Constipation is one of the commonest complaint new mums report and in fact, it is estimated that at least a quarter of mums will experience constipation after childbirth.
It is normal for new mums to feel nervous about going for a poo due to possible bruising from childbirth, this feeling is even worse if you’ve had a really bad tear affecting the back passage or you had a c-section. Besides being nervous, there are other physical reasons to become constipated following delivery such as a slower digestive system following labour, the side effect of painkillers/iron tablets or just PAIN!
Well try not to worry mamas; this can make things worse as we all tend to tense up when we worry and that doesn’t help. Here are a few tips to try:
1. Relax! I just said it but I’ll say it again, try to distract yourself when you’re trying to poo by reading etc.
2. Start eating and drinking regularly as soon as you can within reason. This is important as it helps to get your digestive system going.
3. Fluids! Try to stay hydrated especially if you’re breastfeeding. Fluids help to soften stools and make them easier to pass. The aim is to drink 8-10 standard glasses per day.
4. Keep active! Remember you’re not expected to run a marathon but don’t be a couch potato either, it could make constipation worse. Simple gentle walks around the house or neighbourhood as soon as you can help get things moving.
5. Eat a high fiber diet, lots of fruits and vegetables, this helps bowel movements but remember to do this moderation to avoid making symptoms worse.
If all the above doesn’t help please see a doctor or pharmacist to prescribe gentle laxatives to help your symptoms; you should already be on these if you suffered a bad tear.
A doctor will need to review you if constipation persists or you have piles as a result. Please try not to strain or bear down too hard as this can put extra strain on an already weak pelvic floor; this can delay healing.
Here’s to constipation free “new mummy life” and please don’t forget your pelvic floor exercises!