You may be nervous about your first postpartum poop. Learn how to prepare your body for pooping after giving birth during pregnancy and postpartum.
You just spent several hours in labor and have completed the extremely difficult task of birthing a baby. Your body is most-likely overwhelmed with emotions and hormones, but take a minute to breathe and cherish the moment.
After delivering the baby then comes delivering the placenta, and third, delivering your first postpartum poop. You might have some anxiety and fears about pooping after giving birth. However, there is little to get nervous and worked up about.
The guide below will help prepare your body for your first postpartum poop. You will also gain advice on how to maintain healthy bowel movements while pregnant and postpartum.
Bowel Movements While Pregnant
Your body is going through a lot of physical and hormonal changes while pregnant to prepare for childbirth. Part of taking care of your body and your child involves strengthening your pelvic floor muscles and stretching your perineal.
You can begin perineal massages anytime after 35 weeks pregnant. If you’re not aware, your perineum is the tissue area located between the opening of your vagina and the anus. The perineum needs to be stretched to help prepare for the intense stretching that occurs during childbirth.
Perineal massages can be done by yourself or with your partner. Start by putting a water-soluble lubricant or natural oil on your thumbs and fingertips. Using both thumbs, massage in a U-shaped motion along the wall of the vagina towards the anus. You can hold this position for one to two minutes.
If you have ever gone to a yoga class at a studio or attended one virtually, then you should be all too familiar with child’s pose. LIke deep squats, child’s pose helps stretch and lengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Moreover, child’s pose and yoga, in general, can help reduce stress, which is key while pregnant.
To correctly do child’s pose, kneel on the floor of your mat or a carpeted area with your toes together. Your knees should be hip-width apart. Next, lower your torso down between your knees. As you lower down, exhale and focus on your fingertips — which should be stretched out in front of you. Lastly, once in child’s pose, focus on your breathing.
Deep squats will help lengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which will stretch the perineum. Your pelvic floor muscles are important because they support the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum.
To correctly do a deep squat stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your toes should be pointed slightly outward — close to a 45-degree angle. Then, lower your body into a squatting position. You can put your elbows on the inside of your thighs just above the knee for support. You should look like a sumo-wrestler when doing this exercise.
Hearing the word “kegels” might make you cringe, but there is a reason why doctors and other medical professionals recommend doing kegels before, during, and after pregnancy.
Along with other pelvic floor benefits, kegels also significantly reduce the development of postpartum incontinence. Perform kegels by tightening your pelvic muscles 3-5 seconds at a time, and repeat for 5 minutes to complete a set. Aim for a couple of sets a day.
Childbirth’s Effects on Bowel Movements
Childbirth affects bowel movements in several ways. You will experience hormonal changes, might have perineum tears or episiotomies, and can experience pooping during delivery.
Loosened Lower Muscles
Throughout pregnancy and during both labor and delivery, your abdominal, pelvic, and rectal muscles loosen. This loosening of these muscles is natural as your body adjusts to accommodate your baby.
During pregnancy, a hormone identified as “relaxin” begins to work immediately. Relaxin expands the elasticity of your muscles, tissues, and ligaments. These expansions are why so many women experience back pain during pregnancy. Even postpartum, relaxin can stay in your body for up to five months.
Episiotomies and Perineal Tears
Your OB might have discussed episiotomies and perineal tears with you already. Here’s a recap:
An episiotomy is a surgical incision made by a nurse or doctor on the opening of the vagina. Episiotomies occur during childbirth and help with the delivery. Having an episiotomy isn’t necessarily bad, and it is oftentimes necessary. They in fact prevent further ruptures of tissue occurring.
A perineal tear is similar to an episiotomy; however, they occur naturally. According to BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, perineal tears affect nearly 8/10 women during childbirth.
If you experience either a perineal tear or episiotomy know that sutures will be required to help with the healing process. If you’re having trouble wiping postpartum due to the stitches consider a spa bidet.
How to Prepare for Your First Postpartum Poop
Preparing for your postpartum poop might feel anxiety inducing and awkward. Remember though, it is a fraction of difficult from what you just experienced. Use these tips below to continue pampering that perineum.
Keep Those Fluid Levels High
Typically, childbirth leaves women dehydrated. Dehydration can often lead to constipation. To best prepare your body for your postpartum pooping experience, you need to replenish all of those lost fluids. It’s recommended that you drink 2–3 liters of water or high-electrolyte sports drinks each day after giving birth.
Consume Healthy Snacks
Postpartum, you most might feel some consciousness about the way your body looks. Don’t worry about that. However, to be healthy in general, and to help with pooping, eat healthy snacks and meals. From a postpartum pooping standpoint, your stomach craves fiber. So start eating high-fiber foods such as lentils, beans, berries, and even popcorn! If you’re on the run as a new mother, try mango-seed smoothies.
Take Light Walks
After some much-needed rest, and once you feel well enough, go on some light strolls. These light walks can help boost your mood and will help with your bowel movements. Postpartum depression can happen and walks with help prevent that from the onset. The ~10 minutes of movement will activate your body and bowels and help with any constipation you might be experiencing. Another good exercise after more time is swimming.
Giving birth is no small feat. You have just done an incredible act, and you should be proud of yourself. You’ll have lots of real and pseudo worries over the next several weeks. Hopefully, after reading this guide, postpartum pooping will not be one of them.
This is a guest post contributed by TUSHY. Visit TUSHY for more information and tips on postpartum pooping.