Shaking After Childbirth Is Normal, Apparently

by Jorrie Varney
Originally Published: 
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My first pregnancy was rough, to say the least. I was one of the lucky women who got to experience extreme nausea and vomiting from conception to delivery. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) It was a Sunday morning and I was nine days past my due date when I went into labor. I was scheduled for an induction the following morning, but my daughter decided her birth would be on her own terms. Knowing her personality now, this makes total sense.

I threw up in the hospital parking garage for the last time that pregnancy, and a few short hours later she was here—all nine pounds of her.

I was so relieved she was finally here, and the whole pregnancy thing was finally over. I know a lot of women love being pregnant, but I’m not one of them. Yes, it’s a miracle, and yes, I love my children madly, but if I could have ordered them on Amazon, I would have.

As if nine months of non-stop vomiting wasn’t enough, I dislocated a rib—while puking! How does that even happen?! I honestly don’t know, but it did, and it sucked. She fractured my tailbone upon her exit, and it still hurts to sit in hard chairs nearly seven years later. I know, I’m whining, but I don’t care, because it was awful.

Pregnancy is not my thing, and I’ve made my peace with that.

I was so relieved following her delivery. She was here, and she was perfect, and finally the weirdness of pregnancy was over.

But, unfortunately, I was wrong.

Shortly after her delivery, it happened—I started shaking. Not just an excited tremble, like full-on, body quivering, teeth chattering, uncontrollable shaking. There was nothing I could do to control it. It caught me off guard, and freaked me the hell out. My nurse covered my body with numerous pre-warmed blankets, which was an awesome gesture, but it didn’t help. Even my speech was shaky.

Through chattering teeth, and with an unsteady voice, I tried to assure my husband I was fine. Or as fine as you can feel following an event like childbirth. I was freezing, and every muscle in my body ached as I shivered in my bed, but for the most part, life was aces. For the first time in forever, I wasn’t nauseous, and I was over the moon as I held my baby girl—skin to skin—but OMG what the hell was the deal with all the shaking?

Well, it turns out, postpartum shaking is totally normal. Weird and inconvenient, but normal. Though it’s not fully understood, one theory is that it’s caused by the stress of labor and its impact on your body. The onset is generally within the first hour or two following delivery, and it typically lasts an hour, give or take.

Nothing makes you feel less confident as a first-time mom than shaking to the point you worry about dropping your infant. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration. As far as my daughter knew, I was essentially one of those vibrating baby loungers. I was lying on my back with guardrails and nurses on each side of me, so we were both safe, but all the same, it left me feeling a little uneasy.

An hour after it started, the shaking subsided as quickly as it had come on. I was no longer freezing, and I had this adorable ball of squish to show for the past nine months of nonsense. If you would have asked me at that time, I would have told you my daughter would be an only child, because there was no way I was ever doing any of that again.

But I did, because motherhood is like that. It’s never really easy, but every single moment is worth is. Even the shaky ones.

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