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Constipation Post-Delivery: Reasons and Home Remedies

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics


Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Feb 05, 2023

Constipation Post-Delivery: Reasons and Home Remedies

After childbirth, the last thing a woman wants is to be constipated. There’s enough stress on hand with the baby, feeding times, body changes, and a new sleep schedule. And being constipated only adds to this list. Therefore, here are the home remedies for constipation post-delivery that you can definitely try.

Reasons for Constipation

Before we take a look at the home remedies, let’s check out the reasons that cause constipation post-delivery.

Slowed down digestive tract

Use of epidurals or pain relievers during labor can often stress the digestive tract. Anesthesia is another cause of constipation post-delivery. Since these are given to minimize pain in the abdominal area, as a result, the digestive tract is disturbed and its function slows down more than usual.

Hemorrhoids

These are inflamed veins often caused during childbirth. Hemorrhoids can be pea-sized as well as the size of a grape, the pain is extreme in either case. This fear can often make pooping an issue post-delivery. Though hemorrhoids resolve within weeks, if the problem persists, consult your doctor.

Stitches

Often after a normal or vaginal delivery, stitches help to repair the perineal tear. As these do hurt till the time they dissolve, most women fear passing stools thinking it will affect the stitches. This pain can cause severe constipation.

Perineum tear

The area between the rectum and the vulva is likely to tear during delivery. This tear is not permanent but is uncomfortable because of the swelling that may persist for some time in this area. This can be another reason for constipation as passing stools can hurt this tear.

Anxiety

The anxiety of delivery, a baby, and the process of it all can often cause constipation. This might not have anything to do with your digestive tract but more to do with your mental distress.

Long labor

Labour is an extremely discomforting, fatiguing, tiring, and stressed time. When mothers have to go through a long labor, food, and water are the last priority for them. This can often lead to constipation.

Home remedies for constipation

Here are some home remedies for constipation post-delivery that every new mother should try.

Water, water, water

Dehydration is the biggest cause of constipation post-delivery. Adjusting to a new life, baby, and your own body can take a toll. Drinking a minimum of eight to 10 glasses of water every day can help re-activate  and regularize your digestive process, as well as carry the nutrients of food through your entire body.

Fluid up

Water is extremely necessary for you and your baby, but so are juices, fruit-infused water, and smoothies. Sticking to homemade drinks is obviously much better than the fancy marketed ones that pack zero nutrition. You can opt for pulped orange juice, coconut water, and papaya smoothies because of their natural laxative effect.

Fiber-rich food

This includes all vegetables like eggplants, leafy greens like spinach, malunggay, and everything that a Filipino household cooks every day.

Another great addition to this plate is the locally grown legumes and spices that help relieve constipation. All fruits are rich in fiber and should be consumed with the peel if possible.

Load up your plate with nutrients

Even though fiber is important for a healthy digestive tract, other nutrients like proteins, vitamins and minerals, and fats are also equally necessary. The more colorful your plate is with bread, salads, lentils, and vegetables, the better it will be!

Eat digestion-friendly food

Cravings can certainly increase because now you’re feeding two bodies. Do not tame these cravings by eating chips, deep-fried snacks, and processed food as that can cause constipation. Opt for probiotics such as yogurt, and fruits such as pineapples, papaya and oranges.

Abdominal massage

The pressure of this massage should be gentle because your abdomen is still delicate after delivery. Pressing the stomach and lower abdomen gently in a downward direction to increase blood circulation can help activate your digestive tract.

Relax

The new added responsibility of the baby can tense up your nerves in more ways than one. Therefore, it is recommended to relax and calm yourself with the help of hot water baths, calming music, massages, and talking to your partner or any family member or friend. Constant worry is a big bowel obstructor and the only way to ease yourself is to rest and relax as much as you can.

Exercises for constipation post-delivery

Slow walks

Vigorous walking should be ruled out for the first six weeks after delivery. Going for slow walks can work your abdominal muscles to become active again. This will indirectly affect your digestive system and eliminate constipation.

Forward bend

A classic yoga pose, the forward bend puts pressure on your stomach muscles while trying to touch your feet.

Stand erect with your back straight and legs at equal distance. Take your arms up, maintaining shoulder distance, stretch your hands back. While doing this you will feel a pull in your stomach area. Next, going forward from your lower back, extend your arms, and go down to touch your feet. It is not necessary to touch the ground, extend to the position you’re comfortable in.

Triangle pose

Another yoga pose that can avail bowel movement. Stand upright with hands extended on the side and feet wide apart. Now, bending on your right side, go down and try to touch your feet with your right arm, while your left stays up. This will put pressure on your intestines. Repeat this with your left arm.

Don’ts for constipation post-delivery

Refrain from caffeinated drinks.

While they do speed up bowel movements for regular people, but when you’re breastfeeding, your baby is drinking the same drinks through you. Having one or two cups a day should be your limit.

Medication

Depending on medication to poop is a temporary solution. Stick to natural foods, drinks, and methods to get rid of constipation.

Constipation is a part and parcel of delivering a baby. If you opt for artificial means to pass stool faster, it will only affect your baby. Be mindful of taking any syrup or remedy made using unknown ingredients.

For concerns regarding constipation post-delivery, consult your doctor.

Learn more about Postpartum Period here.

Disclaimer

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Regina Victoria Boyles, MD

Pediatrics


Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Feb 05, 2023

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