Toilet truths after giving birth

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Let's be honest: when you get together with friends to chat about what it was like to give birth, chances are there will be toilet talk. More specifically: what it was like to go to the bathroom after giving birth.

In fact, it's not unheard of for people to say they'd rather give birth again than go through that first post-birth poo.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to make the process of going to the bathroom less ouch-worthy.


Regardless of how you gave birth, "with that first wee it might feel like 'everything' feels out of place," says midwife Amanda Bude. She says this is because your insides now have to "re-arrange" around your shrinking uterus. 

And yes, she concedes that first pee "might sting a little" too. If you've had stitches or are particularly sore down below, chances are you'll be apprehensive about your first wee. Here's what you can do to help:

Don't hold on

Though you're nervous about your first wee, it's important not to 'hold on' if you feel the need to go. Emptying your bladder regularly can help prevent urinary tract infections.

Drink plenty of water

The more water you drink, the less acidic your urine will be, meaning the less it will sting. For this reason, it's also a good idea to avoid drinking juices, caffeine and soft drinks after giving birth.


Drink Ural sachets mixed with water

Ural sachets neutralise your urine. Enough said, really.

Pee in the shower or turn the tap on when you need to go

It might sound gross, but peeing in the shower can help reduce discomfort (the warm water acts as a pleasant distraction). If you're not up for trying that, turn the tap on when you need to pee. The sound of running water can help get you going, says Bude.

Use ice packs

After giving birth, placing an ice pack down below can help numb the area. This will reduce the pain of peeing when the time comes. Once home, Bude says you can make your own ice packs using frozen condoms filled with water.

Take painkillers

If you're really sore down below, ask your midwife for painkillers. Remember, some painkillers take half an hour or so to work, so ask for them before you actually need to go to the bathroom.

Elevate your feet on a footstool

Bude suggests placing your feet on a footstool and squatting on the toilet while weeing. She also advises tilting your pelvis back and leaning forward. That way, if you have stitches, the urine will run forwards (meaning it's less likely to touch your stitches).

Pat yourself dry

After weeing, Bude recommends patting yourself dry, rather than wiping vigorously. Alternatively, she says you can also use a hair dryer on a cold setting to dry yourself if you're really tender.

Opening your bowels

If the thought of peeing scares you, chances are you're not looking forward to opening your bowels after giving birth, either. Here's what you can do to make it less daunting:

Stay hydrated

Drinking lots of water can also helps soften your stools. The softer your poo is, the less painful it will be to pass.

Ask for prune or pear juice

These are natural laxatives that can help make your bowels move a little easier.

Discuss stool softeners with your midwife

Stool softeners make your poo less hard, making it easier to pass when you need to go. If you're really nervous about opening your bowels, talk to your doctor or midwife about stool softeners or other similar 'bowel help'.

Then, when nature calls, don't ignore it. Here's what to do when you need to poo:

Use a footstool

Physiotherapist Lana Johnson recommends standing on a footstool then squatting down onto the toilet. "The reason being is that this 'squat' position sets our pelvic anatomy up in the best way possible, positioning our colon for optimal bowel movements," she explains.

She says in a "normal toilet-sitting posture" we put a "kink" in our colon, making it difficult for the passage of bowel movements. When you're passing a motion, she recommends leaning forward and "hugging your shins" to ensure you're in the correct posture.

Take your time

You should never rush toilet time. This is especially true after giving birth. Bude suggests wiggling your toes to "relax" your buttock area, and calmly counting to help ease yourself into the process.

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