Having a newborn is very much an “all hands on deck” kind of experience, which means that any kind of disruption, especially those involving the weird things that happen to your digest system after giving birth, are unwelcome and inconvenient at best, and debilitating at worst. I’ll spare everyone the details, but let’s just say that I had a few, um, surprises when it came to my own recovery post childbirth. And while, thankfully, they were fairly mild and easy to navigate around (or through), it was just another extra, rather annoying thing to handle when I was already struggling to keep up with the demands of new motherhood.
I think I would have been much better off if I had prepared myself for postpartum life a bit more. During my own pregnancy, I spent way more time and attention on managing the present and prepping for my baby's arrival, than I did when it came to what would happen once my baby arrived. And, sure, that probably sounds kind of like a no-brainer and totally normal because pregnancy is so long and labor and delivery is so taxing. Even as I type, my instinct is to say, “Um, yes, of course that’s what you did. That’s how it works.” But, I think it would have helped to maybe stockpile some sweats and flip-flops, get one of those inflatable bathtub cushions, and hoard some of my favorite (nonperishable) snacks, because postpartum life is tough and all of the digestive craziness you experience, certainly doesn't help.
So, in the spirit of true disclosure and to (hopefully) help new moms prepare for their post-baby days far better than I did, here are 5 absolutely bizarre things that your digestive system goes through after you have a baby.
Beware the sneeze. As What To Expect explains, incontinence is a common problem for postpartum women which, if you think about it, really isn't a surprise considering the extremes your lady parts have just experienced. The good news? There are a lot of ways that you can quell the issue (according to my birth instructor and every other source I could find) including but not limited to: Kegels, Kegels and more Kegels.
The good folks at BabyCenter have a great explanation on this rather regular occurrence. A number of things can affect your bowel movements, including: a long labor, whether or not you had a c-section, whether or not you chose to us narcotics during labor, or if you had an episiotomy. Thankfully, it can go away within a few days if you're careful (and relentless) to address it.
It Reacts To Stress
Even if you haven't had a baby before, chances are you've been warned about the sleepless nights and the overwhelming changes to your life and your routine. And while the physical effects of pregnancy and delivery can take their toll, so can some of the mental and emotional effects, too. As Everyday Health reports, stress can have a major impact on the digestive system.
It's Affected By A Poor Diet
If you took a seventh grade health class, you're probably familiar with the idea that some foods are better for digestion than others. (Although, if you've forgotten what you learned, it's okay because, honestly, who remembers anything about seventh grade?) During those early weeks at home with a newborn, chances are your own propensity for bloat or discomfort is pretty low on your list of priorities. As tricky as it can be, try to keep healthy foods within an arm's reach (or at least request them from the kind visitors who offer to bring you food). Your digestion and energy levels will thank you.
Exhaustion Matters, Too
Speaking of energy, the amount you do or don't have affects your digestion, too. As Woman's Day notes, there are a number of foods that help with your energy levels. Even when sleep seems like the furthest thing from your reality, the right snacks can still help you make it through. Hang in there, like many of the phases of newborn and postpartum life, the digestive issues too shall pass.