I recently wrote about fundal massage after delivery. That’s definitely a post to check into if you’ve never heard of a fundal massage.
And no, it’s not fun. But it may be necessary.
Fundal assessment postpartum helps to make sure you don’t have a postpartum hemorrhage. Basically, they’re trying to keep you alive, even if it does feel like a form of torture.
Fundal checks after c-section occur, too, as they need to see the fundus level after delivery. This top portion of your uterus (the fundus) should be inspected by your doctor or nurses at the hospital.
For vaginal or c-section deliveries, they often perform this type of massage. Knowing more about it can help you understand if you need it in your particular situation. I recommend talking to your OB about all of this ahead of your delivery, no matter what you’re planning.
How often do you check the fundus after delivery?
The nurses or your doctor will come to check your fundus after delivery roughly every 15 minutes. They’ll also take your vitals and check for bleeding. The purpose is to prevent hemorrhaging.
Why is fundal massage so important in postpartum?
Fundal checks postpartum can help with preventing hemorrhages, as I mentioned. It can also reduce your pain, even though that seems quite ironic since it’s not exactly soothing.
Fundal massage may also reduce the need for medications that can make your uterus contract. It needs to do so in order to get back down to size and push out any remaining birthing fluids.
If your uterus is soft to the touch rather than firm, a fundal massage will most likely be performed to prevent problems and keep you healthy.
How to massage fundus after delivery?
Usually, the nurses or your doctor will come in to perform a fundal massage on you after birth. However, you may be able to do it yourself.
BUT! And I say this with urgency here – please do NOT do it yourself without first getting your doctor’s approval.
Medical professionals are trained in fundal massage. But you aren’t. You could cause yourself unnecessary pain or bring damage to your uterus.
A fundal massage is performed when you are lying flat on your back. They press their palms flat on your abdomen around your belly button. If the uterus is hard when they press down and causes resistance, they will not massage the area.
If it is soft, the massage is usually recommended.
At this point, they will cup a hand slightly and move it in a slow, circular motion over your lower abdomen. If you did this yourself, you would want to do it until you feel your uterus contract. It will feel firm when it does, and it will be a bit uncomfortable. However, the feeling will pass.
Naturally, as they’re doing it, you’ll probably wail in pain as I did. They’ll continue to do this for up to a minute. Then they’ll likely come back and recheck you.
I strongly advise you not to try to perform a fundal massage on yourself without getting permission from your doctor. You could cause damage if you’re not doing it right, plus if your uterus is firm, it is not recommended. So, ask the doctor about fundal checks after delivery first and how you can monitor your need for them!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.