Q&A: Will my stitches open if I do a poo?

Posted in All, Postpartum and tagged .

mum sitting on toilet

Childbirth is beautiful, but it can also be traumatic.

And the first poo after childbirth? When you have stitches?

If you think that sounds more daunting than the birth itself, you’re not alone. Many women fear that pushing a poo out damage their stitches. As always, you can count on Mum’s Grapevine, we’re here to help.

Will doing a poo tear my stitches?

So first of all, our condolences to your nether regions, this is potentially a very difficult time for them. It is probably helpful to know that no, generally speaking going for a poo shouldn’t cause any harm to your stitches.

That doesn’t mean it’s still not going to be a daunting and potentially uncomfortable experience.

Just how unpleasant, probably depends on how badly you tore or were cut. If you only had a first-degree tear, you’ll probably not find getting things moving all that bad. But third- and fourth-degree tears are a whole other ball game.

How can I make it easier?

How to sit on a toilet

Luckily, there are a few handy little tips and tricks you can use to help the process. According to Queensland Health, your best bet is to try the following:

  • Use something to elevate your feet. A small footstool is excellent, but if you don’t have this then just lifting your heels may be enough. Ideally, you want your knees slightly above your hips.
  • Lean forward slightly, and rest your hand on your knees
  • Try to relax your stomach, and take deep breaths
  • Take as much time as you need.
  • Avoid pushing or straining
  • Gently support your perineum (area between your vagina and bottom) with your hand. You can either pop a bit of toilet paper, or a pad over your hand to make this easier
  • Make sure you clean yourself thoroughly, but gently. This will help to avoid infection. Don’t be afraid to steal a few of bub’s baby wipes, they may be more gentle than toilet paper.

But I’m still having trouble?

The birthing process can cause a bit of constipation, particularly if you’ve had to rely on painkillers. If you’re having trouble pooing, or you’ve suffered a third- or fourth-degree tear. It’s definitely worth considering some laxatives, or stool softeners for the short term, just to get things started.

Check in with your doctor or midwife about which option is best for you.

A reminder that you’ve done all your pushing work in the delivery suite, so at all costs, you’ll want to avoid pushing too hard to poo.

Your stitches will soon be a distant memory, and with the right recovery plan, everything should be back to normal very soon. Promise.

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