During the postpartum period, mothers can experience plenty of side effects. Constipation is a common occurrence after the birthing process. Changes in bowel movement usually happen when the body is healing.
Common symptoms of constipation include difficulty in passing stool, strained bowel movement, bloating, and cramps. Untreated constipation can lead to complications in your digestive tract and pelvic floor. Thankfully, constipation can be resolved, and the remedies won’t negatively affect both you and your child.
What are the Causes of Constipation?
Many factors can lead to constipation after pregnancy. Pressure in the intestine, lack of movement, and hormonal changes are some of the reasons why mothers experience postpartum constipation. Damages in the rectal area can also cause bowel movement problems.
Other causes of constipation include lifestyle changes, poor diet choices, a lack of fiber intake, and not drinking enough water. Narcotics, antidepressants, and antihypertensives can also cause constipation.
What Can I take for Constipation While Breastfeeding?
It’s crucial to be watchful about what you ingest during breastfeeding. Some medications can find their way into breast milk and into your child’s body. Infants 6 months and lower are at a higher risk of experiencing complications.
But when it comes to constipation medicine, many are safe for mothers to take. Stool softeners and laxatives are safe for breastfeeding moms. Miralax, Dulcolax, Colace, and Surfak won’t be absorbed through the intestine, so they won’t find their way into your breast milk.
However, before buying laxatives, it’s highly advised to consult your physician first. Overuse of laxatives can impact your bowel movement, cause dependency, and lead to dehydration.
Home Remedies for Constipation
Laxatives aren’t the only solution for constipation. Home remedies are just as effective in solving the problem. Simple lifestyle changes can improve your condition without having to seek medical attention.
Some remedies include:
Have More Fiber in Your Diet
Fiber makes your stool move faster through the digestive tract. It also helps alleviate constipation symptoms. Whole grain food, nuts, fruits, and vegetables are sources of fiber.
Move Your Body More Often
A lack of exercise can make your digestive tract stagnant, causing constipation. You can do gentle exercise like yoga and walking to keep your guts healthy.
Eat Some Prunes
Prunes are a natural laxative. They are the go-to remedy for constipation because of their insoluble fiber. You can either eat prunes as is or drink prune juice.
Drink More Water
Water lubricates your digestive tract and makes stool wetter. Men should drink 3.7 liters of water, while women need 2.7 liters. Always keep a water bottle by your side throughout the day.
Avoid Dairy Products
Dairy products are known for causing constipation. Avoid foodstuff like milk and cheese until your bowel movement returns to a normal state.
When Do I Need to See a Doctor?
Immediately seek a doctor if you haven’t experienced a bowel movement 4 days after delivery. You must also seek medical help if you experience severe pain, discomfort, bloody stool, fever, and weight loss.
Your physician might prescribe laxatives. In severe cases, you might have to undergo surgery to remove a blockage in the rectum.
Always make sure to tell your doctor that you are breastfeeding. This detail can help them prescribe the medication that won’t affect your baby.
How to Prevent Postpartum Constipation
Postpartum constipation is avoidable. Mothers can experience a smooth transition after giving birth if they take care of themselves.
Staying hydrated is the key to avoiding constipation. Fluids like water allow your bowels to soften and pass smoothly. Fruit juices, smoothies, and non-caffeinated tea are also great alternatives to water.
Eating fiber is also another good option. Asides from being a remedy, it is also good at preventing future bowel issues.
Other remedies include regularly exercising, eating a healthier diet, and not ignoring your need for the bathroom.
Constipation is an uncomfortable experience. It can affect a person’s eating habits, bathroom habits, work, sleep, and more. And for many moms, postpartum constipation is the norm.
But constipation is easily treatable at home. You can follow lifestyle changes that can improve your symptoms. You can also take medication under the guidance of your health provider.
Constipation is a pain in the butt, but it doesn’t have to stay there forever. With the correct treatment, you can spend less time on the toilet and more time with your newborn.