37 answers

Trapped Air After C-section

I recently had a c-section and have been having extreme pain in my chest, upper back and shoulder. My doctor said it was trapped air from the surgery. I was curious if anyone else has experienced this and if there was anything to help with the pain.

Thanks in advance!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

you might want to try gas relief medicines and gentle downward massage to press it out... this is so painful I know.. I experienced in the hospital after having my boys... I took A LOT of gas x and sat in awkward positions to help it escape out... hope this helps

I had the same thing after my c-section! my friends called it "back gas". Ha, Ha! really! I had my husband massage the painful areas and it really helped. however, I think time will be the key. good luck!

I have had three c-sections and have never heard of such a thing, get a second opinion, and I would get it rather fast!

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With my experience, the nurses insisted I start walking down the hall of the hospital the day after the surgery. I was amazed that it helped.

I had multiple c-sections and, strangely, got different instructions each time! One was walk; next was take pain pills; and the third was no mention at all -- but I remembered that I should walk.

Still, I would advise calling a nurse advise line or your doctor's emergency number if your pain stays extreme or just doesn't improve. Good luck!

After my procedures, I was instructed to lay on my LEFT side (somehow it works better that way - placement of organs, etc.) and try to relax completely to allow myself to pass gas - don't hold it in as it only makes it worse. This shouldn't last very long - if so, let your doc know.

Hi A.,,,
no i have never heard of that but i'd be sure leting the Dr hear about it alot until it stops he's getting bad the big bucks to make you comfortable so make him do his job
good luck feel better L.

I had two surgeries in one year with two different doctors. The first one I experienced all the pains in the joints, the other I didn't. What I did find out before the 2nd surgery was... walk. Walk all you can, even if it's small trips to the kitchen, bathroom, to the mailbox.... walk.

When you walk, the is a natural method of passing the gas from your body. Your body is moving and moving it to other others... burping, passing gas. When you rest, lay down, the gas take longer to leave.

Hope this helps.

had it! i thought it was more painful than the c-section! it went away after a day....good luck to you! sounds like you have your hands full over there!

Oh yes indeed - painful
Get some charcoal tablets from your local pharmacy - that should clear up the problem.

I had the same thing after having my gallbladder removed, it was awful. Unfortunately laying down helps most so the air doesn't move to your chest and back but since that's not an option I would take Motrin or Advil, it should go away in a few weeks. Of course if it gets worse go back to the doc!

Good luck!

I had the same experience after my c-section. The doctors thought I was having panic attacks in the hospital. Nope...just couldn't breath!!!! The only thing I found that helped me was sitting up. It seemed to bother me the most when I laid down. Unfortunately, I don't think there is anything you can do to speed up the dissipation...it just has to work it's way through your system. Good luck.

Hi A.: I was told to expect this after I have a cyst removed from my ovary (and that was just an incission through my belly button!). I remember my shoulders and back being sore (but I was also on some pain meds, so it could have been worse and I just don't remember!) It only lasted a few days. Try to move around as much as you can to dislodge the trapped air. Walking and light stretching should help. Although anything that causes pain around your c-section area should be avoided--If it hurts, don't do it.

I had the same thing after my c-section! my friends called it "back gas". Ha, Ha! really! I had my husband massage the painful areas and it really helped. however, I think time will be the key. good luck!

I had to have laparoscopic surgery a few years ago, and the doctor told me I had trapped air as well. Since this was shortly after my third and last child, the air movement kinda reminded me of baby movements...until the air traveled to my shoulders. That's where the pain was, but honestly, unless the doctor prescribes something, there's not much you can do except for over-the-counter medicine. But it doesn't last longer than a few days.

Just hang in there...it doesn't last forever.

Ask your doctor for Torodol. it was the only thing that helped me with the trapped air. It hurt way worse than having my stomach hacked open.

I had this same problem with both of my C-sections. Drink lots of cranberry juice. It will aid your digestion and somehow alleviate the trapped air.

I had the same thing after my 2nd c section. It hurts soooo bad! Unfortunately I was told to breath through the pain and it would pass. It did...no more episodes after a few days. Feel better soon!

I had multiple c-sects and I had the trapped air every time. I was given some kind of medicine, it was pink chewable and tasted nasty. It helped to expel the trapped air (gas). The bad thing, it makes you fart like a man. The nurses gave me that, pain pills and had me walk. I have had numreous abdonimal surgeries and it happens to me everytime.

Your doctor is right. It will clear up in a few weeks.

I know how you feel so I offer what the nurses told me in advance. If you want fairly instant relief an old fashion enema with like a quart of water not these little disposable ones. Or... drink hot prune juice. I know that sounds yucky but it's really not to bad if you even sorta like prune juice or even prunes. it will take 24-48 hours but it does work. Hope this was of some help.


You may try drinking something warm and then rocking in a "classic" rocking chair if you have one (not a glider)! The motion sometimes will move the air around and help get it out! Good Luck!

I had the same problem and it was miserable. I was in so much pain in my right shoulder that I couldn't even nurse on that side for several days. It was horrible and I went back to my OB and there was nothing they could do. I cried and cried and couldn't sleep and it was the worst part about the whole birthing experience. I did get a massage 2 times and that seemed to help temporarily. If you can find a place that does prenatal massage they usually have a special table to accommodate your sensitive tummy and breasts. It took about five days for mine to finally go away. I know this doesn't help much but you're not alone!

I had a c-section and I wish someone had warned me about the gas pains. They hurt worse than labor pains. They gave me mylicon in the hospital and I don't think I would have survived with out it.

This sounds gross, but drink things that will make you burp. I hate to admit this, but when I was dealing with gas pains, I was so happy when I tooted or burped!

The good news is it will go away! But if it doesn't keep on your doctor because it could be something else!

You have to get up and walk it out. I had the same thing. The pain was so severe I felt like I was having a heart attack...then it moved up into my jugular vein (felt like it anyway!!) The only way they said it would go away was to walk a lot. Sorry there is no other way around it.

I had trapped air which caused pain in my right shoulder after my second c section a few weeks ago. It started during the c section and went on for about 5 days. If you continue to have pain I would get a second opinion.


Hi A.,yes I had the same thing. It hurts like heck. Only time helps. I pray it goes away soon. c

Hi A.,

I had a c-section in A., and the same thing happened to me. However, when I got home I couldn't pass the gas or anything. I was in so much pain for almost a week (trying to fix the problem myself). Finally, I called the doctor and he told me to take Colace (stool softner). It worked shortly after I took the 1st pill. I would also eat lots of fruit. My nurse gave me warm peppermint tea, and that relieved alot of the pain, too.

Hope this helps, and you feel better soon.


Hi A.,
Congrats on your new baby!! HOW EXCITING AND BUSY!!! I have two sets of twins and a singleton all done with c-sections. Yes, your body has trapped gas that is working its way out of your body. There is really nothing you can do but take Advil and gas medicine and make sure to walk. It is painful, but this too will subside. I trapped so much air that I bloated back up and looked like I was still 9 months pregnant after delivery, but it all went away and I am back to my "normal" size.

i had the same thing in the hospital after both my c-sections and (this sounds so weird) but passing gas is the only way to get rid of it. try lying on your side (supposedly that makes it easier) and just take the pain meds. i know it's an awful feeling - at one point i could barely move for the pain in my neck and shoulders. it does go away!

A., boy have I been there (3x). Take Mylicon. I'm surprised that your dr. didn't suggest it. It can be taken very often and will not harm your baby if you are breast-feeding. In fact, it is intended for infants. You buy it in the baby medicine section of the grocery store or drug store. Also, try to sit propped up as much as is comfortable for you and drink Sprite or 7UP in between the Mylicon when you can. You just need to burp and you know what else to get all that air out of you. Mylicon and Sprite should do the trick. Also, stay away from any foods that tend to give you gas. Good luck.

Super painful, and nothing you can do for it. Just has to reabsorb...takes a few days for it to go away. So sorry you are going through this. Congrats on your baby!!


I'll admit I didn't read the other responses, and I'm late as always, but I had this same thing after my C-section. It is the most awful pain!! The one thing that helped me was walking around. Though it's not easy, actually getting up & walking around helps get that trapped air moving and feels much better.

I had some awful nurses postpartum, but one I had was very nice & explained that she had been through the same thing with her dd just a couple months before. When she empathized & helped me with trying to walk again, it made all the difference in the world- without meds to add to all the others I'd already had due to complications!

Best of luck! Hope you feel better soon!

Hi A.,
Well, I haven't had a "C" section, but I have had a laporascopy(surgery for endometriosis) and my doctor told me that I was going to experience some pain in my joints from the air they had to use to raise my organs. It lasted for about a week. It gets better as the time passes by, so you should be fine in a couple of days. I would definitely check back with the doctor if the pain persists after a week. Congratulations on the new baby!!

Dear A.,
Hopefully, they gave you postsurgery instructions, including warning signs of complications. You should take your pain medicines as needed, but remember they can cause constipation. Be sure you are on a stool softener and add fiber to your diet with an adequate amount of water. The hospital should of recommended a stool softener, such as Surfak. Walking can also help relieve the gas buildup. This should subside several days after your c/section. You should call your doctor if you are not improving several days post-op. If you experience pain, redness or swelling in your calves, shortness of breath, or you have severe chest pain, call him ASAP. These are just precaution with any type of abdominal surgery. More than likely, it is just gas that needs to be relieved. In addition, someone had mention they experienced the same thing from a cyst removal. Usually when an ovarian cyst is removed, it is through a laparoscopic procedure, which introduces air inside the body so that other parts of the anatomy can be moved out of the way in order to see what they are doing. This type of procedure can cause extreme discomfort. You had an open procedure and there is a big difference, but both procedures can cause painful gas. Blessings and congratulations!


Yep, I had the same thing with my c-section almost 2 years ago. Most of mine was while I was still in the hospital. The nurse game me a heating bad to put on my shoulder to help with the pain. I would also agree with getting up & walking around, that will help move the air pockets as well.

You will just need to walk around a lot, and it will come out. You will have gas for a while until it works it's way out.

Sounds crazy BUT prop your behind on about 10 pillows to ellivate your behind. The air will leave your shoulders (where it hurts the worse) and dissipate as it gets away from your shoulders.

Also try some Gas-X.

Last year during my surgery (TR) the pain in my shoulders was so bad and painful, I cried for days.

I have had three c-sections and have never heard of such a thing, get a second opinion, and I would get it rather fast!

yes, I've had it after 2 surgeries 1 adombinal and 1 emergency c-section. It sounds gross but the best thing to do is to pass the gas as much as possible to get it out. I could remember the pain and discomfort as one of the "bubbles" went from my lower torso into my chest. The first time I thought I was having a heart attack. Only time helps and as they say, this to shall pass.

you might want to try gas relief medicines and gentle downward massage to press it out... this is so painful I know.. I experienced in the hospital after having my boys... I took A LOT of gas x and sat in awkward positions to help it escape out... hope this helps

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