We understand all too well how scary it is: the very thought of pushing one more thing out of your...
We understand all too well how scary it is: the very thought of pushing one more thing out of your already hyper-tender nether regions after you've given birth vaginally. A lot of this fear comes from the thought of constipation, though even typically-sized bowel movements can make even the most staid new mama cry. Says our friend Abbi in her article, Your postpartum life (Things we'll tell you that no one else will):
By now, you can no longer avoid The Big Potty Trip: the one during which you -- how can we say this delicately? -- do number two. You can cry all you want, but eventually, you are going to have to face that porcelain torture chamber, and you may as well get it over with so that your stomach will uncramp. [Read more here]
woman-drinking-water2.jpgThe best way to beat constipation -- even the most minor case of it, so everything goes super smoothly (if you know what we mean) -- is to prepare in advance. Number one: get hydrated, and stay that way. Drink lots of water both before and in the days after birth. In the early postpartum time, you will also want to consume hearty amounts of fiber. That doesn't mean all bran, all the time: raisins and prunes are tasty variants, and cabbage, such as that in cole slaw, can also help. And there's more than just food and drink: You will probably be given some stool softeners (colace) after birth -- take those pills right away, and keep it up for at least a week. They really do help keep the going from getting too tough. Plus, take walks as soon as you can -- exercise is a great way to keep your whole GI tract moving properly. When it's time, you'll know -- don't try before you're ready. It may take two, three or even four days for your system to get back in the swing of things. Then take it easy, give yourself time, take some deep breaths and let nature do its job. You might find a warm bath or shower in advance (or, heck -- if you need, during) can help, too. Medical professionals swear that, no matter how much it feels like you will pop your stitches, you won't. (And if you didn't tear during birth, a bowel movently certainly won't cause that sort of damage.) A couple last words of wisdom: Don't put off the poop. As much as it stresses you out, it's not going to get better the more you wait -- in fact, you may have to deal with a whole host of other gross and painful problems if you hold it in. So take a deep breath, and get going!

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