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Mar 13, 2020
If you have ever given birth (vaginal or c-section), you know how scary that first poop is. And we didn’t mean from the baby either! Some women say it was even more scary than delivery. Besides taking a bunch of stool softeners, there are other tips to help! We sat down with a certified pregnancy and postpartum corrective exercise specialist to talk about the five best ways to help you poop better after birth.
Katrina Oakley helps moms around the world to regain a functional core after giving birth. Being a posture specialist (NPI - National Posture Institute) she emphasizes how important our posture is. “Poor posture can actually cause your belly to protrude and look bigger than it really is! It can cause your upper body to round forward and eventually over time lose height. And most importantly of all, poor posture can cause a wide variety of physical aches and pains. It is the number one cause of back, neck and joint pain.”
So how does posture, specifically their poop-going posture, affect how women heal and regain a functional core?
“Constipation can be a very common postpartum (and at other times), which can in turn worsen diastasis recti and pelvic floor issues. This is because if you strain or bear down whilst pooping, it creates a bulging pressure in both the pelvic floor and the abdominal wall, forcing your abs further apart, and more pressure down on your pelvic floor.”
Katrina outlines the five adjustments women can make to their bathroom habits to help them poop better:
Prime time is within 15 minutes of waking and within 15 minutes of eating.
5-8 mins at most (in prime pooping times if you are having issues going). You don’t want to place too much strain on the pelvic floor by relaxing too long.
NOTE If you have hemorrhoids or significant prolapse, sitting with a relaxed pelvic floor may do harm – so see a pelvic floor PT for an assessment.
This improves your poop-going angle, so it is straight versus a twisty ride. Raising your feet helps your body approximate a deep squat, which naturally opens the pelvic outlet.
I suggest a squatty potty to my clients, as it is a great height, hides away perfectly so you aren’t tripping up on it, and it is great for little ones to get up on the loo too!
By leaning forward with the feet elevated, you further mimic a squat allowing the body to use gravity to ease the process.
NOTE if you have significant prolapse you may find this opening of the pelvic outlet causes some downward pressure - if this is the case, lower the feet, and see a pelvic floor PT for an assessment.
Inhale through your nose, filling air into ribs, back and belly, exhale letting the air out through your mouth. DO NOT hold your breath and strain. Your pelvic floor should relax and open on the inhale and then contract on the exhale - this will help you gently bring the poop down.
“Above all else…please remember not to strain or push. This can increase postpartum complications like diastasis, prolapse and hemorrhoids, AND pushing actually causes your pelvic floor to tighten.”
We hope this can ease your mind regarding your postpartum poo and overall pelvic floor health.
Katrina’s Free beginners program link