The Fourth Trimester; Postpartum Aches and Pains

I gave birth to my first child when I was 36 and just 2 months shy of my 37th birthday. It was not the birth I had dreamed of. It was a pretty rough, 24-hour induction when I was 40 weeks and 5 days. I was exhausted by this and suffered a life-threatening, hemorrhage one week after I gave birth. I felt like hell and looked like Dracula’s daughter. I had to take iron supplements for months. I struggled with breastfeeding but prevailed anyway.

It. Was. Rough.

The postpartum period that followed was just as tough. My body hurt. It ached and hurt in a way I had never known. I have Celiac disease and dairy has always bothered me after a certain threshold. But the body is funny and I ate loads of dairy during my pregnancy to no ill effect. Naturally, I continued eating dairy (high protein, greek yogurt) in an effort to get off the baby weight. Around month 4 my symptoms became so severe that I was unable to unsnap my infant’s cloth diaper covers. My hands and fingers were sore, tender. The joints throbbed. When I walked down the stairs, my knees radiated with pain and I worried I would drop my newborn.

That’s when I ended up at my doctor’s office and she told me to cut out dairy. First I tried cutting out Lactose, but the symptoms did not clear. After another doctor visit, I was told to cut out dairy, completely! Just like I cut out gluten years earlier, I cut dairy and over the next few weeks and months, my joint pain began to disappear.

I do have to tell you though, my father has severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and I have been tested several times over the years due to low grade joint pain in my hands. Luckily, to this point I have tested negative for RA. During this postpartum period, I was convinced RA had kicked in. In truth the pain was caused by the protein in dairy; casein. For some people who have Celiac disease, casein can produce the same reaction in the body as the gluten protein. This is what happened to me after pregnancy. Four years later, I can not tolerate dairy. I break out in eczema within minutes. Even during my second pregnancy, dairy gave me heartburn and eczema flares, every time I ate it!

With baby number 2 being born this past November, I though for sure I would be in severe pain. I did have some pain, mainly in my knees and wrists, and it peaked right around the 4th month again, but at month 6, I am feeling pretty good. In fact, I think it’s time I started exercising again. With summer starting, I have been a bit depressed with my aging mom-bod. I am not overweight but things has shifted a bit and gravity is not my friend. I have visible cellulite for the first time in my life. It’s time. It’s time to firm up so I can endure one more birth. Yes, I do want another child, even if I will be in my 40’s officially.

Did you have postpartum aches and pains?

17 thoughts on “The Fourth Trimester; Postpartum Aches and Pains

    • mrsmotherdirt says:

      Apart from the fact my eczema looks terrible if I eat dairy, the key is to keep my inflammation down. I already have an auto immune disease (Celiac) and its the same gene that carries RA (I had genetic testing and carry HLA-DQ8, one of the main Celiac genes). Hoping my gene expression does not expand beyond Celiac.


  1. momlifewithchiari says:

    There’s plenty of us in my house that suffer from Eczema – thank you for the information. I had no idea diary can play a major factor in flareups. Blessings to you, and age is not something to be too worried about, my sister-in-law had her 5th baby about 6 months ago – she’s 43. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rhiannon90 says:

    I am so inspired by this because i nearly died following the birth of my daughter (on oxygen for a week), followed by horrible PPD and then two years of medical anomalies until I had half of my pancreas removed. I also had my baby at 33 (two days shy of 34) and cannot have anymore. My pulmonolgist said “love this one, don’t have any more then next one will probably kill you.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • mrsmotherdirt says:

      Oh wow! That must have been so hard (physically and emotionally), especially with a new born. After my hemorrhage I could not make it to the top of the stairs without sitting down to rest. It was terrifying with a newborn to care for. I am so glad you took time to share your experience with me. Pregnancy and birth can be so hard on our bodies. Did they ever give you a diagnosis?


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