Maybe you've heard horror stories about it and you're absolutely terrified. First the baby, then the placenta, now this?! Many women are nervous about the first postpartum poop, and rightfully so. Your body is so tender and sore, perhaps in ways you hadn't imagined, from bringing a baby into the world. Whether you delivered vaginally or by C-Section, the thought of using any of those muscles to push something else out can feel unsettling. Here are some ways to ease the process for you.
1. Acknowledge it's not painful for everyone
Try to remember that it is different for everyone, just the way pregnancies, birth stories and postpartum experiences are. Many women experience zero pain when they poop for the first time after having a baby, even after tearing.
2. Take stool softeners religiously until you go
You'll likely be given stool softeners after delivery by the hospital or birthing center. For those first couple of days before you pass your first bowel movement, take them as often as the directions on the package recommend. If stocking up on your own for at home use, be certain to get a stool softener and not a laxative.
3. Drink hot liquids before and during
Warm liquids are a beneficial for digestion because they help soften your stool. Before you feel like you have to go, pour yourself a hot cup of tea, coffee or water. Bring it in to the bathroom with you once you feel the urge to go and continue sipping on it, as long as it feels helpful.
4. Zen out the bathroom
Feeling as relaxed and calm as possible can be very helpful, especially if you're feeling scared or anxious about it. Try creating a peaceful vibe in the bathroom by putting on your favorite playlist and lighting a yummy candle. The less tense and nervous you are, the better.
5. Put your feet on a stool
Have you ever seen a toddler squat down to poop in their diaper? The positioning helps the rectal muscles relax, making it easier for things pass through. Avoiding this strain can also help prevent hemorrhoids, which are common after birth.
6. Breathe deeply
Take a deep breath in, then gently push as you breathe out. Don't try to hold your breath. Especially if you have stitches from a perineal tear, pushing gently and breathing deeply is the key.
7. Cautiously wipe
It's not recommended to wipe the way you normally do after childbirth, since everything is so tender. Even after passing stool, use a postpartum peri bottle to cleanse yourself. If you must wipe, try using a wet hemorrhoidal pad like Tucks instead of toilet paper. Along with the healing properties in it, the cooled pad should provide a bit of relief.