Your first postpartum poop is probably the last thing on your mind if you’re pregnant, but you’ll be glad you read this article once you experience it.
Just the thought of something ELSE coming out of anywhere “down there” after you have a baby can be terrifying. You’ll likely be sore, swollen, have fresh stitches, and/or the hemorrhoids are angry. Even if you have had a c-section, medication can cause constipation and harder stools, which can be a doozy on the bootyhole.
A few things to keep in mind: luck favors the prepared.
Being prepared on what to actually expect will help decrease the fear and nervousness, help you have an easier and less painful poop, and will help you to not have difficulty going in the long run (because there are so many factors that contribute to constipation in postpartum).
The most crucial items here are a footstool and a peri bottle — the other items are needed, but these two are especially key.
You want to be able to have your knees higher than your hips, to put you in a squatting position. This helps a muscle called the Puborectalis to lengthen, which allows poop to come out easier, without pushing or straining.
Peri bottles will help rinse away and clean yourself without having to use scratchy toilet paper on sensitive areas.
Don’t hold your breath while pushing, this creates a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor muscles. That excess in downward pressure can contribute to prolapse, hemorrhoids, and even pulled stitches.
Just like I teach my clients to push with their mouths open or during an exhale for birth, the same goes for pooping. Think about the pelvic floor and your bootyhole as continuous with your throat. You want an exchange of air, rather than a closed throat while holding your breath.
Instead, purse your lips like you are blowing out a candle, or exhale through your mouth like you are fogging up a mirror. This puts less pressure and strain on those sensitive tissues (even if you have had a c-section) and will help save your pelvic floor in the long run.
Don’t just go in their guns blazin’ after that baby is born. You want to be gentle and calm with those fragile and sore tissues, and utilizing some external perineal support can make a huge difference (this is where the cotton wash clothes come in).
When stool moves down into the rectum, it fills the lowest part up, just before it comes out of the anal opening. As that is filling, it will push and expand on the perineum, which is what is likely sore and swollen, and may have some fresh stitches.
Place the flat part of your fingers (with a washcloth as a barrier) on the perineum, and then gently push up towards your head, just to give that perineum something to hold it steady as stool comes out. Makes a huge difference!
Don’t go into the poop dehydrated, which is easy to do. Having a baby is hard work, and we are often times dehydrated and tired, especially when breastmilk comes in and takes a ton of fluid from our body to create the milk.
Try to stay as hydrated as possible and start on stool softeners (if it’s ok with your doc) before you go into labor, so you are setting yourself up for success. Sometimes you will poop WHILE having the baby, so even more important to start your stool softeners and fluids so the next one (that may be in there for a day or so) doesn't become a problem.
While your first postpartum poop may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, it's one more thing you can prepare for and have some control over the outcome. Better safe than sorry!
For a complete roadmap for your birth prep, delivery, and postpartum journey check out my complete program, Down There Done Right!
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