6 Reasons the first bowel movement after birth can hurt even more than labor

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If you think labor pains are the only thing moms-to-be have to endure at the end of pregnancy, think again. Here's why the first trip to the bathroom after giving birth can be extremely painful

In the nine months leading up to birth, moms-to-be steel themselves, knowing that, at the end of their pregnancy journey, they have to endure all the pain and discomfort that comes with bringing a baby out into the world.

Once they get through labor and delivery, they feel a sense of relief, but wait…there’s more. They have to overcome another unexpected hurdle: their first bowel movement. Many moms would agree that the first trip to the bathroom after giving birth can extremely hurt, even more than labor and delivery.

Why is that exactly? Here are six reasons.

They have likely been constipated for days

After birth, it will take a while for your body to heal and resume its normal processes, including metabolism and digestion. Medication intake and dehydration also play a role in postpartum constipation. In moms who delivered via Cesarean section constipation can be a common problem, especially as the anesthesia wears off.

photo: dreamstime

They most likely neglected stool softeners

The importance of stool softeners after birth is often overlooked, but it can greatly help ease bowel movements.

They may have experienced vaginal tearing

Many women who deliver through normal vaginal delivery have to undergo an episiotomy, or the surgical cutting of the area between the vagina and anus to widen the birth canal. Tearing of the vulva and perineum can also happen spontaneously during labor.

They may have swelling

Even if a new mom did not experience vaginal tearing, she might still have some rawness and swelling down there.

Their stitches are still raw

After tearing or episiotomy, doctors stitch up the cut to allow healing. This can last for days or weeks. Even in moms who delivered via Cesarean section, the stitches can still feel tender.

How can new moms ease the pain?

Consult your doctor for the right medication to manage your discomfort. Ibuprofen, cooling creams, and stool softeners can help. Applying counter pressure is one measure to manage pain during bowel movements. You can make use of a frozen diaper or maternity pad and press it lightly against your vagina. Avoid cheese or stool-hardening foods like white bread, white rice, pasta, and eggs. Go for fresh fruits and vegetables; avoid the canned kind. Fatty and processed foods are also a no-no.

If the pain does not subside with each bowel movement, consult your doctor in order to determine what causes to further address to help you on your road to recover, in order to truly enjoy the first few months of motherhood.

sources: Romper, Baby Center, What to Expect, The Huffington Post

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