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Postpartum Constipation

A woman is experiencing postpartum aches and pains while sitting on a bed.

On top of a toilet sits a pink squatty potty with squirt bottles and a bag of flaxseed to assist with postpartum constipation.It was Wednesday morning after giving birth Monday night and I got a call to stool. I headed the call and was so impressed by what I saw in the commode that I was tempted to snap a pic to send to my bro-in-law (he is notorious for doing just this thing). I thought better of it and instead decided to share some tips with you all in hopes that your first poop after baby is as satisfying and painless as mine.

1. Get right before birth.

Making regular and easy bowel movements a priority in pregnancy will improve your chances of a wonderful post birth poop. Working ground flax seed into your diet can be a great help. My favorite way is to add it into muffins but another easy way is to just stir 1-2 Tablespoons into apple sauce.

2. Take a stool softener shortly after birth.

If you have a hospital birth this is something that you will most likely be offered, but if not then ask for it.

3. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies after birth.

It may not be what you are craving but eat them! your body will thank you. Pack some flax treats in your birth bag.

4. Are you a post-coffee pooper? Don’t skip the coffee.

Most of us have a bit of a schedule or a routine associated with our bowel movements. For many (including me), coffee and breakfast does the trick.

5. Wait for that urge to go.

This way the movement in your colon will help propel the stool out rather than needing to forcefully strain.

6. Do what works for you.

You may find putting your feet on a step stool or squatty potty is comfortable but this is not helpful for everybody. 

7. Support your perineum.

Once you get the urge, sit down and support your perineum by holding a folded washcloth against it prior to pooping.  You will find your perineum between your vagina and rectum. For me it feels most supportive to apply the pressure as close to the rectum as possible without blocking off any exit holes. Rinsing the washcloth in some warm water prior to application feels pretty good.

8. Use a spray bottle.

Those spray bottles are a fabulous way to get fresh and clean after your amazing poop.

Need some more support?

If more than a couple of days pass after birthing your babe and you haven’t had a successful poop, it is probably time to give your provider a call. You may need a little more help with laxative guidance. If you are still having trouble with your bowel movements, give me a call. You may benefit from a pelvic floor muscle evaluation and some more specific/individual strategies to get things moving.

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I was referred to Emily Wilson by my rectal surgeon. After years of dysfunction, I showed up in Emily’s office very discouraged. I thought I was in for 2-3 X’s of therapy a week, for weeks. In just the first appointment Emily taught me some exercises and changed my food regimen, and I had so much improvement! Emily made it easy to talk about usually embarrassing (to me) topics. Some things that Emily did that were really different than any other medical practitioner that I have had was an initial very thorough pre-appointment phone call and pre-appointment goals for each appointment…this saved so much time in the actual appointment and helped ensure that I wouldn’t forget anything I wanted to talk about. After the appointments she sent an email summarizing everything covered with any additional information that she mentioned she would link me to. I highly recommend her! She has changed my life!
- CD
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About the Doctor

Emily Wilson

With 13 years of experience in pelvic health, Dr. Emily brings a wealth of clinical knowledge to get to what matters faster. She offers compassionate care to adults, addressing a wide range of pelvic health conditions. Whether it’s optimizing your health before or after a hysterectomy, managing urinary incontinence, addressing bowel irregularities, dealing with pelvic organ prolapse or diastasis recti, or guiding you through pre and postnatal fitness, she is here for you.