Postpartum Pain Management

Healthy Ways to Relieve Pain

  • Ibuprofen (Motrin®) & acetaminophen (Tylenol®) together have been found to be MORE effective at managing acute pain than opioids (1)
  • Light activity
  • Numbing sprays such as Dermoplast®
  • Witch-hazel pads such as Tucks®
  • Sitz baths (sitting in a few inches of warm water)
  • Cold pack/heating pad

Risks of Opioids

Opioids are a type of medication sometimes prescribed by doctors to help relieve pain. However, they can be risky to use during postpartum. Common side effects of opioids include:

  • Constipation, which can increase postpartum pain
  • Opioids passing to baby through breastmilk (2)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Addiction and overdose

If you are taking opioids, talk to your doctor about managing side effects.

Medication Disposal


  1. Paul A. Moore, Kathleen M. Ziegler, Ruth D. Lipman, Anita Aminoshariae, Alonso Carrasco-Labra, Angelo Mariotti. Benefits and harms associated with analgesic medications used in the management of acute dental pain. The Journal of the American Dental Association, 2018; 149 (4): 256 DOI: 10.1016/j.adaj.2018.02.012
  2. Hendrickson RG, McKeown NJ. Is maternal opioid use hazardous to breast-fed infants?. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2012;50:1–14

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