One Postpartum Pain You Should Never Ignore

Written by yvonnethornton on January 14th, 2013

After you’ve delivered your baby, you’re going to feel like you’ve been hit by a bus. Your legs will be sore, your arms will be sore, and your voice will be scratchy from the screaming and crying. Think back to that horrible day you pushed yourself too hard at the gym and could barely walk the next day – now imagine that three times worse and you’ve successfully envisioned the day after delivery. You’ll feel aches and pains in places you didn’t know existed. However, there is one pain in particular you should watch out for. While it might be difficult to discern it from the other aches, a localized pain in your calf should raise alarm.

As opposed to an overall feeling of achiness in your leg, you might feel a singular, pinpointed pain caused by a feeling of pressure. You might also notice that the leg with the pain is swollen, red, and hot in comparison to the other one. This could be a very clear sign of deep vein thrombosis or a blood clot. Studies show that deep vein thrombosis is likely throughout pregnancy, but that in the six weeks postpartum, new moms are at their highest risk for it. This is because the body is slowly re-adjusting and settling back into its normal position, so the blood could move abnormally in the veins. If you notice this pain after you’ve given birth, see your doctor immediately. It might be difficult to get out of the house now that you’ve finally settled in with your newborn, but the consequences of the clot being left untreated could easily be fatal. Even if it’s nothing, it’s better to be safe than sorry in this scenario. Consider this—it’s better to call a relative to watch your little one for a day while you are treated than for a lifetime if you don’t make it.

Many of the aches and pains after you give birth are perfectly harmless, and the chances of you suffering from deep vein thrombosis are actually quite slim. However, while complaining to your partner about the usual pains, stop yourself if you happen to mention anything in your calf because it may be time to see your physician.

 – Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Dr. Thornton, Thank-you so much for your post. So many people think DVT or blood clots are something that happens to “older people”. If we, as public educators, make it know that young people (especially new moms) are at risk, perhaps we can cut the morbidity rate considerably.

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