afterpain


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afterpain

 [af´ter-pān″]
pain that follows expulsion of the placenta, due to contraction of the uterus, seen particularly in multiparas due to vigorous periodic contractions of the puerperal uterus. It is noticeable particularly when the infant nurses, and may be severe; the intensity usually decreases to become mild by the third day postpartum.

afterpain

Etymology: AS, aefter + Gk, poine, penalty
one of many contractions of the uterus common during the first days after childbirth. Afterpains tend to be strongest during breastfeeding, in multiparas, after the birth of large babies, and after overdistention of the uterus. They usually resolve spontaneously but may require analgesia. The nurse reassures the mother that afterpains are normal and are an indication that the uterus is contracting as it should.

afterpain

(af′tĕr-pān″)
Uterine cramping caused by contraction of the uterus and commonly seen in multiparas during the first few days after childbirth. The pains are more severe during breastfeeding but rarely last longer than 48 hr postpartum.

Patient care

Emptying the bladder can relieve pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be useful; they should be given with food before nursing. Some women obtain relief lying on their stomachs. Aspirin should not be given if there is a tendency to bleed. The sooner an analgesic is given, the less is needed.

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