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12th Jun 2021

Nobody told me about shaking after giving birth and I was not prepared for how scary it was

Trine Jensen-Burke

shaking after giving birth

I was very lucky in that I had quick and relatively easy labours with zero intervention with both of my babies.

Both my labours lasted only about three-four hours from start to finish, and while it hurt, of course, I remember thinking both times that ‘this wasn’t so bad – I could totally do it again!’

However, after I had my little boy – my second baby – something happened that I was not prepared for in the slightest and had, in fact, not even heard about at all until it happened to me.

Literally within seconds of my son being born, the midwife lifted him up onto my chest so we could snuggle and I could try to feed him – just the same as what had happened when I gave birth to my little girl three years previously.

However, almost immediately after getting him in my arms, I started shaking uncontrollably – so much so that I was afraid I would drop the baby and had to call out to my boyfriend to please take him off me. I was shaking so much my teeth were chattering in my mouth and I was scared – nothing like this had ever happened to me before.

My two midwives remained calm, however, and grabbed some blankets and tucked them over me, gently stroking my hair and hands and telling me this was really common and nothing to be afraid of at all. Often, they said, once the placenta has been delivered, the birthing mum starts shaking all over, and sometimes this can last for as long as an hour afterwards.

Mine didn’t last that long, maybe 20 minutes in total, but it was still enough to make me feel scared – and wonder why the heck this was never mentioned to me in antenatal classes or any of the pregnancy books I had read.

Shaking after birth is more common than you think

The reason for the shaking not being talked about all that much, my midwife said, is that it tends to pass rather quickly for most women, and is not considered to be something that can be harmful or dangerous in any way. Studies have shown that as many as 40 percent of women experience some kind of shaking or shivering during or immediately after delivery, and the reason behind why it happens is usually rather simple – hormones.

Pregnancy and birth are massive hormonal events for your body, and when you give birth, there is almost like a rush of hormones and chemical events happening inside your body. Fluids shift and endorphins release, and combined with the exhaustion from giving birth, these things combined, experts think, can lead to the shaking and shivering so many women experience.

The important thing to know, my midwives assured me, is that it is not dangerous or a sign something is wrong. Instead, it is just your body trying to adjust to what just happened, and your hormones trying to make sense of it all too – all at once. Let your midwives or doctors know if you feel like you are staring to shiver after delivery, and they will chat to you and offer you blankets and some extra care.

Did YOU experience shaking after giving birth? Let us know in the comments!