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Shaking During Childbirth

Why Didn't Anybody Tell Me: Shakes During Delivery

I felt prepared to give birth. I'd read my books, I'd taken my classes, and my friends shared a few too many gory details prior to the big day — but they didn't share everything.

Heading into my C-section, I was confident and full of anticipation. I knew what the procedure entailed and how long it would take. I knew the schedule for the baby afterward and had a plan so my husband would follow our baby as soon as he left the operating room. But once my son arrived, they came too — the shakes. Nobody warned me about the shakes. And these weren't just a little shiver felt throughout my body, but full-on, uncontrollable shaking that probably made me look like I was convulsing to the untrained eye. I honestly don't remember much about them — I was probably so pumped up on endorphins that they've been erased from my memory — but I do recall having trouble getting a full sentence out of my mouth because my teeth were chattering so hard. The whole "episode" probably lasted the total of an hour, and, like I said, it isn't anything I would have remembered, except that it happened again when my second son was born.

This time around, with a scheduled C-section on the books, I braced myself for some postpartum shaking prior to entering the operating room. My body, however, seemed to have something else in mind.

After receiving a spinal block and lying down on the table, I began to feel cold — like polar-vortex cold. I asked the operating-room staff to raise the temperature in the room, at which point my husband told me that the room was already very warm — he was sweating. Before I could say anything else, the shakes set in, and this time they were uncontrollable! Whether it was nerves (sometimes it's actually worse to know what to expect) or a side effect of the painkillers, I'll never know. But, thanks to a thoughtful anesthesiologist, my upper body was covered with an air-warming blanket that looked like it came out of Big Hero 6, which provided me some comfort and heat throughout the surgery. Before long, my second son was in my arms and the shakes were the furthest thing from my mind.

But consider this your warning. The shakes are real, and they're normal. They are part of your body's recovery (or in my case preparation) and nothing to worry about — unless they're accompanied by a fever. Because heck, you know you wanted your newborn to have an interesting first feeding session.

Did you have the shakes during your delivery?

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography
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apcbm4 apcbm4 4 years
My wife actually just had a c-section and had severe shaking several days afterwards along with severe nausea.  One of the nurses we know told us that it was most likely "third spacing" that was happening to her.  Basically, the stress of the abdominal surgery shifts fluid into the interstitial space (the space between the skin and the connective tissue).  Fluid leaves the blood vessels into these spaces and thus, blood volume decreases, leading to decreased blood flow to the brain.  This leads to fainting and/or shock.   To treat shock or fainting, have the person lie down and raise the person's feet 10 to 12 inches, cover them and keep them warm.  The amount of fluid intake also relates to reducing the swelling of fluid in the interstitial space (not quite sure how as I just found out about this).    When I heard the term third spacing, I searched the internet for more information and I wanted to share because this could be a very serious problem and our doctor noticed the swelling in my wife's legs (edema), but didn't tell us anything about how serious a problem it could be as a side effect of the abdominal surgery.
Ksusko Ksusko 6 years
During my C-Section that same thing happened to me. The nurse kept trying to get a blood pressure reading and couldn't get an accurate one. I had no control over my arms because I was shaking so bad.
Ksusko Ksusko 6 years
During my C-Section that same thing happened to me. The nurse kept trying to get a blood pressure reading and couldn't get an accurate one. I had no control over my arms because I was shaking so bad.
depeche3 depeche3 6 years
I had really bad shakes during my c-section. The nurses kept stacking warm blankets on top of me, but none of that seemed to help. If it weren't for the shakes the surgery wouldn't have been so bad.
MonkiChriz MonkiChriz 6 years
I had shakes and never associated it with anything other than bad epidurals. It took the anesthesiologist THREE tries before she got the epidural in correctly. Not too long after the second try, I shook a lot. I felt so cold until about an hour after the birth.
carolynz carolynz 6 years
I had the shakes after delivering my daughter and I chalked it up to the epidural. I had similar shaking when recovering/coming out from anesthesia from having my wisdom teeth removed, so I figured it was my body just reacting/coming down from the painkillers.
K-is-for K-is-for 6 years
I always thought it was just me. I had horrible shakes, my blood pressure shot sky high too. It didn't stop until about an hour and a half after he was born. Nice to know others had to suffer through the same experience.
Niami Niami 6 years
I did not have the shakes with my first child, which was 22 hours of labor without medication.The second time was an emergency c-section and I had the shakes pretty bad. My son was born without any signs of grogginess, he was really alert and healthy.
Niami Niami 6 years
I did not have the shakes with my first child, which was 22 hours of labor without medication. The second time was an emergency c-section and I had the shakes pretty bad. My son was born without any signs of grogginess, he was really alert and healthy.
Girl-Jen Girl-Jen 6 years
This happens to other people?! Woah. I had horrible shakes right before my c-section, but I thought they were purely due to fear. It was a crash c-section, my daughter's heart rate was in the 60s (bad news), and I had just learned a few minutes before that I'd be under general anesthesia. So I was shaking and crying hysterically.
amandachalynn amandachalynn 6 years
I've actually never even heard of this! I didn't have anything like this, but it could be because my labor was really easy. Now I won't be scared out of my mind if it happens next time!
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 6 years
I had a natural and unmedicated labor and still got the shakes afterwards. Labor was 6 hours. Dr. said it was due to adrenaline.
Moms Moms 6 years
I had crazy shakes before delivery my daughter and son, but none that I remember with my littlest guy.
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