OK, yes, we know this is a bit of a gross topic and that such potty talk should usually be reserved for the bathroom only. But that’s not how we do things here at Birthbabe. We strongly believe in talking about all things postpartum – the good, the bad and the (little bit) gross.
It is very common for babes to worry about pooping during childbirth (we’ll talk about that another time!) but one of the things you quickly realise after giving birth is that the first postpartum poop also requires a bit of attention.
As we strongly believe in being prepared, not scared, we’re here to share all the details on how to make that first postpartum poo much less terrifying. So grab yourself some loo roll, maybe some air freshener too and come join us on the porcelain throne for all the goss.
What is the first poop all about?
The first postpartum poop can feel like a big deal, especially if you’ve given birth vaginally.
You may be feeling quite tender generally and the thought of having to push something else out from down there might be a bit anxiety-inducing.
The good news is that the thought of it is actually much worse than the actual event!
When will it happen?
Some babes may poop on the same day they deliver baby but the most common timeframe is around 3 – 5 days after giving birth.
What do I do when the moment arrives?
When the big moment comes, don’t be scared and instead approach that throne with confidence. Definitely don’t try and delay the inevitable as this might make things difficult later. And anyway, you gotta go at some point!
Use your birthing breathing and take long, slow breaths. Remember that your muscles relax as you exhale so make the out-breath quite long.
Don’t force a poop or push down as this may make things feel sore. Just keep breathing slowly and be prepared that it may take a little time for a poop to slide on out (OK, we admit that is a gross image).
Assume the position
- Sit on the toilet and keep your spine straight.
- Lean forward slightly and place your elbows on your knees.
- Place your feet on a box, upturned bin or two toilet rolls so that your knees are above your hips.
- Keep your feet flat and gently drop your knees inwards.
- Don’t strain, take your time and remember to breathe.
What can make the situation easier?
We definitely recommend drinking lots and lots of water. Just keep the water coming – at all times – as this is the best way to get things chugging along.
If you have a partner, family member or friend helping you, task them with filling a water bottle and making sure you drink regularly. We can’t stress it enough – drink the water.
Eating plenty of healthy food will also help, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, wholegrain cereals and wholemeal bread. These types of food will help keep things moving along and get your digestive system rocking and rolling. birthbabe top tip: stock up on some of these foods in advance and have them in the cupboard or fridge before baby arrives.
Some gentle exercise can also help too, such as a little bit of walking, circling your hips and going up and down the stairs.
Would a squatty potty help?
A poop stool (aka a squatty potty) may help as this will lift your knees up and help prevent straining. If you don’t have a stool to hand though, pop your feet on two loo rolls, a cardboard box or the bathroom bin.
Stool softeners like these may also help if you’re feeling really blocked up but remember to check with your midwife / GP beforehand.
I gave birth vaginally. Will my stitches open?
If you gave birth vaginally and required stitches, it is highly unlikely that having a poop will break them, open up a cut or tear them again. So stay relaxed and don’t freak out.
It may help to (very) gently press a sanitary pad or clean tissue against your perineum. This will help you feel supported as you do your doings (and less like your entire body is going to fall out of your bottom).
We would also recommend using a spray bottle or having a jug of warm water nearby to clean the area afterwards. But remember to gently pat dry.
If you do experience a significant amount of pain or bleeding during or after a bowel movement, contact your midwife, GP or health visitor for some advice.
I had a C-Section. How bad will the first poop be?
We see you, C-Section babes. Don’t panic, you’ll be OK.
Hugging a cushion or rolled-up towel against your stomach and gently leaning forward may help support your scar. Keep breathing and remember not to force anything.
It’s been a week and I still can’t go!
If you are experiencing a lot of pain when you poop or haven’t been able to go for over a week, get in touch with your midwife / health visitor for some advice.
Like a lot of things during the fourth trimester, the first postpartum poop is definitely an experience. But it’s also nothing you can’t handle – we mean, come on, you’ve also just delivered a baby. So don’t panic, take nice long breaths and go get your dump on.
Happy pooping, babes! 💩
birthbabe does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The resources on our website are provided for informational purposes only. You should always consult with a healthcare professional regarding any medical diagnoses or treatment options.