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Bowels and Hemorrhoids

Lack of physical activity and perineal soreness intensify the constipation and gas that new mothers typically experience. Be patient. Most women find that going home to increased activity and more private surroundings help ease constipation problems.

Some simple measures can help relieve constipation:

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Eat fruits, leafy vegetables and whole-grain bread and cereals.
  • Take stool softeners as recommended by your doctor.
  • Establish a regular time to go to the bathroom.
  • Begin taking walks.

If you have rectal stitches, try not to strain when passing a bowel movement. Your doctor may prescribe a stool softener or laxative, such as Colace, Dialose, Senokot, Metamucil or milk of magnesia. Rectal suppositories or Fleets enemas sometimes help assure a more comfortable bowel movement. If you nurse your baby, be sure to ask your doctor before taking any medication, including laxatives.

Hemorrhoids (painful, swollen veins in the anus) often become tender and inflamed during pregnancy and especially after a vaginal birth. To relieve hemorrhoidal discomfort on the first day after giving birth, use ice packs to help reduce swelling. After that warm, moist heat or soaking in a clean bathtub may bring relief. You may also want to use a topical anesthetic, such as Tucks, Anusol H.C. or xylocaine jelly. Avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing and try to alternate periods of rest and activity.