Postnatal Constipation

After you have had a baby you may experience some form of constipation due to the lack of bowel movement during the first few days. There is likely to be an initial delay of bowel movement after giving birth and this delay is because of many factors:

  • During labour your digestive becomes slower
  • You have had an assisted delivery through the use of forceps or ventouse
  • The lower bowel will empty at the start of labour when your baby is manoeuvred down the birth canal
  • Iron tablets you may have taken can cause constipation after birth
  • If you have had stitches this can also be a reason for experiencing constipation

Will bowel movements be painful after birth?

Many women find that they often canít feel much sensation on their perennial area after birth. This is normally due to a numbing sensation which is caused by the nerves within the vagina. It is recommended to try and relax when you are attempting to pass a bowel movement. You will not tear your stitches by doing so but you could potentially worsen a tear if too much force is applied when constipated.

Treatment for postnatal constipation

If you do experience postnatal constipation you could try eating more fruit to soften your bowels. Plenty of fluid will ensure you are kept hydrated and help you to pass a bowel movement; water and orange juice are recommended. It is important to try and mobilise yourself once you have your baby and to take regular walks to loosen your pelvic area. Your doctor will be able to offer advice on specific pelvic postnatal exercises to help strengthen the pelvic muscles. If you do sit or lie down the constipation may become worse so try not to sit or lie down for too long.

What is the best way to prevent postnatal constipation?

After birth there will be an initial delay to pass a bowel movement. You may feel worried when trying to go if you experience pain but you should not deter from going to the loo as this could make the situation worse. Try to go to use the squatting position with your hands at your knees to help loosen your bowels. It is recommended to wear a maternity towel over your perineum or stitches to measure the amount of blood after birth.

Constipation and straining your bowels

Most women often strain to get over the constipation but this will only do more harm than good. Try to perform breathing exercises when you are constipated by pulling in your tummy muscles and performing a braces and bulge movement. Sometimes drinking a large glass of water can also give you an urge to go the toilet.

Seeking medical assistance

If you are experiencing problems with bowel movements and are still constipated you can speak to your midwife or health visitor. If the problem persists and you find that you are still straining you can discuss treatment with your doctor who will be able to offer assistance.

Postnatal Health:



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