10 Causes Of Postpartum Constipation

Image: shutterstock

Image: shutterstock

Constipation post delivery is quite common. About 20% face this problem, as most pregnant women are less active at this time; also, intake of prenatal medicines may change bowel movement. Labour without food for long, enema or a C–section delivery are some other reasons that lead to constipation. The normal functioning of the bowel movement can easily take 3-4 days. Good news is the problem usually goes away in a few days.

Internal Causes Of Constipation:

  1. Constipation could be due to having diarrhoea during pre-labour or early labour.
  2. It could also be due to the natural slowing of the bowel movement during the labour. The area around the vagina and anus and the nerves inside can become numb due to its stretching during childbirth.
  3. The prenatal vitamins taken during the breastfeeding period can also give rise to constipation. Even the Iron tablets taken during pregnancy can cause constipation.
  4. The digestive system becomes very slow while in labour. This could also contribu
    te to constipation.
  5. Anxiety is another cause that can tighten the back passage. The fear that it might pain during the bowel movement also makes women constipated.
  6. Some women complain of chronic constipation after delivery. This could be due to the High levels of the hormone progesterone in your body all through pregnancy.

[ Read: Postpartum Psychosis ]

External Causes For Constipation:

  1. The stitches and bruising done during delivery, make women uncomfortable, using the toilet. The fear that you can tear the stitches also makes new mothers feel constipated after childbirth.
  2. Sometimes the doctors and his team use instruments such as forceps or ventouse to aid the birthing process. Opening up the bowel during the pushing movement at childbirth could be a cause.
  3. Many women do not like using the toilet in hospitals. They feel uncomfortable using it due to the lack of privacy.
  4. Painkillers like pethidine or diamorphine, for pain relief during labour, can also slow down the bowel movement.

Treatment For Constipation After Delivery:

Though constipation can turn to be a nightmare for women coping from the aftermath of pregnancy, with some care, this condition can be easily combated. It is important to be proactive in treating it. Constipation can be treated at home. Most of the time, it resolves on its own within a few days. Following a few simple steps you should follow for postpartum constipation treatment.

a. Treating Through Diet:

  • Drink plenty of water. Eight to ten glasses of fluids a day is a great help.
  • Drinking copious quantities of fruit juice or prune juice can be beneficial. Drinking a cup of warm water after waking up in the morning too helps.
  • Consume food that is high in fibre. Whole grain cereals, brown rice, brown bread, oat bran, flax seed, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables, etc. These foods help to relieve constipation.
  • Avoid refined food such as white and white bread. This can aggravate the situation

[ Read: Six-Week Postpartum Checkup ]

b. Treating Through Lifestyle Changes:

  • It is important not to ignore any bowel movement for the fear of pain. The longer one waits, the harder the stool becomes and then it is much more painful.
  • Increase your activity by moving around a bit. Walk around the room a bit can activate the sluggish bowel movement.
  • Instead of sitting down straight after a meal, walk around a bit. This can be helpful.
  • If not all this helps, you can also ask the doctor to prescribe a stool softener or a laxative to provide relief from constipation. This helps to stimulate the gut’s natural rhythm.

[ Read: Postpartum Hemorrhage ]


Though exercise is a good way to cure constipation, do not be very active immediately after childbirth. The body needs rest after going through the whole process of childbirth. Rest helps to heal all the internal organs and get back to its normal functioning.

If you are a new mother and relate to this article, you are bound to benefit from the many tips enumerated. Home remedies in combination to simple exercises at home, can go a long way in easing pain and irritation that often accompany constipation. Try these remedies and simple exercises for postpartum constipation relief and share with us your experience.

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