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Bits of wisdom for new parents bundled up in a blog!

The Stinkin’ Truth About Pooping After Childbirth

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There you sit, two days after having your baby. You know what you’re about to do is IMPORTANT, but just can’t find the push and drive to put yourself through it. Ok, here you go. You’re going in.

It’s time to poop for the first time since you had your baby.

Those around you (unless they’ve been in your situation), will have no idea why you are so concerned. They have no idea that you are afraid this is going to feel like white hot ashes, fire and pine logs coming out that sphincter that’s afraid to open. The last thing that may have squeezed out of your body was that 8 pound baby laying sweetly in their bassinet…..and you’re still feeling the burn of that experience.

So instead of making this worse that in has to be by working ourselves into a firestorm, let’s talk about ways that may ease your anxiety, pain and produce a hefty result to make it all worth while. Here you go:

  1. Stay hydrated. Bowels work best if your diet contains the proper amount of fluids. Water, tea, sparkling water, etc. All of these fluids help soften

  2. Eat high quality fiber rich foods that help you poop. You can find an simple list HERE.

  3. Drink one cup of coffee or tea with caffeine. A November, 2018 article on OneHealth.com stated: “Although there have been no large-scale studies on this subject, what we do know is that drinking coffee can stimulate movement of the colonic muscles, thus promoting peristalsis (the coordinated contraction and relaxation of intestinal muscles that causes bowel movements).” Worth a try if you like coffee and pooping has been difficult.

  4. Relax. Easier said than done, but try. Sphincters open more readily when the rest of the body is relaxed.

    I hear you asking, “But how do I do that when there’s a baby needing me in the other room and I need at least 20 minutes?” My answer: Plan your poop….if you can.

    To plan for pooping, ask someone else to be in charge of your baby (your partner, your mother-in-law, your postpartum doula). Now, grab your favorite book, magazine or your phone so you can play some uninterrupted Candy Crush or Farmville. Some sort of entertainment because you’re (likely) going to be there for awhile.

    Shut the door, put in headphones to tune out the household, turn on the fan and assume your optimal pooping position (feet up on Squatty Potty, leaning forward, leaning back, etc).

  5. Don’t strain. Straining can make pooping after childbirth all the more painful. Straining can exacerbate your cesarean or perineal wounds….all those places you got stitches (if you had any). Straining also uses abdominal muscles that are not ready to be worked quite yet because they are also healing after childbirth.

  6. Release. Following the same guidance your birth doula, midwife or doctor may have given you while in labor, breathe through the pain. Visualize your bowels opening (I know, not a pretty visual) and releasing the turd you are so desperate to get rid of. Even use the tools for pushing your baby down: Low and deep grunting tones, using the word “o-o-o-open” as a mantra, etc.

  7. After you’ve completed the “dirty deed”, use your peri-bottle full of cool water to rinse all of your sensitive areas instead of wiping and then allow yourself the time to have a 10 minute Sitz bath (find out all about them HERE)

Lastly, disregard what anyone says about the noises they may have heard. You may have just endured something that felt like molten lava or broken glass or a burning log coming out of YOUR BUTT. Or, perhaps, after all of these tips your experience was smooth as butter.

Now go get some relief!

~Sheryl Cooksley


Sheryl Cooksley is a Certified Postpartum Doula and Pre-Certified Infant Feeding Specialist. She is the owner of Family Tree Doula Services, a team of postpartum doulas serving new parents in and around Portland, Oregon.