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

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!

Birth, Postpartum, pregnancy

DIY Padsicles: How to Make Frozen Pads for Postpartum Recovery

Make Your Own Frozen Pads for Postpartum Recovery Care

After giving birth, your body has a lot of healing to do. If you delivered vaginally, or delivered by cesarean but did some pushing and laboring, you may have swelling and tearing of your perineum. (The perineum is the area between the anus and the vulva.) Padsicles will be a key to alleviating pain and healing as a postpartum mom.

Postpartum bleeding is normal and most women experience vaginal pain after delivery. Think about it- you removed a human from your body- it’s going to take some time to let that heal! You may experience painful urination after delivery and general pain in that area. This is why padsicles can be such an important part of your postpartum recovery kit, and they are easy to DIY (and cheap!)

I’m going to tell you what you need to make DIY Padsicles, why you’ll love them and when to use them!

This post contains affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may get a commission for the products recommended.

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What You Need to Make Homemade Padsicles:

Homemade padsicles are an easy way to aid your healing after birth. You only need 4 things, although some women like to add a 5th ingredient. (Find all of these in my quick Amazon Postpartum List)

  1. Maxi pads

    You can choose what size (or sizes) you want to use. In the video, I am using a large hospital pad. However, this will work with any store-bought maxi pad. I recommend getting one that is long enough to fill your underwear and thick enough to hold the witch hazel and aloe vera.

  2. Witch Hazel
    Witch hazel is anti-inflammatory making it a safe soothing topical remedy. Witch hazel is often used to treat sunburn, razor burn, bug bites, hemorrhoids and more. It is traditionally known to have a soothing effect on the skin.

  3. Aloe Vera
    Aloe vera is known to reduce swelling and itchiness. It has a cooling and soothing effect, making it a great part of padsicles for vaginal relief. Aloe vera is also healing for wounds, which is good news for a new mom with a painful vagina.

  4. Freezer-safe bag and/or pad wrapper

    When using a standard store-bought pad, you want to leave the wrapper on while making the padsicle and wrap it back up for freezing. If you use one that does not have a wrapper, or choose to remove the wrapper, you can simple roll the pad and place in a freezer-safe bag. Once you’ve finished your batch of padsicles, it’s easiest to put into a large freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer until they are needed.

  5. Essential oils
    Some women like to add essential oil such as lavender to their padsicles. This may be an added benefit, however, the witch hazel and aloe vera will be enough for the healing mom.

My “recipe” is to squirt them until the pad is adequately wet and will freeze well. I do not measure. However, if you love to measure, here’s a suggestion:

Step by Step Making Padsicles

  1. Unwrap the pad, but leave the wrapper attached so that it can recover the pad after you complete the padsicle

  2. Start with witch hazel. Saturate the pad- 3 to 4 tablespoons worth.

  3. Add the aloe vera. Use 2-3 tablespoons worth.

  4. Add a couple of drops of lavender oil if you’d like.

  5. Use a spoon or stir stick to spread evenly over the pad.

  6. Fold the pad and cover with wrapper.

  7. Put in freezer safe bag and into the freezer until they are needed.

  8. Pull them out and enjoy the relief after baby.

When To Use Frozen Pads After Delivery

Vaginal pain will likely continue for 5-14 days. As time progresses, if you are getting rest and being easy on your body, the pain should decrease each day. Padsicles are great for the first few days after you get home. Personally, I have made 1 pack of maxi pad padsicles for my postpartum recovery and they were more than enough for my healing. I wore them throughout the day for 4-5 days after coming home from the hospital. While in the hospital, take advantage of the ice packs they have available as well as tucks pads and any other accessible recovery items.

Alternatives: How to Buy Them Instead

If you don’t want to make padsicles at home, and you want to have an equivalent, you’re in luck! There are a few products on the market that help with postpartum recovery.

Frida Mom Perineal Pad Cooling Liners

DIY Padsicle Kit

Dermoplast Pain & Itch Spray

Tucks Md Cooling Pads

Reusable Perineal Ice & Heat Packs

Earth Mama Herbal Perineal Spray

Are you preparing for a new baby? Postpartum is an exciting time, and it can come with a lot of unexpected. I’ve taken the guesswork out of it and am helping women like you prepare for an empowered postpartum. How do you set up your support team? What conversations do you need to have with your partner beforehand? What red flags should you look out for? How do you prepare to still take care of YOU while taking care of a baby? I’m letting you in on it all in the My Empowered Postpartum eCourse.