Abdominal surgery is a pain in the butt — and sometimes the intestines. There's a lot you don't hear about before having a C-section. No one talks about how cold you'll be, or how long it takes for the drugs to wear off. You probably assumed that bathroom issues will somehow skate right by because of the alternative exit path your baby departed your body from, too. But then at the hospital, the nurse tells you that you have to pass gas before you can leave. Weird, right? Why do you have to fart after a C-section before going home? It seems really inconvenient, to be honest.
You have to pass gas or flatus after you have any abdominal surgery, and a cesarean is no different. The reason is that when you have abdominal surgery, you're automatically at risk for a complication called a postoperative ileus, which is the cease of peristalsis of the intestine related to the specific medications administered during surgery, which slow the digestive system and frequently cause this type of blockage. The ability to pass flatus in the postoperative period is evidence that your intestines are working properly and that you're not suffering the effects of a postoperative ileus, according to Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management.
Thankfully, science has found a way to speed up your slow digestion and get your body in tip top shape with the ability to get you out of the hospital and impress 10-year-old boys everywhere. (Because the longer the gas is in the tank, the stronger it gets if you know what I mean, and I think you do.) Research published by the Journal of Perinatology found that chewing gum for at least 30 minutes in the postoperative period helps jog your intestines into doing what they're meant to be doing. Researchers actually suggest that even after you've got your get out of jail fart out of the way, you continue chewing gum for 30 minutes, three times per day until you're back on your regularly scheduled flatulating program.
The study did not suggest which gum works the best, but I can tell you from personal experience, Bubble-Yum Watermelon is the superior gum for blowing double bubbles, so it stands to reason that it could pass a double bubble — or it just tastes really good and hospital food sucks, whatever. You chew you.
Your digestive system is really important beyond your regular comfort. If you can't pass flatus or have bowel movements regularly, it's dangerous for your body, and you might end up finding yourself needing another surgery because of a mechanical blockage that's built itself up inside of your intestine after the peristalsis has slowed or stopped. Why do you have to fart after a C-section before going home? Because that gas is tells you that you'll also be able to move your bowel and resume a healthy postoperative condition.
Also, there's a lot of air trapped in your body after you're stitched up. I can tell you from having a few different abdominal surgeries, there isn't a one of them where they're not monitoring the flute of your poop chute. Heck, after a colonoscopy, they essentially stick you in a waiting room that may well be called the "fartorium" for all the gas being passed.
It's a pain in the butt that you're not allowed to eat or leave before you pass gas after a C-section, but it's absolutely necessary. Sure, it's embarrassing to have to sound the alarm when you've tooted, but consider it good practice for having a toddler who will gleefully tell you every single time that they've farted. You may as well join in the fun.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.