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Christina's Soreness

I meant to share this article about how sore Christina Aguilera was after her cesarean... surprisingly so.

"After six days of recovery, Aguilera is reportedly still ‘really sore’. A source revealed, 'It (childbirth) was more painful than she thought.'"

No kidding.

Tell all your other star friends that scheduling a cesarean doesn't relieve one from birthing pain, Christina! In fact, there aren't many women who had a vaginal birth that are still in that sort of pain 6 days postpartum. (A rare few, I know, are.)

Nice someone said something about post-op pain, eh?

Reader Comments (32)

C-section = major abdominal surgery

Of course it's going to hurt!

I agree with the point that not many vaginal birth mommas are still in the same type of pain after birth.

January 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEmory Student Midwife

i was pretty sore for quite a few days after my first birth (in a hospital), but after my 2nd birth (at home) i felt fantastic after 2 days! of course this time i had no drugs, wasn't induced, i gave birth kneeling, and ate/moved around whenever i wanted. :) i don't know why people don't realize cesarean is major abdominal surgery!

January 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrayray

wow. still in pain a week after you had your abdomen hacked open. go figure. duh.

good thing you avoided the pain of childbirth.

January 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternolabarb

I don't share the hostile sentiments of the above commenters... I am sorry for her. She is only as clueless as countless other less high-profile women. Either she gave UNinformed consent, or she refused to believe what her doctor said under the social pressures in her circles for designer births. Or both.

If I were the journalist who wrote the newsfeed, I would have tried to contact her obstetrician and grill them about what (if anything) Christina had been told about postoperative pain. And I sincerely wish the mainstream media would pick this up, but I think it's too late for that already.

Maybe Jennifer Block would do it. Anybody know how to get in touch with her? Before Christina's elective surgery, she tried to warn her in an open letter to the Huffington Post: "A cesarean is probably going to mean more pain for you. I know it sounds wrong -- the thinking behind scheduling a C-section is to avoid the pain, right? You'll skip the pain of labor, yes, but women report longer, more grueling recoveries and more lingering abdominal pain following a cesarean."

January 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJudit

lol my mom works in the ICU (and has for 33 yrs) and she said people complain ALL THE TIME about being in pain after surgery and want her to do something about it. She's like,"Oh. I'm sorry the doctor didn't tell you. They have not yet invented painless surgery. Maybe next time?"

January 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterqueen_anne78

I guess I was one of those rare ones who was in a lot of pain for a long time after giving birth vaginally (at home). I gave birth upright, no one telling me what to do, etc. I had a straightforward 2nd degree tear that I chose to have stitched. I was very surprised at how much pain I was in afterwards. It really hurt to sit for weeks afterward. Like wincing every time I sat down to nurse, and walking very gingerly. I was in pretty much constant pain for about 4 months. I wonder if it was from the sutures? But the pain wasn't really coming from there, and the stitches never bothered me. It was more of a constant dull ache radiating towards my inner thighs, kind of centered near my sit bones. I still have intermittent pain/achiness almost 15 months later. Nothing terrible but I definitely notice it. Kegels to help a little bit. hmmmm...

If women are truly that scared of the pain of childbirth, I wonder why they don't just have an epidural rather than an elective cesarean.

January 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRixa

All of Hollywood is just so demented....

But yeah, they dont want the pain of childbirth, meaning, I suppose, contractions and pushing and crowning, so they get hacked open and then are all sad and surprised that it hurts. I always assumed these too posh to push chicks just handed off their babies for a month and slept on painkillers. Because for me, my c sections were pure hell, months of debilitating stiffness and pinching and burning and oozing and back problems and disfiguring pannus where there once was only a nice curve of a stomach, now, a wierd lump that looks like a sideways butt. Sad sad sad, but like i said, i thought maybe my recoveries were so horrible because i was immediately abandoned to care for my newborn and other kids and couldnt sleep or "rest" or "not lift" or take painpills, etc. Add to that, the TEN weeks of bleeding and resultant anemia, and yeah, no picnic.

My vaginal births were so different, bled for a week or two, had a little ice coochie-pack, end of story.

But you know what, in Christina's defense? No one around me seemed to get how much oain I was in, either--because c section is presented to the public as "one way to have a kid", I find that people get more love and support and babysitting when they get their stupid teeth pulled or a boob job or some such.


January 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHousefairy

Oh my GOD??! Major abdominal surgery is painful ?
ahem... sorry. Being schadenfreu-delighted ever since seeing that statement!
Sorry, still got pain 6 years five months and three weeks later. Thank you very much.
The 3rd degree tear and broken tailbone from hbac #1 was infinitely less to complain about.
end soapbox rant.
As always... we love you Barb!

January 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermm

HA! I hate to be a smug jerk, but when I heard about this, the very first thing I thought was "TOLD YOU SO."

I was sore for MONTHS after my C-section. Here's a hint, Christina: IT'S SURGERY!! You're not gonna be back up onstage boppin' around in your fancy outfits the next day. Or even the next week.

January 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJill

I always wonder about the logic of this too. I've heard many women say they just want a section because it's easier. And I think, "Huh?!" The day after my homebirth with my daughter I was walking around feeling fairly well. I could not imagine having to go through as much pain and recovery time as described, all while trying to adjust to a newborn! That doesn't sound "easier" to me!

January 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCorin

I still had occasional pain (like a few times a month maybe) from my c/section a year after. Even 5-6 years later I would still notice pain there once every few months or so.

January 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVicki


Hilarious insight!

January 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEmory Student Midwife

I have not got anything else to add that hasn't already been said. But suffice to say, i am glad that this aspect of Cesarean section is vocalised but it is an important one that women and doctors tend to ignore. best wishes Sarah

January 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Stewart

the only pain from my home birth that i had was the fact that i had caught a cold!
i actually got it the day before i went into labor, the day of.. it completely vanished, then came back the next day full force. i was hacking, sneezing, running nose all that yucky stuff. but my vagina felt great! a little soreness from the skidmarks from pushing but other then that, i got "griped" at by my midwife for sitting indian style when she came for the home visit. "give your vagina a rest, close your legs!" it was quite funny.

January 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermommymichael

You arent rare, Rixa-- My vaginal area was very sore after my first baby, which i did have stitches, etc but also after my 3rd baby who was my HBAC. But it was managable, different than the disturbing quality of feeling like a pez dispenser, just that standing it self was dangerous and that you were utterly cracked in half and that your guts could pour out if you giggled or cared for your other children or really, anything. It was just so debilitating and disabling, versus a very sore "bottom" which can be iced/heated/rested , at least for me it was different. More of a private pain and less of a handicap. I even walk funny now that i have had my second c section over 2 years ago, because my whole back and hip are tight and wierd now from hobbling for so long. : (

January 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHousefairy

I was also someone who's vagina/vulva hurt for weeks afterwards. I had a mediolateral episiotomy that went into my thigh muscle. It got infected about 2 weeks postpartum, oozing green pus. Yummy! I didn't sit squarely on my butt for about 6 weeks.

The really sucky thing is no one ever explained to me the difference between a midline and a mediolateral epis and it wasn't until I got my records when I was pregnant with Meggie that I learned why my life was hell those first few weeks.

I also blew out my colon 5 days postpartum. Being so, so constipated, I took 2 Fleet enemas (that did nothing) and then pushed on the toilet for over an hour. When I did poop, it came out as an explosion of bowel movement and blood. It wasn't until I had Meghann and the blood gushed out my ass postpartum (withOUT constipation) and I went to the Emergency Room that I learned I'd tore my colon during that first postpartum period.


Don't I make vaginal birth sound yummy?

The combination of demerol during labor, immobility for 17 hours, lithotomy pushing for 2 hours, the mediolateral epis and postpartum pain meds all worked to make my experience horrid. With my poor vagina sliced open and sewn shut, I was terrified to poop, holding it in as long as I could stand it. I remember crying... sobbing... that I was eventually going to have to poop.

I have since learned how to help women poop when they have episiotomies or gnarly tears.


The things we learn, eh?

January 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

I object to the "abdomen hacked open" comments... I (usually) use a sharp scalpel, so hacking/sawing required :)

Having said that, I tend to advise my "too posh to push patients" that they'll have to find an OBGYN with no morals if they expect to have an elective caesar when there isn't any indication for it.
ALL the vaginal birth patients are up and walking around within hours while the C-section's take days...

January 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmanzi Down Under

Since we're comparing recovery after abdominal vs. vaginal delivery, it's time for a little reality check. Because there are women who sincerely don't think their cesareans were all that bad.

I know I'm stating the obvious here, but the 'not so bad' cesarean recovery is made possible with epidural morphine and/or systemic narcotics for postoperative pain. I didn't feel the need for so much as a tylenol after my second up-the-same-day vaginal birth; after my first, I could have used some (Tylenol, that is) but since I hadn't been stitched I still managed okay without...

No one does unmedicated postsurgical recovery. Pain managed with morphine vs. soreness requiring no medication. That's apples and oranges.

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJudit

According to an article in People magazine (I know, I know), Ms. Aguilera pushed for 24 hours and then a CS was indicated. It was not a scheduled CS.

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

If women are truly that scared of the pain of childbirth, I wonder why they don't just have an epidural rather than an elective cesarean.

Maybe because some of us don't want to have tears which cause us pain for months?

After the initial recovery period, many women have no long-term pain from their CS. I had the usual amount of postop pain from my (medically indicated) CS, which FWIW, is quite a bit less painful than the other types of surgeries I've had (I'll take a CS over knee surgery any day).

For every horror story about painful CS, I'm sure you can find one about tears, too. I know several women who've had quite a bit of difficulty with even second-degree tears, and homebirthing women get those too.

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEmma B.

I haven't check out the People magazine article, but I have a hard time believing she was "pushing" for 24 hours, maybe 24 hours of labor, but not pushing.

I have that exact same pain you described - the dull ache radiating toward my thighs - except I am not postpartum, I am only 31 weeks. Sometimes I am so sore it is hard to walk. I didn't really have this last pregnancy, but this time around it has been going on for a few months already and sometimes I waddle around like I am a full nine months pregnant, it is so annoying :(

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterApril


That pain could very well be the separation of the Pubic Symphasis... a fairly common issue with some women (me, too) in pregnancy. I find it happens more with women who have a few pounds (more) on them and, in my experience, women who have insulin resistance issues (though there is no medical correlation that I've ever found, just my empiracle experience).

Several things can help and more ideas can be found around the Net (http://www.plus-size-pregnancy.org/pubicpain.htmz is a great site), but pelvic binding and chiropractic care are two of the most common and most helpful to the women I've worked with who suffer (and sometimes it IS suffering!) from it.

It was so bad for me that I couldn't roll over in bed without my pubic bone cracking as it "unfolded" from itself in the front. I couldn't lift my foot to put on underwear or even put any other shoes on than slip on ones. Oh, how I remember!

If, for some reason, it *isn't* this, a chiropractor can help you know exactly *what* it is.

Hope that helps!

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

I disagree that for every cesarean pain story there is a painful vaginal birth story. Women who have vaginal births are RARELY prescribed pain medication once they are discharged from the hospital. Cesarean moms get NARCOTICS when leaving. Always prescribed for every woman. Whether she takes them or not is up to her, but the assumption is there that there will be a LOT of pain once she is home.

Women who have vaginal tears usually need no pain meds or anti-inflammatories if they need anything at all. A huge difference.

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

I've only had one birth (another expected in June) but it was a two and a half day nightmare/transfer to hospital from birth center/midwife clanking foreceps ordeal with plenty of stiches . . . but I felt fine two hours after it. I walked my newborn around the maternity ward because neither of us was tired.

The nurses nearly had a heart attack, but I felt great!

Hope this time goes as well . . .

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

My goodness, I've never in my life seen such rejoicing at misery before. It is not becoming of any of you, and perhaps a sign that your advocacy has exceeded your capacity for empathy.

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterm2c1

NGM, I think you missed the point of my comment, which is the LONG-TERM comparisons of pain from tearing vs CS.

I'm completely aware that women who have CS are sent home with narcotics, and am not denying that short-term aftermath of CS is more difficult than from vaginal birth. That's what I was referring to when I discussed "initial post-op pain".
In fairness, they are usually lower-level narcotics than for many other surgeries, and for shorter durations. I spent two full weeks on oxycodone after my knee surgery last fall, and another week on hydrocodone; for my CS, I had a week's worth of hydrocodone, and didn't even take all of that.

However, what my earlier comment referred to was pain after, say, one month postpartum. Rixa says above that she was still in "pretty much constant" pain for FOUR MONTHS, and has intermittent pain over a year later. I know several other women with second-degree and greater tears which caused them pain months and even years after delivery.

That's what I was trying to say -- for every woman with long-term pain from CS, I think you can find one whose tear has impacted her life for long periods. Many women don't have trouble after tearing, but then many women don't have trouble months or years after their CS.

January 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEmma B.

Im not sure what the point of this whole thing is becoming....the original post was that it was amazing that Xtina found it surprising that she still had pain 6 days post op.

I think the majority of moms dont get the "real" drugs they need after c-section because ummm hello--thye are being sent home as the exclusive care providers 24/7 to their babies, many of them breastfeeding. I got 12 darvocets which was a joke but I took 'em, believe me.

I think alot of rich celebs (and people with good families and friends) get to "rest" after their surgeries. I am quite sure that that helps in their appropriate healing. I did not get any help at all and my pain/tighness/immobility has lasted me years. Same for vaginal birth, too. I have had 2 vag births and 2 sections.

January 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHousefairy

It seems that fears of labor, labor pain, the birthing process and changes in your body affect some women more than others, and they choose what they perceive to be the safer or easier option. Isn't this a cultural issue of how we collectively view this milestone event?

Another part is doctors agreeing to this elective surgery which should be totally unethical, right? Do no harm and all that?

February 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterreeciebird

For my c-section I refused narcotics becuase I don't like being spacey, only took ibuprofen as directed. Really, it never hurt - just itchy at the wound site, which healed so quickly. But my VBAC, jeez, having such a swollen vulva along with stitches just is not comfortable for weeks afterward. If I were to decide what to do based on pain alone, I'd have another c-section, that is if I didn't know about all the other risks and potential complications of doing that to myself and my baby. Pain is a poor guide for making decisions, it's so temporary and all the pain I received becuase I wanted to have a natural birth was more then welcomed for me.

But then again, I was begging for stool softener in the hospital and when I got home the next day and had to rush to the toilet in the middle of the night becuase that doggy was coming out..... Okay, yeah, that was worth it too.

February 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEthel

I know its been a while since anyone has commented on here but I felt I had to say something. I live in Australia where I think the c section rate is higher then the US. I just had a cesar 6 days ago. I didn't want it. I cried when I found I had to have one. My first was a normal vaginal birth and I was back to normal in a week. No tears. I was doing great. I am still quite sore. However I wasn't described painkillers on discharge from the hospital. I typically only take them if I can't handle the soreness but all in all am recovering well.
It is major surgery, and will take much longer to recover from. Those out there who advocate vaginal births should take into account that it is not always possible to acheive this. I had to have a cesar so that my daughter would come into the world without an obstetric emergency. Of course MOST vaginal births do not require the same amount of recovery as a c section. It would be nice if mothers could just support each other and thier choices regardless of the reason. Rather then feeling the need to put them down. It's hard enough feeling tired, sore and that you will never recover, without feeling inadequate for not being able to have the birth you wanted. Isn't it more important that you delivered a healthy baby?

March 23, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter*Reenie*

hmmm...i truly feel for her...of course my vagina hurt like the dickens for about a month and sex is still (9 months later) often something that makes me tear up...i suppose i will bring this up at my next annual exam because i don't think it's normal. I just basically agree with the pp that we shouldn't judge other's decisions...that's just sad. We women should support each other and what is right for them. :)

August 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRachael

I'll be honest; my C section with my first baby was no big deal, as far as pain afterwards went. I was in pain and had demerol for about 12 hours, until I got to nurse my baby, the uterus stopped contracting in a discoordinated way (that's how it felt to me) and I had no more pain lying still, and took no more pain meds of any kind. I did feel as if I wouldn't be able to stand up again, but after they told me I had to, I was ok in a few days. I stayed in the hospital 5 days, the usual in those days. On the sixth day,my first at home, I carried a basket of laundry downstairs to wash.

My first vaginal delivery resulted in a lot of pain, because I wound up with a midforceps rotation delivery. I am not sure doctors even do such things any more. I had had a paracervical block at 6 and another at 8cms, and when I was complete, I felt no urge to push. I was lying flat on my back for the exam, and the doctor told me to try to push his hand out. I gave a huge push directed from my head, not from a natural urge, and suddenly there was a huge move by the baby and my abdomen was writhing like a lot of snakes.
The doctor and the nurse laughed. I said "What's happening, it can't be too bad or you wouldn't be laughing." They said, "It's not so bad but it means we are going right to the delivery room to have this baby. Your abdominal muscles split when you pushed, and your internal organs swam up in front of your uterus. And your baby flipped into a posterior position. You're not going to be able to push it out. " I said "Couldn't I at least try?" and he said "Not with your muscles in that shape." I asked if I would ever be able to push out a baby and he said " If you had twins they might shoot out like a couple of little watermelon seeds." So we went in the delivery room and they put on forceps once to turn the baby and once to pull her out. I remember seeing in the mirror her head sticking out between my legs. They gave me a pudental block to stitch me. I got my medical records for that birth, and it read "Scanzoni rotation." I looked that up and read that there were two ways to turn babies with forceps and one was hard on the baby, the other, the Scanzoni rotation, was hard on the mother. It was indeed. I had to sit on a doughnut pillow for a few weeks. Intercourse hurt me for six months. My poor husband also suffered!

At a conference I met the author of "Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Year" and she taught me an exercise to get the diasthesis back together, which I did every time I thought about birth, which was several times a day.
At my next birth I pushed out an 11 pound baby-so much for those little watermelon seed twins! I did have an episiotomy and stitches, but I don't remember much discomfort.

I never had much pain at all after my home births, which is good, since I was up taking care of my other children sometimes within hours after the birth.
I don't know what my family would have done if I were incapacitated after birth, since my husband always had to go right back to work and we had no family close.

Susan Peterson

August 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Peterson

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