Updated: May 3
Listen up mama, there are some things postpartum that might take you by surprise. Your first poop is one of them.
The first poop is scary no matter if you've had a c-section or vaginal birth.
Pooping requires passing stool through the pelvic floor muscles. If you tore during birth, have hemorrhoids, or are just down right sore from birthing a human, this can be pretty freaky.
Pooping also requires a gentle amount of abdominal pressure (no, not holding your breath and bearing down), but if you've had a c-section even normal pressures might feel vulnerable.
This is something we need to take seriously and prepare for! So here are my top 4 tips for postpartum pooping.
You want your stool to be soft. Hard, lumpy stool will be more difficult to pass and therefore more painful. If you had a long labor, epidural, or c-section, all of these circumstances will lend themselves to hard, lumpy stool. Anesthesia and pain medication can also cause constipation.
If you've had a significant tear or a c-section, I highly recommend actually taking stool softeners for a few days or weeks to help move things along until pooping is no longer scary or painful.
Elevate Your Feet
Get your feet up onto a stool like a squatty potty or a trash can turned on its side for pooping. This increased angle of hip flexion helps release pelvic floor muscles like, puborectalis, and allow stool to move out of the rectum without straining.
When the pelvic floor is tight and restricted, it's much harder to move stool through without straining. This results in increased pain with bowel movements and likely incomplete emptying, allowing stool to remain in the rectum, which will lead to constipation and hard, lumpy stools.
Having good pooping mechanics can make a big difference. If we have a tight and tense pelvic floor and a habit of forcing stool out by holding our breath and bearing down, we are actually working against normal mechanics for pooping.
This style of pooping can cause hemorrhoids, prolapse, and constipation overtime.
Make sure you are relaxing your pelvic floor and breathing while you are on the toilet. Occasionally, a hard stool may require a little extra pushing, but this should not be the norm. Relaxing on the toilet will make a big difference in your ability to poop postpartum!
Getting additional fiber in your diet during this time will help smooth things out. I always recommend getting your fiber from whole foods rather than supplements. Adding leafy greens, carrots and fruits to your diet during the postpartum period will help move your stool to the exit more smoothly.
Remember if you are nursing a new baby, you are likely going to be craving hearty foods and quick. I found preparing a salad to be too time consuming and not calorie dense enough to be worth my time.
I asked my mom for help with this, and she prepared me pre-made salads in jars to help with my fiber intake.
If you have a support network available to you, ask them for little factors like this! These little things go a long way.
Postpartum pooping can feel really scary. Many moms are not prepared for the first poop after giving birth. Whether you gave birth vaginally or had a c-section, both circumstances will interrupt the normal mechanics for pooping.
It's important to have good pooping mechanics and soft, smooth stool postpartum to help decrease pain and fear that can develop due to pain.
Using stool softeners, a stool under your feet, adding leafy greens to your diet, and making sure you breathe while on the toilet are excellent ways to have a smooth postpartum pooping experience!