I clearly remember lying in the hospital bed after having my eldest by c-section. I was thinking, “I’m NEVER doing this again.”
Spoiler alert: I indeed did it again.
Anyway, I was lucky that I underwent only the usual unpleasantness following this kind of surgery. It’s not exactly a relaxing time in a woman’s life.
Anyone that has had surgery for any reason will know this. Your body goes through A LOT during surgery. But when it involves bringing another person into the world, it goes through even more.
I don’t want to make you gag, but the stuff they have to cut through to open you up and get that baby… it’s muscle tissues, organs, nerves, and other things. In fact, if you have a sharp stabbing pain on the right side after a c-section, it very well could be nerve damage.
What is associated with nerve issues?
Nerve pain will present in interesting ways. For some, it could feel like a burning sensation. For others, it could be shooting or stabbing, even searing pain. You may even feel pins and needles feeling in a specific part of your body like you’ve been hit with an electric shock.
Sometimes, this can happen after a c-section. It’s not something caused by a wrong move on your surgeon’s part, though. They have to cut through all that stuff to help you deliver your baby, and nerves will be cut in the process.
Like everything else they cut through, these things should heal.
But sometimes, they don’t.
On the plus side, you rarely have long-term nerve injury after your c-section. It will depend on which nerves have been damaged.
What nerves could be damaged with a c-section surgery?
Do you feel a bit of pain around the edges of your c-section scar? If so, that could be the ilioinguinal, iliohypogastric, or genitofemoral nerves that have been affected. When you push on this area, it is not those nerves if you feel no pain.
Surgeons will always try to avoid those nerves as much as they can. However, those 3 nerves are close to where your doctor will need to make the incision.
If your painful sensations keep you from feeling comfortable, it’s more likely that your nerves were injured rather than severed. Cut nerves create numbness while injured ones cause pain.
Sometimes, and in rare cases, you may have numbness and pain from cut nerves. This is called anesthesia dolorosa.
But it’s not always nerves getting on your nerves after your c-section. I will cover the most common pains after c-section surgery to give you an idea of what’s happening.
What is causing pelvic pain on the right side after a c-section?
First of all, it is very normal to have some pain after your c-section. It’s major surgery!
You have some stuff in your pelvic area – your reproductive organs, bladder, urethra, colon, rectum, etc. When you are pregnant, your uterus keeps growing in size. This affects your bladder directly, which you probably already know, given how often you have to pee while pregnant.
Pelvic pain after your c-section may persist because the muscles are overstretched in that area. It will take some time for this to heal. Pelvic organ prolapse is a little more painful, though. You may feel pain and notice bulging in the area.
And anything like this, of course, is something you should tell your doctor immediately!
You can do breathing exercises and improve your body mechanics to help, but don’t do it without your doctor’s guidance. It could be something else. Yikes…like what, Leslie?
What if I have stabbing pains in my stomach and lower right abs after a c-section?
Some good news…with a c-section, some sharp stabbing pain on the right side years later is normal. But if it persists, there could be more to it.
As mentioned before, it could be the ilioinguinal nerve. It can impact your surgery since it runs right through that area. That sharp stabbing pain is something you should have checked out by your doctor, but this is the likely cause.
Your doctor may prescribe some medications or give you topical patches for this. There may be a need for injection therapies too. However, you’ll have to check out first to see what’s causing the sharp stabbing pain on your right side years after your c-section.
What’s causing the pain in my ribs on the right side after the c-section?
You may have gallstones if the pain is in your ribs on the right side or between your shoulder blades. Cholelithiasis is the official word for it, brought on by high progesterone and estrogen levels in your body.
The older you are, the greater your risk for gallstones when you give birth. In addition to being over 40 and having a baby, gallstones may come on if:
- You’re obese
- Your cholesterol is high
- Your diet is high in fats
- You have insulin resistance
You can prevent gallstones from forming if you stick to a low-fat diet and avoid high-cholesterol meals. Keeping active is good for you too. You may still get them, but they can be asymptomatic, so you wouldn’t need to treat them.
But if the symptoms keep up, you’ll have to have surgery. Again, let’s not panic here. The point of telling you this is to know what to watch out for and keep an open line of communication with your doctor to help you feel well.
Why do I have sharp stabbing pain in my right hip after my c-section?
Hip pains concerning you after your c-section? This one is so normal; even I remember it happening to me a while ago.
It’s just your body as it recovers from this surgery.
Nerve damage may be causing it, but as mentioned earlier, it heals on its own most of the time. Your incision site develops scar tissue as it recovers. This tissue attaches to the neighboring tissues and, when it does, and can cause hip pain. Back pain too!
And this is yet another reason doctors will tell you to eat healthfully after the baby. It’s not just for breastfeeding. It’s for your own health.
No one will care if you gobble up some foods you’ve been missing. But overall, you should be eating foods with plenty of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C and iron are essential here.
It would be best if you tried to lower your weight (read Linda’s journey here). After having a baby, it does take time to drop the weight you gained, so don’t look for an instant solution. Instead, take steps to be healthy by eating nourishing foods and putting movement into your day.
The more weight you carry on your frame, the harder your body has to strain to keep up. So, talk to your doctor about a plan for getting back on track. And should anything cause you these sorts of pains after your c-section, speak up.
Your doctor won’t laugh if it just turns out to be gas pain or if it’s just the normal process of your body recovering. And if it is something more to be concerned about, your doctor can help you by treating it.
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.