According to Today’s Parent, constipation affects 25% to 50% of women in the first two weeks after they give birth.
What causes postpartum constipation?
There are several causes of postpartum constipation.
1. Iron or calcium supplement can cause postpartum constipation.
2. Drugs for pain relief during labor, such as pethidine or codeine may also cause constipation.
3. For mothers who undergo Caesarian delivery, their bowel will go to sleep for 12 to 24 hours after the surgery.
4. Fear. New mothers may also be avoiding pushing as hard as they normally would if they have an episiotomy wound after a vaginal birth. Pain at that site or fear of popping stitches may cause moms to ignore their bodies’ cues and withhold stool and make constipation worse. When the stool stays in the bowel, water will be absorbed from the stool, making the stool much harder.
5. Confinement practices. Some confinement nannies may advise mother not to drink water.
6. Lack of fiber in the diet.
7. Staying in bed for too long causing the slow down of the movement of the intestine.
How to prevent constipation after giving birth?
If you are able to move around, do so several times a day. This can increase the movement of intestine which can help to prevent constipation.
Gradually increase the amount of time by a few minutes every day.
2. Drink warm liquids
Drink water throughout the day, but avoid ice cold water which may hurt the digestive system. Instead, try room temperature or even lukewarm water. Water may make your stool softer.
3. Eat prunesv
Prunes are natural laxative which is known to help alleviate constipation.
The sorbitol in the prune juice helps soften the stool, making them easier to pass.
4.Go for fiber
There are soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber retains more water in your stool, making waste softer and easier to pass through your intestines. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the fecal material, which hastens its passage through the gut.
Foods that are rich in fiber include whole grain cereals and wholegrain bread, brown rice, beans, and fresh fruits and veggies like peas and beans.
5. Replace iron supplement with iron-rich foods
Many vitamin supplements are iron-rich. But if iron supplements make constipation worse, try iron-rich foods which include chicken, red meat, dark leafy vegetables, beans.
Myths of confinement and truth: myths that new mothers are not allowed to bath, drink water during confinement has not scientific support. For some myths such as avoid direct contact with wind may have some scientific support and new mothers may want to follow during confinement.