my newborn and look after an older child too.

Push for whatever you feel you need. Be a pain in the arse. Make it part of your care plan in writing and I completely get you wanting whatever you can buy over the counter with you in case you need it. It is always best to stay on top of pain than have to treat it, especially when you're vulnerable, recovering from birth, and also tending to/feeding a newborn.

Loopylouu Mon 10-Mar-14 16:14:58

I did try being assertive, as another poster said they were too, but I was still ignored. Actually, I was shouted at that I should try working in their environment if I wanted to see what busy was while they were drinking tea and taking about celeb big brother behind the desk hmm

I can't believe it's such a problem to prove a patient with pain relief after surgery.

And OMG, yes, lactulose! I will be taking a big bottle.

I am already taking it actually, and will continue to do so until well after the section (I remember the first post section poo like it was yesterday, I thought i'd split every stitch in my body!)

I had to ask for that too post section. I was told to take 5mls in the morning for two days. Well, that did nothing. It was only when I was prescribed it last week and the doe was 15mls TWICE a day that I finally realised they just hand't given me enough. It's lactose ffs, not liquid gold!

I was also mightily pissed off when I read my chart to see that they had written that I had been given meds on a regular basis. I went to kick up a stink, but I got 'told off' as apparently I shouldn't have read the notes at the end of my bed as they were for medical staff only. I was too tired and too in pain to fight.

Ds was in SCBU by then, so after 24 hours I just walked out of the ward and never went back.

Loopylouu Mon 10-Mar-14 16:16:05

Oh, and when I had my misscarriage I went to the chemist and asked for the strongest pain relief, I actually remember that helping. I think I've still got some left so I'll dig it out later and see what it was.

amandine07 Mon 10-Mar-14 16:21:13


I completely agree with everything you have written!
What I found scary on the PN ward was that the midwives seemed to be making it their decision whether I needed more pain relief or not!

As if a grown woman was incapable of making the judgement whether they required something a bit stronger than paracetamol...for things that are already prescribed for you on your drug chart, I found it unbelievable that you had to fight for it!

The midwives seemed to justify it by making comments about CS not being an easy option (had maternal request CS although baby was breech in the end!) and that CS is a very painful thing...I was there thinking- then get the fucking drugs out you moron!!

All very fresh in the memory for me! blush

Loopylouu Mon 10-Mar-14 16:32:02

amandine07 I think part of the reason I was treated so badly on the postnatal ward is that my section was elective (maternal request here too, no medical need).

I had a few really shitty comments from midwives about CS not being the easy option (one that sticks in my mind was 'see, not all a bed of roses is it? Bed you wish you'd pushed now') as well as other snide remarks and being very sympathetic to the woman in the next bed who'd had a hideous emergency section, while making digs like 'and some silly girls choose this, they are mad, aren't they?' while sneering at me.

One midwife was even saying talking about the pain after her hysterectomy, thank god for the drugs after etc - while refusing to get me anything as she was doing paperwork!

Sorry off on a tangent there!

TheScience Mon 10-Mar-14 16:50:29

That sounds awful! I was given morphine and diclofenac just after a forceps birth.

You can get diclofenac (voltarol) or ibuprofen otc to take in, but only take one or the other not both.

TheScience Mon 10-Mar-14 16:53:49

If you do take codeine, it is worth reading this if you are going to breastfeed -

littleducks Mon 10-Mar-14 17:05:42

When I had dc3 codeine is no longer given to breast feeding mothers (pretty recent as dr prescribed it but pharmacist came round and said it wasn't suitable and only a few MWs knew about this)

I found this via google;

(1) (4).pdf

Loopylouu Mon 10-Mar-14 17:34:49

Ok, so Can I buy volterol over the counter?

The stuff I took during my mc contained codeine, so I guess that's out of the question.

I have already spoken to my lovely consultant about my worries re pain relief, she tried to reassure me that all will be well, but I am not holding out hope after my experience of midwives on the PN ward the last time!

I hope that this time round will be better, I just want a backup if I am left in agony again at 2am.

elliejjtiny Mon 10-Mar-14 17:56:57

When I had DS4 the drugs trolley came at 6:00, 10:00 and 2:00. I made sure that was also my expressing time so I would always be awake and sat on my bed at drug time. We could have codeine, paracetamol and ibuprofen. We were also allowed morphine but that was only meant to be given on day 1. I asked for it on day 3 for afterpains from hell and the midwife said no but the student midwife had 4 children and persuaded her that afterpains with a 4th really are that bad. I was still in agony after all that lot though. I've done childbirth with no pain relief but the post C-section pain was worse.

HappyAsEyeAm Mon 10-Mar-14 20:00:06

Amandine07, Sorry for all the typos, I was posting in an enormous rush. I know, its shocking isn't it. I hope you're recovering ok if your c section was recent.

Op, good luck with being a pain in the arse. Yes, you can buy voltarol over the counter.

amandine07 Mon 10-Mar-14 23:11:18

Very interesting comments you have made about your post-CS treatment!

I too had the vague feeling that I was being treated pretty harshly with the difficulties in getting adequate pain relief & little digging comments regarding CS.

At the time I pushed it to the back of my mind and thought "surely not, these are healthcare professionals"!
But the more I reflect on the experience, the more I wish I could've given a few of them a punch in the face!

Honestly, the day after was the worst as my meds had been late the evening of my CS so I was playing catch up with I was then literally dragged out of bed to the shower.

I wanted to get up & about but I was begging for some pain relief prior to this which would've helped me along.

Oh god the more I think about it, the more I realise how awful it was...sorry, but those members of staff were pretty evil in my opinion, totally lacking in compassion & professionalism.

Also, I remember the women in the bed next to me had an emergency CS, staff were rushing about to get her pain relief before making her get up.

If I could've crawled out the door I would've self discharged...was such a relief to go home so I could be more in control of my pain relief medications.

Thank you for starting this thread OP!

Women need to realise that you can be reassured by the doctors but once you reach the PN ward you really are at the mercy of the staff there- it's a place doctors avoid and only come if there's a big problem.

Also I'd be blunt and say if you're having a CS for maternal request, take your own meds too including laxatives! You may find, as I did, that the midwives are not keen on providing analgesia.

I'm not having a pop at midwives, I'm just saying that in my experience I think I was judged for having a maternal request CS and treated appallingly.
I wrote a very long & detailed letter to PALS afterwards!

amandine07 Mon 10-Mar-14 23:22:50

Thank you, it was 8 weeks ago so I remember every detail clearly!
Once I left the PN ward things got better & better...feeling like I'm well recovered but not quite totally back to normal yet.

Lactulose- you need at least 10 or 15mls twice a day with lots of water to have any effect. In hindsight I should've started taking it prior to the CS...again, I struggled to get them to give it to me on the ward & had fucking horrendous constipation, it was impacted and almost needed my GP to prescribe me an enema.

My first poo was hidious I was in tears! Plus, having spent nearly a hour on the loo I sat there thinking over & over my experiences on the PN ward, begging for pain relief, being rationed lactulose like it was gold dust or something...and then feeling really angry at how the midwives had treated me....!

Apologies blush it feels good to rant on here...I hope this helps prepare other women, just in case they have a similarly shit PN ward!

Loopylouu Tue 11-Mar-14 10:54:11

Gosh, well I was awake half the night worrying about the post natal experience after thinking it all through yesterday!

I am hoping to go to the private wing of the hospital after the birth, but I am not holding my breath as a) it's the Lindo Wing at St. Marys and priority goes to private patients (I am having my baby on the NHS as the lovely private consultant took pity on me as I am not loaded and said she'd do it on the NHS if I can manage to hold on until the one day she can fit me in!), since the royal birth it's become v popular and so I reckon it will be full and b) you have to get a dr to sign you off to go there - ever tried finding a dr on a postnatal ward?? i'll have to be very pushy.

Have a feeling I will end up on the dire NHS postnatal ward. I saw it on the tour, St. Mary's is so old that it looks like a Victorian workhouse.

Dh thinks it's crazy that I am more worried about aftercare than the actual operation, but after such a bad experience last time (different hospital) I am expecting the worst.

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