Moms-to-be, I know you might not be used to talking with a stranger about bowel movements, so it probably makes you a bit uncomfortable. Trust me, after a few years, and more than a few diaper blowouts and potty training accidents, you'll probably be so unfazed by number two you will initiate discussions about it.
Let start at the beginning of motherhood. I am going to tell you about that first postpartum poop. Not the sugar-coated, "You may have a bit of discomfort" polite version of what happens, but the real, raw, unfiltered truth. To be honest, your first postpartum poop will really suck, or more accurately, really blow (pun always intended).
I am not trying to scare you, but you deserve to know the truth. It's hard (literally) and also literally a pain in your ass, vulva, perineum, and stomach. My first postpartum poop wasn't just painful, it was scary, because no one told it would be so horrible. Plus, the pain medication they gave me for my torn labia, and the general discomfort of expelling a six-pound baby out of my vagina, made things so much worse. As as result I took more medication, which started a vicious cycle and seriously compounded the issue. Crapping after childbirth hurt, a lot. It didn't come easily or smoothly and it made my butt bleed, just three days after getting stitches on my vulva. Not cool.
Why didn't anyone warn me?
People rarely talk about the bad or gross parts of motherhood, except me, because I have no boundaries. Kidding. Honestly, I want you to know what to expect and to have a few ideas about how to make it a little less, well, sh*tty. So,if you think you can handle the truth (and even more bad puns), read on for ten things no one else will tell you about that first postpartum poop.
It really hurts. If you deliver vaginally, like I did, your vulva and perineum might be a torn up, stitched up mess. If you deliver via c-section, you will have a new incision and the constipating effects of anesthesia to contend with. Regardless of the mode of delivery, your first poop will hurt.
It Might Be Worse Than Labor
I thought my first poop was worse than labor. After all, I didn't have an epidural when I was sitting on the toilet. I literally cried, so my now ex-husband rushed in to see what was wrong. He did not, however, volunteer to hold my hand like he did during labor. What a jerk.
You Should Use Stool Softeners
If I could go back in time and give myself one piece of postpartum pooping advice, I would tell myself to take as many stool softeners as was safe directly following delivery, and at regular intervals, especially when I took pain meds.
You Need To Be Careful
Slow down and don't strain. Use a stool to bring your knees higher, especially if you are short like me. The last thing you want is hemorrhoids on top of the other pain you are feeling.
You Should Use Pain-Relieving Spray
The hospital where I delivered gave me a bottle of pain-relieving spray to spray on my vulva when I peed. It works for pooping, too. Spray it, give it a chance to work, and then give it a try.
You Can't Put It Off Forever
The longer you wait, the worse it is, the more of it there'll be, and the longer it will take. Don't put it off, no matter how scared you are. Trust me.
You Should Avoid Cheese (And Other Dairy) Until Things Get Moving
Cheese is life. I totally get it, but the last thing you want is to be even more constipated when you try to poop for the first time after delivery.
You Should Eat More Fiber
If you can't find time to eat fruit, vegetables or whole grains, especially while trying to care for a newborn, pick up a fiber supplement and add it to your routine.
You Need To Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is important for healing, breastfeeding (if you choose to breastfeed) and general health. It's also important for pooping. It's hard to think about other things when they are not number one or number two on your priority list. Try to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. You might even be able to bring the nice water cup they give you at the hospital home to keep by your side.
Know When To Call Your Provider
Going too long without pooping after delivery can lead to some serious problems. If you've already tried everything else and you still can't poop, don't feel ashamed to call your provider. They may be able to recommend something to help or rule out a medical reason.
As a mom, you are going to learn to deal with some seriously gross stuff. Your first postpartum poop is only the beginning. It may be hard (literally) or painful (also literally), but you can do number two (OK, that one wasn't funny).