Constipation is the inability to pass stools that has become hard due lack of fiber in your food, inadequate intake of water and physical inactivity. However, it is normal not to feel the need to pass stools for a couple of days’ right after childbirth because you had been given enema to clear your stomach and intestines plus you have not eaten anything the whole time during labor. So there is nothing in your intestines to excrete.
In a cesarean section, you may take longer to start your bowel movements (BM). Although doctors may assure you that you would start your BM in a day or two, I have heard women with C section taking longer than that. The reason being that you could be afraid to apply any pressure on account of the pain.
Sometimes, systemic painkillers given to you during labor in order to help you relax, may slow down your digestion and cause constipation. High dose of iron supplements may cause hard stools.
Sometimes, a sore perineum (area between the vagina and anus) may force you to hold back your stools if you are scared of feeling more pain. An episiotomy (a cut given by the doc to widen the vagina for easy delivery) may also force you to hold back your stools, causing constipation eventually.
Therefore, it is important to try and attempt to pass stools as soon as you can to avoid constipation because pain while passing hard stools can add to the pain and discomfort you may feel especially after a C section.
Lifestyle and proper diet
- Go to the toilet as soon as you feel the urge for bowel movement, no matter how painful or uncomfortable it might be. Always remember, delay will harden your stools and worsen your pain. Pour some warm water on your anus to soothe the pain and slightly dilate the anus
- Your diet should include foods with high fiber content like whole grains, cereals, oats,veggies like carrot, radish and beet roots and citrus fruits like oranges & sweet lime.
- One serving of pineapple or grapes or guava or over ripe banana at bedtime
- Eat fruits with their skin on.
- Soak about 5-6 prunes/raisins overnight and have it first thing in the morning.
- 5 to 6 dates (khajur) every day in the morning.
- A serving of papaya with breakfast is a very good laxative.
- Add wheat bran or rice bran to chappati/bread dough.
- Take a mid-morning vegetable soup, especially of tomato with spinach.
- Drink plenty of water every three hours every day.
- Avoid sodas, coffee, fried foods, burgers, pizzas, cakes & pastries
- Avoid cold foods and chilled drinks. A short walk around the block will activate your bowels.
- Maintain a regular morning routine of bowel movement.