After the birth of your baby, there are so many things to stress about, like breastfeeding, when will my milk come in, bleeding and the first postpartum poop. The thought of having anything pass through your sore maybe torn pelvic floor can be scary and off putting. It can be painful if you’ve experienced tearing and required stitches, and slow and difficult to move if you’ve had a caesarean or taking pain medication. But please relax as I’m going to provide you with some tips to make it easier and less traumatic.
1. REMEMBER: bowel movements are normal:
Going into it with a positive mindset can have a huge effect. The calmer you are the more your body’s responses will relax, so the more positive you are, the less likely you are to have a fearful physiologic response.
2. Stay Hydrated:
Keeping yourself adequately hydrated will keep your tissues healthy, your intestine/bowel lining happy, and your stool consistency soft. Stool softeners can also assist if you are having difficulty opening your bowels – this is more common in women who have had a caesarean birth. This is due to the pain medications that they provide you after birth slow down and make your bowels more sluggish. If you have not opened your bowels after a few days, please speak to your midwife or GP.
3. Good Posture:
This is fundamental for good bowel movements even for non-pregnant people. To improve the angle of the rectum for pooping to allow easier movements, have a stool or support under both feet to get your knees higher than your hips. Throughout your bowel motion make sure you exhale as you bear down to poop instead of holding your breath. Avoid holding your breath at all costs as this causes your pelvic floor to tighten.
4. Pillow for Support:
For Caesarean births, with a pillow apply pressure to your abdomen and scar site as this will support the scar while you poop. Making it far more comfortable.