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Bump & Beyond | First Bowel Movement After Delivery

  • Category: Women's Health
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Sarah Mallonee
Bump & Beyond | First Bowel Movement After Delivery

During my pregnancy, something I struggled with was having regular bowel movements. Pregnancy hormones can cause constipation, and there were several times in my pregnancy where I didn’t go for a week. When I had my daughter, I was concerned about getting caught in the same position with stitches. I had given many women advice on how to deal with this when they got home, but it’s a whole new ball game when you become the patient. So, what do you do to make it easier?

For starters, you want to stay hydrated. Being hydrated after giving birth is beneficial for more than one reason! It helps with breast milk supply if you are breastfeeding. It also helps to soften your stools. Make sure you have some fiber in your diet as well. Your diet contributes to the consistency of bowel movements. Some of the best foods to eat that help with constipation are:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Berries
  • Nuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Okra
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Coffee

*Note some of these foods may give you gas

Another recommendation is to take daily stool softeners for the first few weeks postpartum. Make sure that the stool softeners you use are not stimulant laxatives. It’s important to make sure you are well hydrated when you take stool softeners. They work by increasing the amount of water and fat your stool absorbs. This makes your poop softer and easier to pass. But that water has to come from somewhere! I find it’s easier to drink water out of my favorite insulated cup. I know a lot people have a favorite water cup! If you don’t have one, go out and find yourself a favorite. It may call for a Target run and a quick breeze through the baby section since you are already there (wink wink).

So you may be wondering, did these tips actually work, Sarah? In short, yes! It was definitely scary, and it felt like something may tear. But that was not the case. After all was said and done, everything was fine! I took my time and made sure not to bear down too hard. It will also help to sit in a squatted position. I heard so many women tell horror stories of their first bowel movement after birth that I was terrified. For me, it wasn’t bad at all, but I did follow this advice from my physician.

If you have not had a bowel movement five days after your delivery, contact your obstetrician (OB). They may recommend other medications or they may need to see you in the office. It is important to let your OB know if you cannot pass a bowel movement after delivery or if you are not passing gas, as this could be a sign of a rare but serious side effect of anesthesia.

While it can be scary the first time you have a bowel movement after delivery, there are things you can do to make it go as smoothly as possible. Follow these suggestions to make things easier for you. You’ve got this!

Extra resources:

Cleveland Clinic