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MOMENT OF SILENCE FOR THE SUPERPOWERS OF WOMANKIND.
First the period- for years.
Then the pregnancy, and the aches, pains, and peeing problems to go along.
Then the 'there are no words, I have now been baptized by the fires of motherhood' labor.
Then the birth. Ah, the intensity. The pain. The fire.
Then the repair. Which is easily the culmination of all pains known to womankind.
Oh, and then that part where they dig around your belly to make sure you're uterus is contracting. Best time ever.
IF you thought you were done here...Not so fast. The first poop after the bombing of the babymakers is a feat of bravery akin to birth, except no one’s excited about it- except you, once it’s over and you know you can do it.
How to get through it without damage? Read on for the best ideas out there.
*This post gets into the business- everything you need to know, the good, the bad, the gross- right here. You’ve been warned.
1. Increase your uptake
Of fiber, that is. If you’ve got damage down below that needs to heal, keep your fiber intake low for the first three days to give your body a bit of time to heal before that first pooh. You can use Metamucil or just eat high fiber foods LINK https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/food-for-constipation/slide/3
2. Drink all the water
At least 8 glasses a day, or half your body weight in ounces of water. You will so regret if you don’t do this.
Eat prunes. Or drink prune juice. Start off easy, 1-2 dried prunes, and go up from there.
4. Essential Oils for poopinG
Diffuse or use 3-5 drops in 1 oz carrier oil and massage onto abdomen.
a. Fennel (which is also great because it increases milk supply. Boom.) Just don’t use fennel oil during pregnancy.
c. Lemon: Same as ginger, or inhale.
d. Peppermint and Rosemary Oils also work, but aren’t recommended for pregnancy, lactation, or tiny human inhalation (which would likely happen if you’re lathering it on your belly.)
5. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has tons of Medium Chain Fatty Acids, which is they key to constipation relief.* Take it slow, up to 2 TBSP per day, noticing its effects and stopping before it gives you the runs. How to eat without gagging? Try it in coffee, hot chocolate, or use copious amounts in your cooking. Also: lather it into your skin and use it directly on hemmorhoids for relief.
-----> Notice a Pattern? <-----
The key is to avoid constipation. And birth compacts your pooh...so...there's that. Regardless of the impossibilities of the situation, do everything possible to create soft pooh so pushing over delicate, just-healing tissue is not a thing...but also don't give yourself diarrhea working on it. The balance here is super tricky, especially when you have zero minutes to make this a priority. A note to help: Start off slow with each of these, and increase as needed to strike the perfect balance. Start as soon as possible after birth, and give it a few days, especially if you've got substantial damage below.
6. Replace the 'rhoids.
Do we talk about the things no one else will? Yes we do. Manually reinserting hemorrhoids after (or even before) a bowel movement can help reduce the progression of thrombosis and minimize the pain they cause while you’re trying to potty. Use lubrication such as coconut oil, and carefully put ‘em back inside with a finger. You can tighten down for a few minutes to keep them in, just don’t be discouraged if they fall out again. The good news: the size and awfulness of the hemorrhoids should reduce significantly over time.
7. Use that peri bottle OR A FRIDET
Warm water can help relax and allow you to open up both bladder and bowels. And it’ll help you stay clean and sanitary too. A peri bottle can be a little annoying to use without making a mess, which is why the Fridababy Fridet is an amazing choice. Either one gets the job done.
8. Sit Properly on the pot – and everywhere else.
Posture matters. Forward on your sitz bones, not slumped back on your tailbone. Using a Squatty Stool can help. Be in the position of least scariness and most relaxation- you need all the help you can get. Pooping in the tub is allowed-desperate times call for desperate measures. Whatever works, momma.
9. Soften that stool.
Stool softeners are a faithful friend in days like these. Get to know Colace and others as your doctor prescribes.
10. Use sitz baths.
If you're cleared to use them, directly over the toilet is awesome, or sit in a bath (if you’re cleared to by your doc.) Warm water + healing herbs = relief. And relief is pretty much the goal of life right now.
11. Blot to dry. Don’t wipe.
Because wiping hurts and tears at tissues. Use the aforementioned peri bottle to clean off, then blot lightly with very soft toilet paper.
12. Do it like birth.
Loose jaw, and breathe. Open like a flower. Breathe out that pooh like you meant to breathe out that baby.
13. How to poop with a tear (even 4th degree):
a. No straining. For real. When you’ve got a tear, keep your diet low fiber for the first three days so as not to create intensity and strain. After you’ve given that time to let the ladybits heal a little, you can increase the fiber uptake and all the other things to make it easier to go.
b. Support your perineum with your hand while you poop. If it would feel better, you can use a compress of some sort so that it’s also soothing while you go. This all may sound gross, but gross is better than re-tearing.
c. Use Tucks Pads. God bless witch hazel. Use these pads for your hemorrhoids for soothing relief.
d. If you have no ability to control your sphincter (read: you’re incontinent, or you literally cannot feel enough to actually bear down properly)-call the doc. This is not normal.
PROBLEMS + WARNING SIGNS
There are other birth-induced complications besides tearing that can cause extra pain and pooping complications, including perineal hematoma, prolapses (uterine, bladder, etc etc), infection, and recto-vaginal fistulas (which will usually result in almost complete loss of sphincter control and may cause pooh to exit through your vagina). If you have a dragging feeling down below, see blood in or on your poop, poop coming out of your vagina, or if things that should be healing are feeling worse instead of better- this is not normal. Get yourself to a doc. And if they try to schedule you for later or brush you off, get somewhere else-today. Ignoring this stuff can cause permanent damage and problems you don’t want to have. And after the initial problems are resolved, get yourself to a pelvic floor therapist to get the full healing you deserve.
Unfortunately there’s just no magic bullet that will take away the pain, make it less scary, or remove the possibility of splitting open things that are just starting to heal. You’ve just gotta do it. But follow these rules and you'll have the best chance of doing it well, and minimizing the risk, the pain, and the chance of infection.
Also…it’s okay to cry. The whole thing is awful. We’ve been there, and we’re with you. Carry on, birthing pooping warrior goddess. Promise, it won’t always be like this.