Were you constipated during pregnancy and hoping it would clear up after childbirth? Constipation during pregnancy is due to the baby putting pressure on your intestines. Or maybe your prenatal vitamins stopped you up.

If your current toileting woes are getting you down, here are some tips to getting everything moving again.

First of all, if you are still taking your prenatal vitamins, make sure you switch to one that is less constipating or consider adding a magnesium supplement to your regimen. If you are taking any pain medication, this is also a common culprit in stopping up your pipes. Try to stop taking the pain medication and utilize other pain management techniques (ice and rest).

Second, your mind could be playing games with your bottom. Whether you had a vaginal delivery or a c-section, your perineum (the area between your vaginal and rectal openings) is probably really, really sore! You might be wary to push (again) and this sets up a cycle of holding back to avoid further pain. As hard as this is to do, you will want relax, breathe and have a BM. You will not tear again, you won’t disrupt your stitches. Hemorrhoids? Stop by your local drugstore for some OTC relief. While you are there, pick up some stool softeners as well. Knowing the your poop will be easy to pass will make it so much easier to have a BM.

Third, your works may be truly clogged up — not surprising considering all your digestive system (and the rest of your body) has been through. Try these dietary strategies to get things moving again:

  • Homemade fiber supplement: mix equal parts ground flaxseed or wheat bran, prune juice and applesauce. Start with one teaspoon of the mixture each night with 16 oz glass of water. Increase amount until you are regular again.

  • Stay hydrated: drinking 100 oz of water per day will facilitate the digestive system working properly. You can alternate between water and an electrolyte drink (NUUN or Ultima).

  • Eat your vegetables: go to the store and purchase some pre-cut veggies and nibble on them throughout the day. Bulking up the content of your digestive system can help get your pipes moving.

  • Add some lubrication: stir a ½-1 teaspoon of organic, virgin coconut oil to your hot drink in the morning.

  • Rub your tummy: the simple act of rubbing your tum-tum in a circular direction, starting from your right hip up and around toward the left hip (repeat 10-15 times after each meal) can trigger peristalsis through the large intestines.

  • Avoid stimulants or osmotics: taking something like Dulcolax (a stimulant) or MiraLax (an osmotic) can give you some immediate relief but leave you in a cycle that’s hard to break. Be patient with the more natural remedies, you’ll thank me later!

Whatever dietary strategies you use, make sure you supplement them with some exercise (nothing gets things moving like… getting moving). Things still at a stand still? Consult with your practitioner (doctor, midwife, physical therapist, acupuncturist, whomever you trust). They may be able to help you.

In health,

Jenn Lane, Physical Therapist and Pelvic Floor Specialist