Birth, Postpartum

Postpartum Constipation: Guide to Pooping as New Mom

Pooping Problems After Giving Birth

Shit happens, but sometimes it doesn’t. After giving birth, up to half of women will deal with postpartum constipation. This is another part of life after baby that isn’t discussed but we are here to give you the rundown: why postpartum constipation is common, what you can do to get things moving again, and when you should talk to your doctor about constipation.

Disclaimer: (I am not a medical provider. I am a mom, a researcher, a coach. My goal is to help you have the information so you can seek your medical provider if needed.) Disclaimer #2 this post may include affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission on sales made through links on this page.

Peeing and Pooping After Birth: The Amazon Must-Haves

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Why Do New Moms Get Constipated After Giving Birth?

There are a lot of things that shift “down there” when you go through birth. Regardless of whether you had a belly birth or vaginal birth, there are spots that are tender and mentally, we are nervous about feeling the pain again.

Physical factors of postpartum constipation:

  • Dehydration: You lose a lot of fluid in birth and you may go a long time without drinking. This may make it difficult for your stool to pass through.

  • Labor Hormones: All of those hormones that go into birthing you baby may also make your bowel movement more difficult.

  • Medication: Many painkillers are known to cause constipation. If you have painkillers during or after your birth, this can play into after birth constipation. (Cesarean/belly birth may include more medication which can increase chances of constipation. Iron medication (which may be used for some women due to blood loss) also are known to cause constipation.

  • Lack of food: Many hospitals require women to stop eating during labor. This may mean you have less to move through your system following birth.

  • Poop during delivery: Some women poop during delivery. Think about it, if you’re pushing, it can happen! (Don’t worry, your doctor or nurse has seen this before, it’s okay!)

    Mental factors of postpartum constipation:

  • Fear of pain: Our bodies naturally tense up when we fear pain. If you had tearing, an episiotomy or an incision during birth, you may have fear about pain when trying to poop.

  • Embarrassment: If you have a well-meaning nurse, partner, family member, etc. who is helping you with postpartum recovery, you may feel timid about trying to poop after baby. Let it go sister- the embarrassment and the poop! We all poop.

    Related: DIY Padsicles

    How to Poop Again After Giving Birth

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  • DRINK UP! For a number of reasons, it’s important to stay hydrated and get a lot of water after birth. This will give your body something to work with!

  • EAT UP! Make sure to have some fibrous foods as part of your after-birth buffet. Whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies are important parts of eating after birth (and for the weeks of postpartum beyond.)

  • FEET UP! Using a stool to elevate your feet, legs and pelvis while using the toilet can help create relaxation in your body to help things move without strain.

  • BREATHE! Remember those breathing techniques you learned for birthing your baby? Those same techniques can be used to help you poop after birth. Relax your muscles and don’t rush/force it out.

  • Be gentle. Use a peri bottle or other way of wiping instead of toilet paper to be cautious of any tearing and pain. Use a sitz bath to help comfort the area.

  • Stool Softener. Your doctor will likely provide you a stool softener that is safe for breastfeeding and after birth. A medication like Colace can help things get “regular” again.

Dealing with Long-term Postpartum Constipation

While there are many ways to help things get moving right after birth, it is also important to think about the long-term impact on your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor helps our body to poop without pain or problems. There are many reasons to see a pelvic floor therapist (and pelvic floor physical therapy is standard care in some countries!) and ensuring that your able to poop and release gas when you want to (and not unwelcomed!) is just one part in addressing the pelvic floor.

RELATED: Do I need to exercise my pelvic floor?

Possible Problems with Postpartum Constipation

While postpartum constipation is quite normal, you do want to keep an eye out to ensure there are no complications. Hemorrhoids (swollen veins in the anus that can cause discomfort) can be common for those struggling with constipation. If you are experiencing pain, padsicles can be very helpful. If the hemorrhoids persist, your medical provider may want to look into it more.

As your body works to go back to normal, remember what is normal for you when it comes to pooping. How often and at what time of day did you go before giving birth?

If you experience bloody stools (keep in mind you will have postpartum bleeding, so you will likely see blood when you are on the toilet, but check to see if it is in the make up of your fecal matter), strange color and/or excessive pain, let your medical provider know.

RELATED: Bleeding after birth

For some women, constipation after birth goes away after the first few days. If this persists for more than a week, let your provider know and keep up the steps for helping your body get “regular” again!

If no one told you about constipation after birth, it can be surprising. Here at Postpartum Together we believe that NO PART of postpartum should be taboo and we are here to talk about it!

Related: After birth cramping

Baby’s Poop- What’s Normal?

Now that you know what to expect with your own poo after giving birth, it will be important to know what to expect from your baby’s poop too! Poop color, poop consistency and more can vary in the age of baby. Learn all things Normal Baby Poop over on the Zulily Blog.

Birth, Postpartum

Peeing After Birth: What You Need to Know about the First Pee

 

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The First Pee After Birth: I Did NOT Expect This!

Here at Postpartum Together, we’ve been talking about the unexpected parts of life after baby. We are usually prepared for birth, but there are many things that happen right after birth that can come as a surprise to new moms. One of those things is peeing after birth (or the first few days of peeing after baby) and how it can hurt and sting. We aren’t here to scare you about afterbirth, but to help you know what you can expect and to let you know you’re not the only one! I remember being shocked at how difficult it was for me to make it to the toilet the first couple of days after giving birth and how much I dreaded going to pee because it would sting so badly.

RELATED: Delivering the Placenta

Why Does Peeing After Birth Hurt?

Peeing After Vaginal Birth

Birth takes a toll on your lady parts. For women who deliver vaginally, there is often either an episiotomy or vaginal tearing.

Episiotomy: Surgical incision in the perineum during childbirth to enlarge the area baby passes through

Vaginal Tearing: Also known as perineal lacerations. This is tearing that occurs as the skin and tissue is unable to stretch enough for baby to pass through

Regardless of whether you have an episiotomy or have vaginal tearing as baby passes through, the skin and tissue is damaged in childbirth. This makes the area sensitive and can create open wounds. There is also swelling in this region which can contribute to the discomfort of peeing after birth. When you think about it- the swelling and tearing and wounding- it’s no surprise that there can be a burning sensation and pain when you pee.

Peeing After Belly/Cesarean Birth

It is also possible to experience painful pee after a cesarean birth. For those who push and labor for a vaginal birth but transition to cesarean, there may be damage- tearing and swelling- to the vagina from the laboring. Also, a catheter is often placed after a cesarean and the removal of that can cause painful urination.

How to Decrease Pain During Postpartum Pee

I don’t believe in magic solutions or the ONE MISSING STEP to fix your problems. The reality- for many women, peeing after baby is painful. It stings and burns and is a dreaded time. There’s no sugar coating that. However, there are some ways to help decrease that pain (and remember, it won’t last forever!)

  1. Peri bottle and warm water: A peri bottle is simply a bottle that you can fill with warm water and squirt at your crotch while you pee and after. Why? Because the pressure and water can help counteract the sting and allow you to pee more easily, plus a squirt after can clean you up without needing to wipe. No one wants to put toilet paper on that area right after birth. You can get a simple peri bottle like this one or a fancy pants one like this.

  2. Pain Relief:Decreasing swelling and alleviating pain are a part of afterbirth. For your vaginal damage, these are important parts of healing. First, pain reliever. Talk to your medical provider about what dosing is safe right after birth, but you should be able to take pain reliever. Second, ice pads. Cooling will help alleviate pain and reduce the swelling from tearing and bruising. You can purchase ice packs to put in your mesh undies, or you can make padsicles.

    RELATED: DIY Padsicle How-To

  3. Positioning: Believe it or not, the way you are seated on the toilet can have an impact on how you pee. Leaning your body forward can help position the area to be more relaxed. A foot stool allows you to lean forward, prop your legs and create a more natural flow. Foot stools are highly recommended for both pee and poop after birth (and all of the time!) Plus, it’s nice to have on hand once potty-training begins so it’s a great investment! Want the easy-to-stock-up Amazon List? See all the items recommended for pee (and poop) after baby here!

  4. Go in the shower/bath: Throw out your typical opinion of peeing in the shower. Sometimes the counter of warm water surrounding you is very helpful for those first few pees. Peeing in the bath? I know. It’s pushing boundaries, but if you can lay in the bath (get a sitz bath?!) and then pee right before getting out, it’s not that bad. And it can provide a lot of relief for that burn/sting sensation in the early days.

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Complications to Peeing After Birth that You Need to Be Aware Of

Most of the time, burning and pain while peeing subsides after a few days or weeks. As the body works to heal itself after birth, swelling decreases and tears/stitching heals and with that comes more “normal” urination. However, some women can experience UTIs after birth and it’s important to know when to seek medical advice. (I am not a medical provider. I am a mom, a researcher, a coach. My goal is to help you have the information so you can seek your medical provider if needed.) 

Signs of a UTI After Birth

Pregnancy increases risks of UTIs and the fear of painful pee can cause women to hold it in which can increase risk of UTIs. It is important to find a way to comfortably (as much as possible) pee after birth so that you can take in adequate fluids and not hold in your urine.

(Info sourced from Americanpregnancy.org )

  • Pain or burning (discomfort) when urinating

  • The need to urinate more often than usual

  • A feeling of urgency when you urinate

  • Blood or mucus in the urine

  • Cramping or pain in the lower abdomen

  • Pain during sexual intercourse

  • Chills, fever, sweats, leaking of urine (incontinence)

  • Waking up from sleep to urinate

  • Change in the amount of urine, either more or less

  • Urine that looks cloudy, smells foul or unusually strong

  • Pain, pressure, or tenderness in the area of the bladder

  • If bacteria spreads to the kidneys you may experience back pain, chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting.

RELATED: Pelvic Floor in Postpartum

Momma- delivering the baby is a huge feat! Don’t be surprised if there are still some things that are uncomfortable- we never want to scare you (it doesn’t last forever!) but make sure you aren’t totally shocked by life after baby!

This post includes affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission from anything you purchase. They don’t give us much, but hey.

Birth, Postpartum

Birthing The Placenta?! What Comes After Having Your Baby

What is This New Organ in Your Body?

No big deal, the placenta is just an extra organ your body grows along with baby. Yes, your body is THAT incredible- it grows an additional organ! This is what nourishes your baby throughout pregnancy. The umbilical cord connects your baby to the placenta as it delivers oxygen and nutrients to your baby.

It is a protector- filtering out harmful substances and waste and eventually passing on antibodies to your baby. This organ is also responsible for producing a number of hormones throughout your pregnancy (this is a reason why you can have a hormone “crash” after delivery). The placenta is usually attached to the side or top of your uterus throughout the duration of your pregnancy (Sometimes it is attached to the front of the stomach called anterior placenta.) Once you deliver your baby, the placenta must follow as well.after you deliver baby you then must deliver the placenta

When Do You Deliver the Placenta?

Once your baby has arrived, you will still feel mild contractions. This is because the uterus is working to separate your placenta from the uterine wall and move it through your birth canal for delivery. This is often referred to as the “third stage of labor.” The “afterbirth” may come quickly within a few minutes of birth or could take up to half an hour.

Your provider may assist in this delivery by gently pulling on the umbilical cord and/or kneading/massaging your uterus to help it move while coaching you through light pushing and breathing it out. Your placenta will move through the birthing canal with a gush of blood at which point your provider will inspect the placenta to ensure it has all been removed.

If you deliver via cesarean birth, your doctor will remove the placenta before closing your incisions. Your doctor will likely massage the top of your uterus to encourage it to contract.

RELATED: Bleeding After Birth

Does it Hurt to Deliver the Placenta?

While you will probably continue to feel mild contractions, most women compare the placenta to something jelly-like! Imagine giving birth to a jellyfish or a jellocake- now you have an idea of what to expect. While you may feel discomfort as your medical provider helps to aid it out via pushing on the uterus, the delivery feels different than delivering the baby. It is squishy- with no arms, legs, or a head to move through the canal so it can move through with more ease.

delayed cord clamping means the doctor cuts the umbilical cord after the placenta is delivered.

Delayed cord clamping means the doctor cuts the umbilical cord after the placenta is delivered.

Many women say they feel a relief of pressure once their placenta is delivered. You may be given Pitocin at this time to aid in the uterine contractions and help minimize bleeding. Oxytocin and prostaglandins, the hormones released during breastfeeding, can also prompt the uterus to contract as it returns to normal size.It’s common to feel nervous about the need to deliver something else after your baby’s arrival, but do your best to relax and focus on breathing, not tensing up. Breathing and relaxing your pelvic floor will make way for your placenta to move through.

What Do You Do With the Placenta?

There are differing opinions on how to handle a placenta after delivery. Medically it is seen as an organ that no longer has function, but some women choose to keep the placenta and discard it in different ways. If you give birth at a hospital, the standard protocol is likely to discard following biohazard protocol. Many hospitals will allow you to make other arrangements for your placenta if you proactively have this conversation, however, some states and hospitals have strict guidelines against this. If you deliver at home or in a birthing center, you’ll likely have more conversations throughout your prenatal care about what you would like to do after delivery. Many birthing centers and home delivery midwives will make a plan with you.

Biohazard Discard

The hospital will follow standard protocol- likely putting the placenta in a heavy duty plastic container and incinerating the organ for disposal.

Consumption of a Placenta

Some women believe this magical organ replenishes nutrients in the body and may aid in preventing or alleviating postpartum depression and other mood disorders while boosting energy and milk supply. There is varying research and medical opinion on this. Consumption may be through ingesting the raw placenta in something like a smoothie or through dehydrating the placenta and encapsulating it.

Related: Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression?

Burial or other Method of Honoring 

Some women choose to keep their placenta for an act of honoring it. This could be done via planting it alongside a tree, using it to create art or jewelry.what is afterbirth or the “third stage” of delivery

Preparing While You are Pregnant

While you are pregnant, you will want to talk with your medical provider about your placenta to gain more understanding.

During prenatal appointments, here are some questions you can ask:

1. Do I have any risk factors for placenta complications?
2. What are the signs of a placental problem?
3. What is the protocol for disposing of the placenta? (If you wish to keep it, talk with your provider beforehand about options.)

My story of Placenta Delivery

I am a mother of two and had two different birth experiences. With my first, I remember the afterbirth as uncomfortable, but not as painful. It seemed to move through me and out of me while I was more focused on holding my new baby. My body was relaxed and I noticed the placenta coming out but did not do a lot of extra work. My midwives massaged the uterus to help it expel the placenta.

With my second, there was a lot of anxiety in the room following my birth. My daughter was only on my chest for a couple of minutes before being taken for an exam and to the NICU, and she did not initiate any breastfeeding. I was making choices and having intense conversations with my medical team while the midwife was trying to deliver my placenta. As my cervix started to shrink back down to size before my placenta had been delivered, I was administered Pitocin to aid the contractions or the uterus. I was facing a retained placenta, and it had to be manually removed (yep, this means an arm up in the vagina to manually bring the placenta out.) This process was painful and much different from the peaceful ease of my first.

Related: Homebirth Story
Related: Hospital Birth Story

Being Informed About Your Birth

When it comes to delivering your placenta, it’s first important to know that it must happen! It is also important to make decisions beforehand if you wish to keep it instead of following standard hospital protocol. Lastly, it is important to have conversations with your provider about complications and risk factors. Most women will deliver the placenta with ease and free of complication, but there are some complications that can be threatening to the birthing mom and can lead to a cesarean birth and/or higher risks of bleeding after birth.

SOURCES: Information for this article was sourced from anecdotal evidence, story contribution from other moms, americanpregnany.org, healthline, mayoclinic.

Birth doesn’t need to be scary, but it is an important time to be informed. Empower yourself by asking questions of your medical provider and understanding the changes and process of your body.

Are you expecting and in need of a value-packed birth prep course? Check out Birth It Up!
Are you wanting to prepare for life after baby? Make your Postpartum Plan here!