To all the new mamas out there, we see you. You are not alone. The help and support may look a little bit different right now, but it’s there. Now more than ever, reach out and connect. We are blessed to be in an age in which we can connect in so many different ways. If you are struggling through the fourth trimester, you are not alone. There are on-line postpartum support groups and communities, physicians, midwives, postpartum doulas, lactation consultants and pediatricians ready to support you.
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Constipation can happen to anyone. It can be a particular problem for women in the fourth trimester especially for those of us who have had vaginal deliveries with large vaginal tears or those of us that had cesarean sections. Women who experienced significant tearing with their vaginal delivery should try to prevent constipation to avoid placing excess strain on the vaginal stitches. Constipation after a cesarean section can worsen belly pain you may experience after surgery, not to mention bearing down is no fun those first two weeks. 💥💥Here are some steps you can take to prevent constipation in the fourth trimester:
🚽Start on a stool softener after delivery. Ask to start it in the hospital. Some great options include colace and miralax. These should be taken at least once a day. Continue taking it daily until you have healed.
🚽Up your water intake. Breastfeeding moms should be drinking at least 3-4 liters (a large coke bottle is 2 liters) of water per 24 hours. Avoid juices and sodas.
🚽Increase your fiber intake. Concentrate on eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed foods (potato chips, cookies, crackers).
🚽Take the lowest dose narcotic that treats your pain well enough to allow you to function. In addition, Try to ween off narcotic pain medicine as soon as you can. Narcotics slow your bowel and increase risks for constipation.
🚽Take some time to reduce stress. Stress can effect your bowels. Try some stress reducing activities such as deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, or journaling.
🚽Be as active as possible. If you are recovering from a csection, your activity is a little more limited, but the sooner you get up and move around, the better. Take a couple laps around the hospital floor and the house (when you get home) daily. 🆘Always notify your physician if you have constipation and the above tactics are not helping, or if you are having worsening belly pain and/or bloating associated with constipation.
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