You’ve dealt with morning sickness, heartburn, constipation and labour – so the hard part is done, right? Not entirely. The first postpartum poop has its own unique set of challenges.
Here are some important things you should know before you “go”:
It won’t be a walk in the park
Your first trip to the loo won’t be a fun experience. It will hurt. Going to the bathroom after giving birth can be difficult for some moms. “The perineal area may be sore or inflamed, especially if you had an episiotomy, if you teared during the birth, or even if you had piles during your pregnancy,” explains Dr Diana du Plessis, midwife consultant and Philip’s Mother and Child Division representative.
“I was scared to go. I knew I had to, but I didn’t want to. It felt like my stitches were going to pop open,” one mom explains. “You have to just relax into it,” she says.
It won’t matter if you had a C-section
“If you had a C-section, the painful wound makes the first stool a major ordeal,” says Dr du Plessis. “Place your hands on the wound and press slowly downward in short pushes to rather ease the content out,” she advises. Don’t strain, as this will be painful. And take a book to keep you occupied, because you might be there for a while.
“Constipation is common during pregnancy, due to the relaxing effect of the progesterone hormone,” says Dr du Plessis. “Keep things moving by drinking lots of liquid, especially water, and eat plenty of roughage and fresh fruit,” she suggests.
Move around as soon as possible
We know you’re tired and sore after labour, and the last thing you want to do after giving birth is get up and move around – but you should. Walking will help to get your bowels moving.
The first postpartum poop can be scary, but it has to happen. Remember to stay hydrated, eat lots of fibre, move around as soon as possible, and ask your doctor for stool softeners.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.