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Elbow & Knee Pain After a Baby

By Eliza Martinez ; Updated August 14, 2017

Elbow and knee pain after having your baby have several possible causes. In most cases, treatment is easy to carry out at home and won't require medical care. However, if the pain doesn't subside within a few days, contact your doctor to rule out an underlying health condition. In the meantime, caring for your knees and elbows at home reduces pain and speeds healing.


Relaxin is a hormone that your body produces during pregnancy. It relaxes your pelvic muscles, joints and ligaments, making delivery easier. The hormone also produces similar relaxation effects throughout your body. Relaxin doesn't disappear when you deliver; its effects may be felt for several weeks afterwards. The continued elasticity in your joints is one factor in knee and elbow pain in the time following the birth of your baby.


Several factors contribute to knee and elbow pain after your baby is born. If you return to exercise too soon or work out at a high intensity, you may strain or sprain your knee or elbow. The repeated motion of picking your baby up, putting her down and rocking her is another possible cause of elbow pain. Relaxin contributes to unsteady joints, which increases the risk of injuring your elbows or knees during everyday activities that wouldn't otherwise be worrisome. Take extra caution in the weeks after your baby is born to reduce pain and the chance of hurting yourself.

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Over-the-counter pain medications are typically effective at relieving discomfort and inflammation in the affected area. Rest your knee or elbow as often as possible, which aids in recovery and prevents exacerbating the pain. Ice numbs the area, reducing pain and swelling. The Mayo Clinic website recommends applying ice to the painful area for 15 to 20 minutes, several times a day. If home treatment remedies don't provide relief or the pain continues for several days, contact your doctor.


In some cases, pain in your knee or elbow indicates a more serious health problem. As you recover from delivery, the relaxin in your body makes your joints, muscles and ligaments looser. If you fall or slip, your risk of injury is higher than customary. A fracture in the bone of your elbow or knee may be contributing to pain. Other health disorders can cause elbow and knee pain. While pregnancy and giving birth don't cause these disorders, you may begin to feel the pain around the same time. Since elbow and knee pain are sometimes experienced during pregnancy and the postpartum period, you might write the pain off as part of the process. Contact your doctor for assistance to determine a diagnosis.

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