Postpartum recovery is no joke.
Exhaustion, swelling, pain, sleep deprivation. It’s a major recovery, and you’re starting out behind the eight ball after labor or a c-section with a newborn in tow.
One of the toughest parts of postpartum to deal with is the physical toll childbirth takes on your body. Even simple acts like pooping ain’t easy after birth.
Swelling, tearing and the fact that your pelvic floor just passed a watermelon-sized small human makes taking that first poop postpartum a real fear for many moms.
Once you get through that first week or two, you’ll be fine.
But, how do you face the first poop postpartum when the very idea terrifies you?
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What’s The Big Deal About the First Postpartum Poop?
Your abdominal muscles just got a MAJOR workout – like seriously, the equivalent of an abs marathon.
Your pushing muscles are exhausted.
Your pelvic floor just had to stretch and pass a whole person…
and exerting any kind of pushing pressure makes you feel like your insides are about to fall out.
Plus, you’re super swollen everywhere down there… and you might even have tearing, grazing or stitches (that you don’t want to accidentally bust open) to complicate matters.
That first postpartum poop?
It’s legit scary.
What Helps You Go Number Two After Birth
Luckily, you just need to get through the first poop or two after birth and you shouldn’t have too much more trouble. Touch wood. (But keep up with your stool softeners just in case.)
Here’s what you can do to make your first poo less traumatic:
You want your first poop postpartum to be the easiest kind of poop to pass. Constipation is not good right now. Well ok, it never is. But you don’t want to be straining with already strained pelvic floor muscles and stitches.
Take the stool softeners. You’ll regret it if you don’t.
Your hospital may provide you with stool softeners, or you can prepare ahead by buying some Colace (or ask your doctor what they recommend).
Many stool softeners work by pulling water into the bowels… but they can’t do that unless it’s available. So, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, especially if you’re taking stool softeners.
Positioning is so important for a trauma-free postpartum poop.
If you’re at home for your first postpartum poop, a squatty potty can be a huge help to get you into the right position.
If you’re still in the hospital, you want to keep your back straight and lean forward. If possible, it’s good to have your feet a little higher so you’re in more of a squat-ish position.
Take it SLOOOOWLY
This is really key.
No pushing. No pressure. Let your body do the work. Your entire gut regularly contracts to keep what you eat moving.
Take your time with your first poop and let your body do it’s thing.
When your baby was born, your nurse or midwife may have applied counterpressure to your perineum to try help you not tear.
You may feel a bit more secure doing the same with that first poop postpartum so you feel less like your insides are going to fall out or your stitches bust open.
What should you use for counterpressure? Options include:
- a warm, damp washcloth
- folded toilet paper
- a fresh pad or pantyliner
Apply gentle pressure to your perineum as you go.
This Too Shall Pass
No matter what your postpartum experience is like, just remember the new mommy motto: this too shall pass! It works for pretty much every situation, ever, when it comes to pregnancy through child rearing. Even if it doesn’t feel like it will at the time.
More on Postpartum Recovery
- DIY Padsicles in 30 Minutes or Less: Easy Postpartum Cold Packs
- Postpartum Sitz Bath: What Every New Mom Needs to Know
- 15 Postpartum Essentials for an Easier Recovery from a Vaginal Birth