Although it’s not often talked about, if you gave birth to your baby via a C-section, you could experience postpartum gas and abdominal pain from gas accumulation in your intestines. Gas pain is one of the most common side effects of a C-section. This is completely normal in the few days after delivery. Postpartum gas can be caused by a lot of different things. If you are wondering how to relieve gas after C-section, we have good news for you. There are a few things you can do to relieve gas pain after having a C-section.
Excess air and gas can get trapped in your stomach after an invasive procedure like C- Section. These trapped gases can cause discomfort for several days. It is important to know what helps with gas after a C-section. Though there are a certain do’s & don’ts after a C-section delivery, for any concerns or discomfort caused by the gas, you can speak to your doctor as soon as possible. Postpartum gas pain generally subsides within a few days.
Do C-Sections Make You Gassy?
Yes, you do get gassy after having a C-section. It is one of the major, yet overlooked side effects of a C-section. Many new mothers may not have this information and the gas issue comes as a surprise for them. Many issues can trigger the accumulation of gas after a C-section. Some major reasons for excessive gas after pregnancy are:
- The gastrointestinal tract may not function optimally for a few days following a C-section. The reason for this is that, during the C-section, spinal anaesthesia is given to numb the body waist below to perform the operation. This puts all internal organs, including the bowels, into a passive state
- A little bit of air can be trapped inside the abdomen while the doctors sew up the incision
- Being exposed to air during surgery
- For a clear view of the uterus, the ob-gyn may adjust the position of the small bowel during the C-section. Touching or moving the bowels during surgery can result in gas after a C-section
- Intake of antibiotics results in gas formation
- The gas formation can also occur from painkiller medications given via IV
- Sharp changes in hormone levels after delivery is another culprit
- Pre-surgery eating can influence post-surgery bloating and gas
Related Reading: 40 Days After Delivery – 8 Precautions And 6 Ways To Spend Them
After A C-section, Can You Get Gas Pain In The Shoulders?
The shoulder is one of the last places you’d expect to feel pain after a C-section. But it is fairly common to experience shoulder pain after a C-section. It is mainly due to trapped air.
A buildup of gas in the shoulder area is very common after C-sections and can be extremely painful. Having sluggish bowel movements after surgery may cause gas to press on a nerve that extends to the shoulder, causing shoulder pain. After a C-section, a new mother feels sharp, shooting sensations on her right side. To relieve gas pain in the shoulder after C-section, you will probably be offered anti-gas medications and advised to walk as soon as possible after surgery.
9 Tips To Relieve Gas After C-Section
If you’ve already had your baby and are struggling with the pain, it’s not too late to find ways to lessen your discomfort. Trying these remedies along with taking any medications your OB-GYN may have prescribed for gas pain should get things moving along in no time.
1. Walking or moving around
One of the most helpful things one can do to get rid of trapped gas after a C-section is walking. A C-section is a major operation. Moving around is probably the last thing you want to do with all those aches and pains. But the most effective way to eliminate gas bubbles is to get up and move around.
Because of this, your post-op recovery team will likely recommend that you get up and move as soon as possible after your surgery. When taking a walk seems too daunting at this time, even something as simple as changing your position or moving your legs can ease your gas pain. Walks help to relax your abdominal muscles. A relaxed abdominal muscle will help to release trapped gas. It is the best way to release gas after the C-section.
2. Rock in a chair
If you are having problems getting out of bed and moving after a C-section, sitting up or lying in a rocking chair may help relieve gas. Gas can’t be moved along on its own after a C-section because the digestive system isn’t functioning properly. By rocking back and forth, the intestinal gas buildup is released and abdominal distention is relieved1.
Related Reading: 11 Home Remedies For C-Section Recovery
3. Chewing gum can help
Passing gas is a critical factor in recovery following the C-section. It is one of the first signs that the bowels are working normally again. When you pass gas, it means that the effects of the anesthesia have worn off and your body is operating normally. New research suggests chewing gum three times a day for 30 minutes each time can help women get their gut back to normal after undergoing C-sections.
The gut may function better if you eat soon after the C-section. Postoperative physical condition, however, can make women feel nauseous, which may lead to them not wanting to eat. It may help such women to chew gum. Within two hours of delivery, gum was given to the women to chew for 15 to 30 minutes three times a day. Study participants who chewed gum passed gas around 6.5 hours sooner than those who did not chew gum. This simple, generally inexpensive intervention should be considered for cesarean postoperative care.
4. Warm compress
You could relieve abdominal pain and gas by using hot compresses, such as hot water bottles or heating pads. Warmth can act as an antispasmodic on your outer stomach muscles. Relaxing the gut muscles helps move gas through the intestines. Warmth can also reduce the sensation of pain.
The best position for applying a warm compress after a C-section is lying down. It should be applied for 15 minutes on your stomach. Care should be taken to prevent damaging the wound site. A layer of clothing should be placed between your bare skin and a heating pad or hot water bottle. Doing so helps prevent burns.
5. Avoid carbonated drinks
The drinking habits you have after a C-section affect your ability to deal with gas pain. Fizzy drinks and sodas, which contain carbon dioxide, cause bloating in the stomach. Due to this, the gas issue after the C-section may be aggravated and can worsen the gas pain after a C-section. For this reason, you must abstain from carbonated drinks after your C-section.
Related Reading: Should You Drink Cold Water After Delivery?
6. Drink tea
Constipation, gas, and bloating can be relieved by drinking warm fluids. Gas-related pain can be eased and digestion may improve if you drink some herbal tea. A good example is ginger tea. Constipation and abdominal ache are said to be improved by this herbal remedy. Herbal teas such as chamomile, lemon balm, and peppermint also have stomach-soothing properties. These teas can ease digestion and reduce gas pain quickly. Anise tea can act as a mild laxative and help relieve trapped gas if it is caused by constipation.
Related Reading: What Teas Are Safe To Drink While Pregnant?
7. Do not take iron supplements before a couple of bowel movements
After a major operation such as a C-section, your doctor may recommend iron supplements. If so, ask if you can take them after you have had your first or second bowel movement.
Taking iron tablets increases the risk of constipation and aggravates gas pain. If you start using it after 2 or 3 bowel movements, you can make sure your body is cleansed to some extent after the surgery. It makes you less likely to be affected by gas and constipation in the days ahead.
8. Eat well
If you suspect your diet is making you produce more gas, changing it may greatly improve your gut health. Identify the foods that make you feel worse and cut them out of your diet. It is better to avoid beans and dairy. Likewise, cabbage, asparagus, cauliflower, and broccoli may also trigger gas.
Take your food slowly and chew it thoroughly before swallowing. Avoid using straws and eating processed foods after a C-section. Also, it is important to eat foods to help pass gas after C-section. Eating raw, low-sugar fruits, such as apricots, berries like cranberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and watermelons may help.
After a C-section, exercising helps relieve gas. You won’t be able to exercise immediately after a C-section. However, you can try gentle exercises a few days after the surgery:
- Take a deep breath every half an hour. This will increase the flexibility of your diaphragm. When the diaphragm is relaxed, it provides a gentle massage to internal organs such as the stomach and intestine, reducing symptoms of gas
- Rolling your shoulders in both directions every hour will help relieve stiffness and gas
- Stretch your belly muscles by raising both arms slowly above your head while standing against a wall. Hold for five seconds, then relax. It is recommended to perform this exercise up to 10 times daily to improve flexibility around your stitches. Performing this exercise may help relieve gas post-C-section
Related Reading: 12 Important Tips For After Delivery Care
How Long Does Trapped Gas Last After C-Section?
The rate at which trapped gas is expelled differs from woman to woman. Within a few weeks after giving birth, the trapped gas usually disappears on its own. You should consult your doctor if you are experiencing gas pains 3 weeks after delivering via the C-section. Mothers frequently mistake issues like UTI for gas pain.
You’re probably anticipating incision site pain, difficulty walking or lifting your baby, and you know the common rules like no driving, only climbing stairs a few times, and taking things slowly as much as possible. Most mothers do not anticipate gas pain during the postpartum period. However, there are still some things that you can do to relieve gas after a C-section. You may find one or more of these tips helpful for relieving gas after a C-section.