While most of us worry about pooping during labour, the after-birth poop often gets overlooked, which in my opinion is far more stressful than the labour poo … which tends to slip out without you noticing.
Right after you have your baby, however, the after-birth poop is on everyone’s mind. “Have you opened your bowels yet?” the midwives will ask you, ever so casually while you’re breastfeeding your baby and trying not to cry at the thought of pushing anything else out from that region. Of course, there’s a reason why midwives want to know about your afterbirth poo habits. It’s a sign your body’s digestive system is returning to proper functioning and you’re recovering from the birth.
If the thought of a) pooping after you’ve birthed your baby and b) sharing that information with strangers sends shivers down your spine, blogger Laura Mazza has a story to share about her experience that might ease your angst. This mum’s viral post about her first postpartum poo has resonated with her audience with her hilarious descriptions and raw honesty.
Read more about after-birth truths here:
- Post-birth mum has most surprised face in the history of surprised faces
- The truth about sex after birth; for when you’re ready to get back in the sack
- “I felt empty and bereft”; the after birth feeling that nobody talks about
Ladies, if she can get through this, then you can get through anything.
First, she couldn’t fart
It all started when Laura couldn’t fart after having her baby, a sign that her body was having trouble recovering after her c-section. Desperate to avoid taking the evil hospital broth for those restricted to a liquid diet, Laura begged for something to help her get her bowels moving, and sure enough, by 5am the next morning, her bottom let out a happy sound.
“Somewhere between 3am and 5am I let out a butt salute, it was so loud and hard it vibrated my cheeks and woke me up. I immediately pressed the buzzer and told them what I had done. It didn’t stink, it was actually very unimpressive considering the sound it made. It was as unimpressed as the nurse’s face who hadn’t read my chart and couldn’t care less that I booty belched.”
A lot of people have said that all Mummy bloggers do is toilet talk and speak about their bodily fluids. Well ladies and…
Overjoyed to be able to eat normal (albeit hospital) food again, Laura still had some time to wait for before her number two arrived, and while she waited, her wind got stronger and stronger.
Finally, nature came calling
But Laura still couldn’t poop, so she asked for some more laxatives to help her, and her body finally responded … during an awkward moment: she was breastfeeding her newborn. The new mum tried to put him down so she could dash to the loo, but he screamed in protest every time she took him off the boob. Poor Laura didn’t want to leave him crying and have the midwives come rushing in to find her unleashing her bowels in the toilet, so she tried valiantly to hold on as nature continued to call on her, getting increasingly urgent. Laura was left with one choice.
“I was about to shit my pants and although all dignity was lost when I gave birth, I did not want an audience when I was giving birth to the devils discharge. I tried again to dislodge the angry koala’s leach like suck on my breasts when he once again let out a squeal. “Do you want to get us both killed?” I tried to hush him and stuck him back on. I knew what I had to do, what I said I never would do. I had to bring him to the toilet and I had to take a shit while feeding him. No funniness, no smart arse words here.”
Yep, we’ve all been there: a baby that won’t be put down and the need to get the toilet, pronto. But being a seasoned mum, Laura took the whole scene in her stride and knew that she would feel a million dollars after finishing her business, baby in tow or not.
“I opened the door feeling 10 pounds lighter and who should be standing there, but nurse Elizabeth. My attentive friend, who smiled at me and said, “Oh, I’ll take the baby so you can wash your hands, looks like all that farting eventually led to something! You must feel great!”
How to deal with the first postpartum toilet visit
None of us looks forward to that first poop, or even the first wee for that matter, after having a baby. But there are ways you can make it easier on yourself, both in the lead-up to birth and right afterwards. Here are some tips to help you survive that first toilet visit after birth:
- Make sure you have plenty of fibre in your diet, all the way through your pregnancy, and even increase this when your due date is near.
- Get in the habit of drinking plenty of water, as dehydration hardens poo and makes it more difficult to pass.
- Ask your midwife about taking a stool softener right after the birth to help ease things along.
- When you do go to the toilet, place your feet in a tip-toe position, or even rest your feet on a small step or book. This eases the pressure on your perineal area.
- If you’re having a wee, you can pour warm water over your vulva area to ease any stinging sensations. You could also have your first wee in the shower for the same gentle effect.
- For pooping, try applying gentle counter-pressure to your perineum area as you push out your number two. You can use a wad of wet wipes or a maternity pad (freeze it first if you need the pain relief) to apply gentle pressure to the front part of your perineum.
- Take your time! Ask someone to watch your baby and head into the bathroom with a magazine to help you relax into the whole process.
- Lastly, try not to be too fraught about it, as anxiety can make you feel even more backed up.