Sharp Stabbing Pain On Left Side After C-Section (Nerve Pain, Hernia, Or Something Else?)

A C-section surgery might lead to a superficial pain where the nerves are tender and need time to heal, involving burning pain and hypersensitivity. It could also lead to nerve injury if one experiences stabbing pain healed by using nerve block and medications. Other common reasons for this abdominal pain could be constipation, period cramps, or impending gas, all common in post-birth patients. A cesarean surgery could also lead to infections and a possible chance of getting a hernia. It’s essential to keep an eye on your scar, follow your doctor’s instructions, and see if it’s healing correctly. 

Choosing to get a C-section done to deliver your baby can be a choice but also a necessity due to various complications. Whatever the reason for getting a C-section, it’s definitely not as a piece of cake as people think it is. 

Like with regular delivery, the C-section also leaves the birthing person with a painful experience. While sometimes this abdominal pain is a normal aftereffect of surgery, it could also indicate an impending serious issue.

Let’s look at the reasons behind the cause of this stabbing pain after your C-section. 

Nerve pain after C-section

C-section is, after all, a surgical process that traumatizes your body and is followed by pain as your body tries to heal itself.

As I said before, getting your baby with a cesarean operation is no piece of cake as people think it is. It’s also accompanied by complications and pain similar to a normal delivery.

Your doctor has to cut into some nerves to safely deliver the baby to perform a C-section.

The healing occurs naturally without any complications or issues. But the pain you might be feeling is a common effect of this surgery, with symptoms like burning, shooting, stabbing, and searing pain.

Sometimes, even as the weather changes or an indication of a rainstorm, your wound might start tingling or have intense pain sensations in the scar tissue. It’s termed “pins and needles,” described as the body plugged into an electric outlet. 

Types of pain after a C-section

While this sort of pain is typical, you should also know that things change when nerve damage is involved. Long-term or short-term symptoms can develop based on their functions depending on which nerves are damaged.

These symptoms include impaired motor function and nerve pain.

1. Superficial pain

After a C-section, if you’re experiencing superficial pain around the edges of your scar, then it means ilioinguinal, iliohypogastric, and genitofemoral nerves have been affected.

This pain involves experiencing burning pain and hypersensitivity, as described before. 

But if you don’t experience these kinds of pain when touching the affected area, those nerves are less likely to be responsible.

Experiencing this sort of pain doesn’t mean the surgery has been performed incorrectly or there is something wrong. Your nerves need to be cut in this surgery to deliver the baby, and this sort of pain is unavoidable. 

2. Nerve injury

The surgeon tries to avoid damaging these nerves I have mentioned before, leading to superficial pain. But they run close to the edge of the c-section incision, and it becomes difficult to avoid these nerves entirely, and they might get slightly injured in the process.

If you’re experiencing more than just superficial pain, your nerves are likely to be injured when cut. This can be understood in how cut nerves produce numbness, but injured nerves have pain.

To diagnose your nerve pain, the surgeon uses a nerve block. The anesthetic causes temporary numbness in the affected nerve.

When there is numbness and pain relief, it indicates peripheral nerve injury. If there’s numbness without pain relief, then something else is responsible. 

Other reasons for extreme pain after C-section

A new mom who recently delivered her baby via c-section is now feeling a sharp pain on her left side.

1. Impending gas

Many people aren’t aware of this impending issue and don’t even expect it to occur. Gas pain is a common issue and part of the post-pregnancy experience.

A hormone called progesterone is produced to support you during your pregnancy, which causes the muscles in the body to relax. Your muscles, including your intestines, start to slow down, which means your digestion will take longer than usual.

It causes an internal build-up of gas and causes you to bloat. But because of the surgery, a lot of air gets into your body, which needs to be released over time. This sharp pain could also signify all the gas present in your body waiting to be released. 

2. Constipation

Be it a vaginal delivery or a C-section delivery, all birthing people suffer from constipation. In fact, some hospitals don’t even allow you to leave until you have pooped to avoid any complications.

Your bowel will slow down the first week after giving birth because your body needs rest, which can cause extreme discomfort and pain until your bowel movements return to normal. 

3. Vaginal bleeding

Most people think that opting for a C-section would also relieve them of the after-process of giving birth, which includes having periods for the next week or so. But the truth is that be it C-section or vaginal delivery, you have to go through this menstrual cycle process.

You can’t expect to get rid of the excess blood via the surgery but have to pass it through your vagina. After giving birth, you go through heavy bleeding for days as your body gets rid of all the accumulated blood. 

Due to this reason, you might be experiencing severe pain as well. Having cramps during periods is normal. With just having given birth to a child, you might experience more pain, including the area near your incision. Thus, pain in your abdomen is expected under such circumstances.

4. Infections

After having a C-section, you need to be extremely careful of your incision and let it heal properly. While also keeping an eye on the wound to see if it’s healing correctly. 

There might be a chance that the sharp stabbing pain you’re feeling in your abdomen is due to an infection caused at the incision site.

Other than the severe pain, other symptoms to watch out for include redness, swelling, pus, fever, and increased vaginal bleeding, to name a few.

Although all these things are checked before they discharge you from the hospital, sometimes the infections don’t appear until after a few days. An infection might appear within the first couple of weeks after delivery, so keeping a close eye on scar tissue is important. 

These infections could be different and can be diagnosed by your doctor, upon which suitable treatment would be recommended. Usually, antibiotics and careful dressing up of wounds are required for days.

C-section pain relief remedies

After getting a C-section procedure, it’s normal to feel the pain near your incision as, after all, it’s surgery, so it’s going to be tender for some days. A stabbing or severe pain can also be felt for numerous reasons, including something as trivial as not being able to pass gas. 

So, after the surgery, it’s essential to take proper rest, follow your doctor’s instructions, and take medications on time. This is a part of the healing process, and you need to follow them to be able to heal quickly.

Taking plenty of rest is vital, and avoiding any activities which can cause even a tiny bit of stress on your abdomen should be avoided. Just like a vaginal delivery C-section parent also needs to rest for 6-8 hours in bed each day.

Your doctor will recommend pain relievers as it’s important to take them after surgery for some time. You’ll feel abdominal pain for about 4 weeks, but by 6 weeks, your body should be healed majorly. 

To avoid any possibility of infections, it’s vital to follow your doctor’s instructions, take your medications on time, and keep an eye on your wound until it’s properly healed.

Take proper rest, eat healthy foods, and drink plenty of water. 

If you’re witnessing mood swings, loss of appetite, fatigue, lack of joy in life after childbirth, and not being able to feel connected to your baby, then you might have postpartum depression.

This postpartum period usually is of duration of 6 weeks from the birth time. If you’ve got these signs, then it’s necessary to contact your healthcare provider and seek an early diagnosis for better medical treatment. 

Abdominal pain of an incisional hernia

You’re aware that a C-section delivery of a baby also involves complications and a further chance of various infections if not taken care of properly.

Sometimes, a hernia can also develop after a cesarean delivery, which could be a source of severe pain.

The most common symptom of this sort of hernia is a bulge of tissue that might be coming out of the area of your scar tissue. The skin appears to be loose, dimpled, or bulging. It might be difficult to notice if there’s a hernia or if the skin is simply healing from cesarean delivery.

The pain is quite much from a hernia development, and this might not be different from the cesarean delivery pain and healing. So, if the pain still continues even after the C-section wound has healed, you know you might have a hernia.

Surgical treatment is the only option to get rid of a hernia in this situation which should be done after discussing risk factors with your doctor.  


Is it normal to have sharp pains after C-section?

Usually, the sharp pains could indicate bloating and not being able to pass gas or cramps due to periods as the vaginal bleeding is heavy and longer after childbirth.

Otherwise, regular sharp pains could indicate something serious such as a hernia developing or some infection you might have but didn’t know about. If you see any redness or swelling, it’s best to visit a doctor immediately.

Why do I get sharp pains in my C-section scar?

The C-section scar is tender after the surgery but doesn’t get sharp pains. If you’re experiencing sharp pains, that could have a possibility of endometriosis, which is quite common, known as incisional endometriosis

Endometrial tissue, which usually lines the uterus, develops outside the uterus leading to endometriosis. Adhesions are accumulations of endometrial tissue that can develop into large masses or bands that form between organs, connecting them.

It causes heavy and painful periods and pain, and a C-section leads to a higher chance of developing endometriosis. Surgical and medical treatments can help manage the symptoms. 

Can you get nerve damage from C-section?

Ilioinguinal, iliohypogastric, and genitofemoral are peripheral nerves that get compressed even during vaginal delivery. There is a certain degree of pain and healing anybody requires that has birthed a child.

But there’s a higher chance of nerves being damaged or injured in a C-section, which can cause some pain and numbness, which must be taken care of by taking medications. 

What helps nerve pain after C-section?

Medications that can help provide relief include nerve-stabilizing medications, anti-depressants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and topical patches or creams.

Your doctor might also suggest using a nerve block to help the pain. It completely depends on the degree of pain, symptoms, and the prescription given by your doctor. 

To summarize

Getting a C-section surgery is often an easier method but at times the only option to get the baby out safely and protect the mother. Whatever the reason for a C-section, it’s also attached with complications and needs proper care just like a vaginal delivery does. 

If you’re experiencing severe pain, you should check for other symptoms like redness or swelling, indicating some type of infection or a hernia.

The healing process is painful too, where sometimes you might experience pain in your abdomen due to period cramping or bloating. 

You should keep an eye on your C-section scar or ask your loved one to do so and keep track of any changes you might see in the scar or near it. An early diagnosis can lead to complete healing, but taking proper rest and medications is vital. 

Was this article helpful?

As a writer for 1happykiddo, Saumya wants to help new parents and older siblings help raise the newest member added to the family. Her parenting tips come from her experience of being 15 years older than her youngest sibling. When not writing, you can find her reading novels, traveling, and cooking nutritious meals.

Leave a Comment