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Postpartum Constipation: The Dirtiest Thing About Your Postpartum Recovery

Moms love to share “war stories.” From the moment you announced your pregnancy, you have probably been flooded with experiences and advice. Some of it’s great, some…not so great.

Even when it seems there is nothing sacred after all those doctor visits, there is one topic that even the most vocal of moms keep mum on…

Postpartum Constipation.

Sure, you had constipation while pregnant. This isn’t my first rodeo, you might say.

But mama…childbirth takes things to a whole new level.

I’m not talking about a few days of not going. I’m talking seven to ten days of constipation. I’m talking about a poop baby.

You read that right. A poop baby. And if you don’t have all the facts, you may be caught with a second little bundle of not-so-much-joy.

It feels like a ‘hush-hush’ subject. But the truth is moms want to talk about it – we just don’t want to be the one to bring it up.

So, let’s break the silence together, shall we? It’s time we stepped out and talked about something that we all have in common: that first bowel movement after delivery.

Say it with me…

Postpartum Constipation.

A little bit louder now.

Postpartum Constipation.

From the rooftop!

POSTPARTUM CONSTIPATION!

Buckle your seatbelt…with the inside poop scoop and a little prep, you too can get ready, get seated, and go!

If you are experiencing serious postpartum constipation issues after a week or more, have severe stomach pain, or if there’s blood in your stool, talk to your healthcare provider right away.

The Culprit:
Postpartum Constipation

Whether this is your first or fifth child, postpartum constipation can happen to you. Even if you were constipation-free with your first, that’s not necessarily indicative of what’s to come.

There are a few factors at play that can make it literally harder (pun totally intended):

  • After childbirth, it can take three or four days for your digestive system to start functioning normally again. This is especially true after a c-section. However, it has been known to take longer – a LOT longer. Side Note: Some hospitals require you to go or at least pass gas before you leave. Don’t let this fool you into thinking you are free and clear.
  • Supplements and medication taken during or after labor may also be slowing things down. This does not mean you should stop taking your pain medicine or prenatals. Your body needs those vitamins to replenish itself.
  • Fear of aggravating ‘downstairs’ soreness or stitches from a tear, an episiotomy, or a c-section may create a mental block and cause you to hold it. While even serious bowel movements should not affect stitches, ask your care provider if you are concerned.

Getting Ahead of the Culprit

Chances are the hospital will give you Colace to get things moving, but that may not be enough to get your system humming. Here are a few tried and true preparations that may help:

  • Start on Miralax as soon as possible. It’s tasteless, dissolves in water (or anything else), and it really helps “ease the go.” As with anything, it’s always a good idea to mention it to your doctor first if you want to take it while pregnant.
  • Eat fiberful foods.  What goes in, must come out.  But some food will come out faster than others! Load up on good sources of fiber – fresh vegetables, fruits (be careful with bananas; too many can lead to constipation), and breads. Avocados are a great source of fiber, and who doesn’t love a good excuse to eat chips and guacamole?  Or have your hubby whip you up a delicious smoothie or make burritos for dinner. Still need ideas? Check out this post on one-handed eating for some great tips and make-ahead recipes to stock up on before baby makes his debut!

    Mom Tip: Since you’re likely to be in the “baby fog” those first few weeks, plan accordingly. Take advantage of Amazon Prime Pantry to get tummy-happy items like Fiber One bars automatically flowing through your mailbox.

  • Hydrate. You should be drinking a lot of water right now, especially if you are nursing (a whopping 3.1 liters!). Get a big water cup or bottle, and keep it with you at all times. This will make it easy to track how much you’ve had, and a water-tight lid makes it convenient to take with you on the go. If you get tired of water, try postpartum tea which also helps with cramping and recovery in general.
  • Move! The more you move, the quicker you’ll…move. Take a walk with the baby around the block. Push yourself back and forth in a roller chair. Take a leisurely stroll around Target and tell your hubby it’s medically necessary. While you do need to take it easy those first weeks of recovery, you can still stretch those legs a bit.

Seat Yourself for Success

When you’re ready to take a seat on the porcelain throne, make sure you have a Squatty Potty–the “stool for better stools.”

How does the Squatty Potty work? Sitting on a toilet is actually quite unnatural for the human body. By elevating your knees a bit, you unkink your colon, straightening the path to the finish line.

Once you’re in position, try to stay as relaxed as possible. If you are nervous, distract yourself by reading or playing games. If you are concerned about your stitches, use a pad to apply pressure or keep a pillow handy to hold on your tummy.

Whatever you do, do not strain to push.

Take your time, and go with the flow.

The Aftermath

You did it! You delivered your second baby!

I hope it went smoothly and was absolutely un-noteworthy.  But if not, there are a few home treatments you can try in a pinch for relief or to reduce hemorrhoid swelling:

  • Sitz Baths — These are good for whatever ails you downstairs. A few times a day, sit in about 3 inches of warm water for 15 minutes.
  • Frozen Peas — A bag of peas out of the freezer helps soothe the beast and adjusts to your nether regions more easily than your everyday cold pack.
  • Bottom Balm — This all-organic natural balm is a huge soother for your nether regions!

If it’s really bad, call your healthcare provider. As we always say, “When in doubt, give doc a shout!”

Breaking the Silence on Postpartum Constipation

Friends don’t let friends have poop babies.

Let’s continue to shout from the rooftops and save our sisters from the pain of postpartum constipation. Together we can help moms know they aren’t alone and give them the information they need to be prepared.

Tell us your story!  What has worked for you?

Other Related Articles:

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Citations

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256?pg=2
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0068288/
http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/tc/postpartum-first-6-weeks-after-childbirth-common-problems

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