Postpartum is a sensitive time, so we’re going to dive into the sensitive subjects. Last time in our postpartum recovery series, we talked about your uterus, and today we’ll continue the real talk, in the bathroom.

Let’s just get this out in the open- these might not be your run of the mill bathroom breaks.

Over the course of your pregnancy, you probably noticed that your baby’s growth impacted your bathroom habits. Most pregnant women end up making frequent trips to empty their bladder, since it’s being squished by their baby.

If you’re like many women, your bladder is not back to normal yet after the birth. Pregnancy increases the risk of incontinence.

You’re not alone if you tinkle when you chuckle after your baby is born, or when you sneeze or cough.

And you may also find that you feel the urge to go, but then very little comes out.

While for many this goes away as your body heals, it can also be a good idea to make efforts to strengthen your pelvic floor. You can do kegels as a DIY step. It also can be helpful to get in touch with a physical therapist specializing in the pelvic floor.

While it’s common for mothers to continue to experience incontinence, there are treatments. This does not have to be your new normal.

After baby is born, many women experience bathroom discomforts for other reasons as well.

Constipation is quite common soon after labor, due to hormones, slight dehydration, having not eaten during labor, or as a side effect of anesthesia.

At home treatments include increasing your water intake, and eating fiber rich foods. If you feel discomfort, remember that you can call your doctor and consider a fiber supplement.

Finally, it’s important to note that you may be feeling hesitant to use the bathroom due to soreness, swelling or any stitches from tearing or your cesarean incision.

If birth has you nervous to use the bathroom, first take a deep breath and try to relax. (A classic doula trick is to yawn- releasing your jaw loosens your pelvic floor.) And as you breathe out, just let go.

You are unlikely to hurt yourself by using the bathroom. (Of course, if you think that you have, please contact your provider).

It can be helpful to use a squirt bottle called a peri bottle to rinse yourself rather than using toilet paper. Locally, many hospitals provide them to take home after birth. And when bathing, remember to pat gently, rather than wipe or rub.

Just know that those first few bathroom trips may not be the easiest, but it does get better.

For more postpartum expertise, give me a call, or continue to follow the Postpartum Recovery Series!


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  2. […] discharge from the hospital and your six-week appointment with your OB/GYN, your body changes a lot. Some of these changes seem a little unsettling but are actually quite common after a baby. […]

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