Constipation after giving birth is common among many women despite not experiencing the issue during pregnancy. Approximately 20 percent of mothers experience constipation after birth. Mothers who had hospital births didn’t feel like using the bathrooms in hospital. Furthermore, stitches and bruising caused by birth make women feel apprehensive to go the restroom. In general, mothers feel uncomfortably constipated several days after giving birth. It is best to get it treated immediately and many home remedies can help to relieve the constipation.
Causes of Constipation After Giving Birth
- Physical factors are also linked in being unable to go. High progesterone levels caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy can induce constipation.
- Medications. Pain relief provided while on labor like diamorphine or pethidine are also linked in slowing down bowel movements. The same effect is experienced in taking postpartum pain medications.
- Procedures done during pregnancy and while giving birth also contribute to bowel issues. Forceps or ventouse utilized to assist birthing moms trigger bowel troubles.
- Iron tablets and tearing while on labor also induce constipation.
- Perineal soreness caused by hemorrhoids, episiotomy or other tearing induce pain, which cause the body to hold in the feces and dispelling the feeling of going to the bathroom.
When Should You Worry About Constipation After Birth?
The good thing about dealing with post-delivery constipation is that it is treatable as long as dealt with immediately. Usually, this condition is not serious, but it can be indicative of other medical issues. For instance, severe constipation with onset of abdominal pain, alternating instances of diarrhea, or presence of blood and mucus call for immediate attention from a doctor or a midwife.
Aside from being a symptom of other health issues, constipation can also aggravate other digestive system problems like hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins located along the rectum or anus. Passing a hard stool, which is common during constipation, can worsen the problem, making them more uncomfortable than the usual. Hemorrhoids are among the issues experience during pregnancy and often disappears once pelvic pressure is relieved after giving birth. Nevertheless, extreme pain and rectal bleeding are signs of needing medical assessment from the primary care provider to deal with the issue accordingly.
How to Ease Constipation After Giving Birth
- Fiber-rich Diet. Numerous solutions can deal with post-delivery constipation like starting with a healthy diet right after giving birth. Fiber-rich foods like wholegrain rice aid in improving bowel movements.
- Drinking fluids also soften feces, which makes them easier to pass and flush out of the body. New mothers have high risk of being dehydrated due to numerous factors. First is staying in the hospital during labor and delivery. Breastfeeding also makes a woman feel thirsty, which can lead to feeling dehydrated. Drinking good amounts of fluids can be helpful in dealing with dehydration and other issues.
- Women are advised to go when they feel that they need to go. They are recommended to sit fully instead of just hovering on the toilet.
- Another tip to make stool passing easier is tipping toes while sitting to raise the knees higher than the hips. Using a stool or small chair can be helpful in raising the knees while resting the elbows on top of them. This position results to squatting position, which is best position for going.
- Supporting the perineum using a clean sanitary pad will help while doing a poo. Place the pad folded in half over the perineum or stitches will make women confident while passing feces. Stitches won’t open even if the perineum receives pressure, but doing this procedure will somehow keep new mothers from being apprehensive from defecating. Light pressure on the area can also relieve pain while pushing the feces out.
- Going for a walk can also be helpful. It might be challenging for women who gave birth through C-section, but it will help in shortening constipation periods. Lying down or sitting for long periods of time can also lengthen the instances of constipation.
- Be careful with medications. Narcotics also induce this problem, which is common for women who are subjected to pain relief during labor or postpartum pain. To deal with the pain, primary care providers can prescribe NSAIDs such as acetominophin or ibuprofen for pain management. Aside from pain management, changing medications may also restore metabolic process to its original state. The good thing about NSAIDs is they are safer for breastfeeding infants and with lesser side effects like drowsiness.
- Use stool softener. New moms experiencing this issue can also ask their doctors or midwives about stool softener, which are available over the counter at pharmacies. Stool softeners are often recommended for mothers with extensive tearing to the sphincter or those suffering from hemorrhoids.
- Workout daily. Short walk while pushing the baby’s stroller can help in treating constipation.
- Consult physician for hemorrhoids or anal fissures. These obstructions within the rectal area can aggravate constipation.
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