If there is something I was so scared about was Constipation after delivery. I remember having panic attacks on thought of going for a long call. I had read of some moms talking about how the first poopy moment was worse than pushing out the baby. In the worst case scenario, some moms who had had episiotomy had the stitches come out! I don’t know how true that is. Luckily, I never had constipation. I remember closing my eyes as soon as I sat on that toilet seat and waited for my hell of a moment. Phwex! One sausage after another after another, without pain! I opened my eyes in disbelief and VOILA! I WAS DONE! You don’t know how relieving that was. I didn’t know it was so much of a trouble until I got a call recently form my friend who just had a baby and she was telling me about her painful and tearful moments in the toilet. I shared with her my secret of having that soft and smooth stool after delivery. This is what this post is all about.
Constipation does not choose whether you had CS or Normal delivery. It is mainly caused by what happened before, during and after delivery. This is why you need to educate yourself here.
What causes post -partum constipation?
- Long labour with little food- If you have given birth normally, you know how bad that pain is. I labored for 18hours! Trust me, I never ate anything till the baby was born. For those moms who undergo CS, you know that you don’t eat anything at least 2 hours before surgery and even after, you eat sparingly. During this time, your bowel movement goes to sleep for hours. Then immediately after, most moms tend to overeat due to the hunger pang that they experience. This causes pressure to your digestive system and hence constipation.
- Low fiber diet-Some moms have low fiber diet. There are two types of fiber: Soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber allows more water to remain in your stool, making waste softer, larger, and thus, easier to pass through your intestines. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your fecal material, which hastens its passage through your gut and prevents that constipated feeling. So, if you have less fiber in your diet, you are more likely to constipate.
- Dehydration-After delivery you need to stay hydrated. This is the period you need to obey the 8 glasses of water daily. Remember breastfeeding requires you to be hydrated. The high demand for water in your body requires replenishing regularly.
- Medication given during delivery-Some of the anesthetic given during surgery, some iron supplement, narcotic pain medication trigger constipation as they slow down the digestive system.
- Sore perineum due to episiotomy– If you had a vaginal tear during normal delivery, you must have been stitched. Depending on the degree of the tear, one can experience some pain when passing stool. This can happen more so from second and third degree tear because the tear is very close to the anus. PLEASE DO SALINE BATHS ATLEAST 3 TIMES A DAY TO HEAL FASTER!
How long will constipation last?
Depending on the root cause of your constipation and the steps you take to treat it, it is very likely that it will resolve within a few days of giving birth. The important thing is to be proactive in treating constipation and follow the steps below.
How do you treat postpartum constipation?
- Have high fiber diet- This is the best thing you can do to yourself to keep constipation at bay. High fiber foods can be your best defense. If you are worried about gaining weight after pregnancy, high fiber diet is the best option as it is healthy and make you fuller and easy to digest. They have little fat and less calories. Foods such as whole grain cereals and whole grain bread, brown rice, beans, and fresh fruits such as oranges, pawpaw, pears, apples and green leafy vegetables (spinach and kales) are excellent fiber-rich foods. The more, the better!
- Eat small portion of foods frequently- This is very important especially after all that pushing. I know how the hunger is but eat small portion frequently. Remember you are breaking a fast. Start with fruits, after an hour have light meal with plenty of vegetables. I did this and the results were amazing.
- Drink plenty of water- Please have 6-8 glasses of hot water daily. The fibery foods that you eat will absorb the water you drink, making your stools softer and you will be a happy mom.
- Do not ignore the urge to go to the toilet- Most moms are traumatized just like I was. Delaying the action is postponing the problem and even making it worse. Delaying will make the stool harder and this will be more painful. Go as soon as feel the urge to and know your status. If you constipate, then address it immediately.
- Stool softener- If you are so scare about constipation, you can ask your doctors for some stool softener medicine before you leave the hospital. This is very important especially if you had third or fourth degree tear.
When should you go to the doctor?
In some cases, though not often, constipation is actually a symptom of a bigger problem. If your constipation persists or if you experience any of the additional symptoms below, contact your doctor or midwife immediately.
- You are having severe stomach pain.
- You are experiencing periods of both constipation and diarrhea.
- You are passing mucous or blood in your stool.
- You consider the rectal pain to be severe.
- You have a troubling amount of rectal bleeding.
There you have it moms. I hope this helps you in your next delivery. Please share with your pregnant friend. Coming up soon is how to manage hemorrhoids that make you see blood in your stool. Stay tuned! Like and follow me on FACEBOOK, TWITTER and INSTAGRAM to stay updated. You don’t want to miss out. Bye!