The idea of that first bowel movement after delivery can be soooo daunting. What if it hurts? What if I get constipated? What if I rip my stitches? What if I can’t go? When will it happen? I’ve heard all of these questions. Whether you had a vaginal delivery with no tears, a vaginal delivery with a large tear, or a cesarean section it can be scary to even think about going number two.
It is so normal to have these thoughts, in fact, most women are very fearful of the first bowel movement after birth. Women with large vaginal tears after a vaginal delivery or women who have had a cesarean section are at a higher risk for experiencing discomfort with their first bowel movement. However, be reassured that a majority of women will have no problems with their first bowel movement. Many times, the fear of the bowel movement is worse than the actual bowel movement! So how can a new mama prepare for her first BM to make it as easy going as possible?
Here are six techniques you can employ to make having a BM as easy as possible:
1. Drink plenty of water, not juice, not soda, not tea, but water and lots of it. Breastfeeding mamas should be getting at least 3-4 liters (a large coke bottle is 2 liters) of water daily.
2. Increase the fiber in your diet daily. You can include fiber rich foods in your diet or take a fiber supplement. It is best to get fiber through your diet.
Foods rich in fiber:
*Fruits (apples, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
*Vegetables (broccoli, artichoke, brussel sprouts, carrots)
*Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans)
*Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios)
3. Take a stool softener daily. Choose stool softeners that increase the fluid in the stool to make it easier to pass. These stool softeners are gentle enough to take daily. These types of stool softeners tend to work well at preventing constipation before it starts, but they are not as effective at treating constipation. Some options for stool softener include: Colace, Miralax, Dulcolax.
4. Take the lowest dosage of narcotic that treats your pain well enough to still function (this especially applies to women who had a cesarean section). Narcotics can slow your bowel function and increase your risk for constipation.
5. Focus on your potty position and avoid the strain. Position yourself on the toilet so that your feet are up on a short stool instead of flat on the floor. This positions you for easier passage of stool through the rectum and out. This can reduce the bearing down and straining you may do to pass your bowel movement.
6. Relax. When you sit down on the potty relax your shoulders, relax your bottom, relax your legs.
While predicting when that first poop will happen is not a science, making it easy to pass can be. Practicing all 6 of these steps will help make that first trip to the bathroom a success, but you must be consistent with each step daily.
Here’s wishing you an uneventful first poop! You’ve got this mama