Postpartum poop: Here’s what you need to know

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.

The first postpartum poop can be scary, but it has to happen. Remember to stay hydrated, and eat lots of fibre.

While it may not be a topic you want to discuss around the dinner table, but for many moms, the first postpartum poop comes with many challenges. Here’s how to deal with them.

Pain following childbirth

Not many new moms anticipate their first trip to the loo would be challenging but 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 tore 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.

C-section versus vaginal birth

“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.

Drinks lots of water

“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.