You may not need to do a poo for another day or so, even if you usually poo daily. But be reassured that when you are ready to do a poo, it shouldn’t hurt.
At the moment, the area between your vagina and anus (perineum) will feel quite numb. This is because the nerves inside and around your vagina will have been stretched by your baby’s birth. Don’t worry, the feeling will come back over the next few days.
If you’ve had stitches or a tear, doing a poo won’t make the tear any bigger, or make your stitches fall out. It’s understandable to feel vulnerable about this part of your body at the moment. But your tear won’t get any bigger, and your stitches will stay firmly in place.Feeling tense will make it harder for you to do a poo. Supporting your perineum by holding a clean sanitary towel against your perineum, from the front, may make you feel secure while you try. Once feeling returns to the area, this support may also help to ease any soreness.
When the urge to poo strikes, try not to put it off. Waiting can make you constipated, which happens to about a fifth of mums after the birth.
Drink plenty of water to ease things along, as dehydration hardens poo, which makes it more difficult and uncomfortable to pass. Have a walk around, as a little gentle exercise will ease things. Eat plenty of fibre-rich foods, such as fruit and vegetables, wholemeal bread and brown rice. This will help to soften your poo.
Try to relax while you’re on the loo, and read a book or magazine if it helps. If you’re at home, make it clear that you don’t want to be disturbed! If you’re in hospital, everyone else will probably be too busy to notice how long you’re in the toilet.
Once sitting on the loo, go on your tiptoes, so your knees are slightly higher than your hips. You may want to put your feet on a stool to elevate your knees further, while resting your elbows on your knees.
If you haven’t had a poo after three days, you may need to ask your midwife for a laxative. Laxatives are safe if used for short-term relief. If you had a severe tear after giving birth, your midwife will have prescribed a laxative already, to make having a poo easier and more comfortable.