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Pooping After Birth: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Going for a poo after having a baby is definitely a big fear of many expectant mothers.

It’s good to be prepared, and if you can learn about ways to help yourself before the big day, it’ll make those early days of new motherhood a little bit easier. Needing to go for a poo but being either unable to pass one, or too terrified to try, is incredibly uncomfortable and not what you need at all!

Here we’ve taken a look at the ins and out of your potential post partum poo problems, with tips to help you visit the loo comfortably.

What can make it harder to pass a bowel movement after having a baby?

  • Dehydration, especially if you’re booked in for an elective caesarean (so aren’t allowed to eat or drink) or induced in certain circumstances. I wasn’t allowed to eat and was only allowed sips of water during my induction. Dehydration can cause constipation. Try to drink as much as you can in the run up to your date, as your cells should store some.
  • Pain killers are notorious for clogging you up!
  • Stitches, especially if you’ve had an episiotomy.
  • If you’ve had a caesarean, you may find the muscles in your pelvis have frozen up. This is only temporary, but can slow down the action of your digestive system too.

We had a chat with our parent community…

Loren-Nia Peake found that she didn’t have any issues with her first number two after giving birth. She told us “I think I must be broken, I had a vaginal delivery and my first poo was about 12 hours after delivery and it was absolutely fine!” Lots of other mummies also reassured us that their experience wasn’t that bad, so it does seem that it’s not a given that your first poo will be scary or painful.

On the flip side, Leah Clarke told us ‘Thought I was giving birth all over again, giant turd baby from my backside! The eye’s were watering for sure!’ Ouch, I can totally relate to this. I had an impaction, which was pretty grim!

Lots of our mummies also passed on some really handy advice;

  • Georgie Randall: “My doctor said to lean forward and relax. It felt like I was having contractions again, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought, it was all in my head!”
  • Carla Grant: “I held mine in for about 4/5 days! But I held a pad on my rear stitches and it was fine!”
  • Sara Ann Crankshaw: “With my first I was that constipated I blocked the toilet! After that I took dulcolax to help me go, the difference it made was unreal!

What can I do in advance to make the first post partum poo easier?

Luckily, there are many ways you can be prepared before the dreaded first visit to the loo.

  • Regularly take Lactulose or any other gentle laxative (after labour, obviously).
  • Drink lots of water. If you can’t due to a planned caesarean or specific circumstances of induction, once baby is out, make sure you get lots and lots of fluids in you.
  • Eat plenty of fibre in the run up to the birth.

The NHS advises…

  • Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and drink lots of water.
  • Take a gentle laxative – ask your GP or midwife.

What can I do after the birth to lessen any discomfort?

So you’re sat on the toilet after giving birth and you really want to do a poo, but you’re nervous because you’re sore – what next? We’ve found some handy tips to help you to poo pain free after a vaginal birth or a caesarean birth.

  • If you’ve had a section, I found that hugging myself or a pillow helped my muscles to do their job with less discomfort. They’ve been cut, stretched and then sewn – holding them definitely lessens the pain.
  • If you’ve had a vaginal birth, many mummies tell us weeing in a shallow bath or in the shower standing with water running over their vagina really helped to dilute the sting of their urine. Obviously you probably don’t want to do this for number 2, but it’s a handy tip nonetheless!
  • Holding a pad over your episiotomy stitches can help you poo more comfortably.
  • The squat position is a more natural position for doing a poo – if you get a step or a box, put your feet on that, this will open up your colon more freely.

Oh, and have you heard of ‘Padcicles’? We LOVE them!

All you need to do is follow this tutorial – basically, you saturate a pad with soothing things like aloe vera, and freeze them. Then when you pop them in your knickers, the relief is said to be INCREDIBLE!

So there we have it… our top bits of advice on that first poop after having a baby. We hope that it has helped to prepare you and reassure you!

Share your own snippets of post partum poop advice in the comments below.

Love from Katie! Xx

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