This can seem terribly scary!
Lots of women dread it, for fairly obvious reasons.
So, here are some tips:
First of all.....Don’t delay....go when you feel the urge.
If you don’t, maybe out of fear or because you are busy with a new tiny earthling or you aren’t in a familiar environment (like the postnatal ward) and you’d rather poop at home, your bowel will reabsorb water from the poo and ultimately make it harder to pass.
So, go when you feel you need to.
- Second of all: Don’t be scared. It’s considerably smaller than a head. Which is good news. It also comes out of a neighbouring hole, though it feels like the vulva is heavily involved.
- Keep poop as soft as possible with plenty of hydration, good nutrition that promotes good easy, happy pooping.
- Mobilise gently as movement also helps your bowels do their job as best as they can. They have been displaced in pregnancy, then relocated themselves and can be rather confused and sluggish after all that upheaval.
- When you do go, take your time. Get comfy and minimise any bearing down if you can. Just let the poop slide out. You might have to do some birthy down breathing but all will be well.
- It also helps to have your knees higher than your pelvis, a la squatty potty (google it!!).
- If it feels like your vulva will pop and all your insides will fall out if you try to relax your pelvic floor to let the poop pass, here is a trick: grab some toilet paper, a maternity pad or a soft flannel, put it on the palm of your hand and use it to apply firm counter pressure to your vulva, leaving your anus free to do what it needs to. It REALLY works, and takes away the fear of further damage, especially if there are stitches in place.
- For some people, especially if there is some immobility, potential constipating medications and iron supplements, prophylactic stool softeners like lactulose can avoid traumatic pooping!
- And lastly: CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS MORE? We really need to.