Before I had my first child, I never thought about postpartum pooping and I certainly never talked about it. Turns out, it's horrible, but I was way too shy to mention it to anyone. Now, after three postpartum poops and more than a few diaper blowouts, toddlers pooping in the bath tub, and potty training accidents, I'm so unfazed by poop that I talk about it all of the time. I wondered if postpartum pooping was just bad for me, and not for others, so I asked some other parents to describe their first postpartum poop to see if painful pooping postpartum was a shared experience, or if I was just unlucky.
Holy crap (pun intended) it turns out that most of the people I asked deserve a solidarity fist bump. My straw poll revealed that other moms experienced similarly difficulties, including painful and even scarier postpartum pooping than I did, and all without epidurals because why don't they give us epidurals for the postpartum pooping process you guys? Once again and always, postpartum moms are the real MVPs. And the moms who had relatively easy experiences? They had one thing in common: preparation. It seems that for life, parenting, and definitely for postpartum pooping, preparation is everything.
So moms-to-be, if you are squeamish about poop, or you're ashamed to ask another mom or your doctor about how to prepare for postpartum pooping, read on for some tips and tricks (and a few horror stories), to make your postpartum pooping experience go a little bit smoother. May the odds be ever in your favor.
"It was so bad. After the emergency C-section I already felt like I was cut open, then they wanted me to poop. There are not enough stool softeners in the world to make my dissected stomach muscles want to push a poop out. I cried, and a nurse held my hand, for 15 minutes before anything moved. It was more agonizing than the healing muscles and tissues."
"I screamed on the toilet very loudly when I realized what was happening. I used the peri bottle that I had filled up with hot water and sprayed behind me while I screamed and stomped my feet. I survived, though. Once it was happening it wasn't as bad as I thought, but nothing could prepare me for 10 months of postpartum hemorrhoids. I would rather have a first postpartum poop forever than go through that."
"It felt like my C-section incision and battered vagina were both going to explode. Also, I still had a catheter in, so every time I tried to push the poop out it felt like my urethra was being attacked with a lit sparkler."
"It was like giving birth again, except with more blood and nothing to snuggle with afterward."
"I was worried about it being bad because it had been almost a week and I had stitches. I had my mom hold the baby right outside the door for emotional support, but it was actually easy peasy, and I ended up laughing about it because I expected way worse. I did take stool softeners as prescribed. But I also was constipated before labor and had a nurse wiping my ass as baby made his descent. At least I know now for next time that I need to take Colace third trimester to prevent that nightmare from happening again. LOL."
"A friend had given me the heads up that his wife had experienced a really painful first postpartum poop after their first child was born. He recommended that I take a stool softener in the hospital. When the time came, I asked and the nurse seemed surprised that I wanted one, but I insisted. I kept taking them until I had that first poop on day three. It was easy. No pain. I followed the same protocol after giving birth to my second baby, only this time I didn't have to ask the nurses for stool softeners. Instead, they just gave them to me."
"Usually I'm regular, once a day even being almost 41 weeks pregnant when I gave birth. Well, since I was away from home and induced, I hadn't gone in two or three days. Oh Mylanta. It hurt so bad! I'd had a pretty normal vaginal birth and a few small 'surface' tears, nothing serious, but counter pressure is absolutely the way to help it out. I asked for stool softeners but I don't really think they made a difference. It looked just like normal. The second movement was definitely better than the first though."
"As someone who has IBS, I thought I'd experienced all the types of pooping one could imagine. I had torn a bit but it was more on the inside of my vaginal wall and wasn't a candidate for stitches. It burned so much but numbing cream did nothing. I was still in the hospital when I needed to have my first poop, so I had my peri bottle filled with cold water (such a mistake) to keep me cool when it was hot down there. To my surprise the only unpleasantness was the actual cold water freezing my bits. My fright and the horror I'd read about were all for naught. For once in my life, my IBS made it easy to slip right out. LOL"
"I have described the first postpartum poop as 'the second birth' to anyone who will listen. I literally held myself together with a warm washcloth when I went for the first time. Oh, the glamour of childbirth."
"I felt pregnant. I was so constipated for three days after a C-section and afraid to take a stool softener because I have IBS. I don't recall it hurting at all. It just took too long to happen."
"My first postpartum poop happened about 12 hours after I gave birth and while I was still in the hospital. It scared the sh*t out of me. I was going pee and it just came on suddenly. I had been taking a stool softener with my pain meds, but I didn't expect it to be a watery stool. Lucky for my hemorrhoids, it was. I half-screamed in the bathroom when it started, and my husband came running. It was pretty amusing. I hadn't realized how backed up I was until it came out. It was such a relief."
"The idea of the first poop for me was absolutely terrifying, but I had taken enough of the stool softener they gave me that it was OK. I only had a few stitches from birth, so I wasn't so concerned about them. That first pee hurt really bad, though. I'm sure my stitches were right by my urethra, it took about a week for it to not sting."
"It felt like Satan was trying to emerge from my asshole. I'm 25, with four kids. I thought I was going to die after my first birth because I had an episiotomy."
"My first I was horrified because of a 3rd degree tear. I'd heard everyone's stories about how awful it was and it made me scared to poop so I ended up waiting too long. I was also on pain medicine so that probably made it worse. By the time I finally went I had read tips online so I decided to use a frozen pad for counter pressure on my stitches. It still felt like I was pooping glass, though. The second time I took my stool softeners from the moment I left the hospital and it wasn't bad at all."
"OMG. Day six postpartum from first baby, vaginal delivery. I knew Colace wasn't going to make much of a damn difference, because it hadn't for my whole pregnancy. I was scared, but I wasn't prepared for the fact that I couldn't get it out. Like, I knew it would hurt, but it was actually too big.
I was shouting for my husband because I genuinely thought I needed to go to the ER. He couldn't hear me, and I didn't have my phone, so I thought I was going to rupture something all by myself with no one noticing. I used way more hypnobreathing techniques than I ever did in pregnancy! Finally I succeeded, though I ended up with a fissure, and my husband had to spend 30 mins breaking it up to get the toilet to flush. True love."
"I was young and stupid with my first and too proud to accept the stool softeners (I had issues with constipation prior to pregnancy, so I don't know what I was thinking). Holy crap. Four days later and I thought I was dying. I had him with no pain meds, despite being induced with pitocin, but I swear this was more painful."
"You always hear of the horror stories about pooping after delivery. You never hear, 'Oh, my first poop post delivery was easy peasy.' You won't understand why until you push out a baby and rip and tear. Your entire downstairs feels like it's torn apart. I'll never forget the nurses telling me the importance of needing to poop before I was discharged. They were even nice enough to give me stool softeners at one point.
Peeing alone was stressful enough that when it was finally time to go number two, I was sweating before I even sat down. Every push felt like I was reliving childbirth. I thought for sure my insides were on the verge of falling out. The pressure and overall soreness was extremely painful and then came the burning, as my tears felt like they were ripping even more. It's honestly a sh*tty experience, and there's no other way to describe it."
"I had to poop before I left the hospital. I really didn't want to. They set me up with Colace, Dermoplast (benzocaine spray), and a peri bottle. Let's just say, I gave the most minimum amount of effort allowed so I could leave. Pooping after labor is terrifying."
"I don't recall receiving any stool softeners in the hospital after having a C-section, and I didn't take any once I was home. It was terrible. My mom could tell I was desperate and in pain, and she asked a question that only a mother would ask: 'Do you have Vaseline and a glove?' I declined her offer."
"I couldn't but I really, really needed to. The toilet was at a higher level than I was used to and I couldn't make it work. Finally I grabbed the wastebasket, stuck my feet on it so I was in a semi-squatting position (still on toilet of course), and it happened."
"I can never be thankful enough for the nurse who brought me Colace the moment I got to my postpartum room. My hospital gives it to everyone after birth during their stay to preemptively try to make sure it's less traumatic. Day two postpartum I had myself all worried, but didn't have issues, thankfully. I could have kissed that nurse."
"I birthed my son four years ago. Every poop since that day has been different than any poop I ever had before delivering. I had a 4th degree tear, so I had stitching into my rectal muscle. I experience some discomfort every day while rubbing the stitches when wiping after bowel movements. I also have some, um, 'difficulty' while having sex. I think the nerve endings in that general area are confused. I feel like my husband is attempting anal when he tries to enter my vagina from behind. He insists he is never anywhere close to my anus."
"I wanted to go home so badly, and I knew they wouldn't let me leave the hospital until I pooped. So at the first hint of motion, I went into the bathroom and pushed as hard as I did during labor. It felt like a million tiny knives in my butt hole. But the pressure was on (literally). I cried. I yelled. I cried some more. But I was not about to stay in the hospital with my awful postpartum nurse a minute longer than I needed to."
"Mine was not really bad at all. I had taken a shower at the hospital, and then sat down on the toilet and didn't try and force it or anything. I just relaxed and let gravity help. LOL. It probably helps that I didn't have to push long though, and had no hemorrhoids."
"I had two babies back to back. They are actually born on the same day, one year apart. I had an epidural with both deliveries and my first post delivery BM wasn't horrible, but it was definitely uncomfortable. My second baby, however, felt like I was being ripped apart. I was unaware of any complications but it turns out I had strained my perineum so badly that I tore internally. Trying to use the restroom for the two weeks following my delivery was excruciating."
"I had a 3rd degree tear for my first child, many stitches, and was taking Vicodin for postpartum pain for about a week after. Silly me, I thought it would be fine to stop taking the stool softeners after I got home. When I finally did go I felt like I was re-tearing everything back open, it was that awful. I hadn't gone in about 10 days and was literally crying in the bathroom. I didn't call the doctor because I was so embarrassed and just toughed it out. Second kid I had learned my lesson, took stool softeners on time every time and drank plenty of water and it was much easier. Yes, a little scary, but not even on the same planet pain wise. Moral of the story: don't be like me, take your stool softeners and if something is wrong tell your doctor. That's literally what they are there for."