Constipation is a common thing for any moms after giving birth. Dealing with your first bowel movement is a part of the recovery process for the majority of postpartum mothers. Some moms may find postpartum constipation tough, while it may not be an issue for some.
But if you’re like most women experiencing it, you may want to consider taking one of the best stool softeners for postpartum available on the market.
Our Top Picks for Best Stool Softeners For Postpartum
#1. Colace Regular Strength Stool Softener for Gentle Dependable Relief
There’s nothing more incredible than bringing your new precious baby home. However, it’s not fun dealing with the problems after giving birth, including postpartum constipation. It can happen to a normal or C-section type of birth. Thus, it’s crucial to ensure things are moving to make your recovery process more comfortable.
Colace Stool Softener can help you through your dilemma. The stimulant-free docusate sodium stool softener will provide you with a dependable, gentle, effective, and comfortable solution for your pregnancy constipation in 12 to 72 hours. It can help alleviate your irregular bowel movements and hard dry stools.
It is a safe option for new moms or during your pregnancy. However, it is still recommended to check with your doctor before using it, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
#2. MiraLAX Laxative Powder for Gentle Constipation Relief
MiraLAX Laxative Powder is a highly efficient stool softener. It works by drawing water in your colon to soften your bowel movement. It creates that laxative effect but without the sudden urge. There’s no unwanted cramping, bloating, and gas as well. As a result, you’ll be more comfortable when you need to go. It also blocks your system naturally without side effects.
Simply mix a single serving of MiraLAX using its cap in a glass of water. The flavorless powder dissolves easily in any cold or hot beverage. The is also stool softener is gluten-free, sugar-free, and preservative-free. You can take once a day for a whole week or when you’re experiencing occasional constipation.
#3. Dulcolax Pink Stool Softener
Pregnancy is not easy. It pushes your body to the limits and acquiring digestive problems is quite common to most pregnant moms. Stool softeners like Dulcolax Pink are deemed to be generally safe for your pregnancy. However, it’s still a good idea to see your OB-GYM first to get his or her opinion before taking them.
Dulcolax Pink is a stimulant-free laxative with gentle ingredients to help you with your bowel movements throughout your pregnancy. It provides relief from postpartum constipation by softening your dry, hard, and painful stool, to make it easier to pass.
Anyone sick, hurt, in pain, have stomach aches, or even just feeling under the weather, can also use it. It is safe and for all ages.
#4. Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia – Overnight Relief Of Occasional Constipation
The very affordable Milk of Magnesia is from a trusted brand with more than 140 years of digestive health expertise. You can find it easily in any drugstore or online. And similar to MiraLAX, it’s an osmotic-type laxative. It means that it also draws water in your system to soften your painful and hard stool.
Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia has a formulation that includes Magnesium Hydroxide and does not use harsh stimulants. It will provide you with a cramp-free, gentle, and effective overnight relief of occasional constipation. It also works fast and you’ll start to feel the results in around 30 minutes.
The liquid stool softener comes in a variety of flavors, such as original, wild cherry, and fresh mint. Adults are advised to take one to two capfuls of it with a glass of water. You can either take it as one dose or as divided doses all through the day.
#5. Colace 2-IN-1 Stool Softener and Stimulant Laxative Tablets
Constipation after birth is not only annoying but a painful condition as well. You can ease some of its symptoms by changing your diet and eating more foods that are high in fiber. However, there are times when this is not enough, and if that’s the case, you should consider taking Colace 2-IN-1 Stool Softener.
The product can make your bowel softer and easier to pass. It is effective at treating not only postpartum constipation but also those related to certain medications and medical conditions. The safe and gentle option will provide you with a gentle, reliable relief.
It contains docusate sodium that allows water and fats to get into your stool to aid soften and make your bowel movements as comfortable as possible. On the other hand, its senna concentrate ingredient works as a gentle stimulant to help the process.
#6. Kirkland Signature Stool Softener
After childbirth, it is common for your stomach to rebel leading to straining on the toilet. Also, some medications before or after pregnancy may block your system causing irregular bowel movements.
The best stool softeners like Kirkland Signature Stool Softener is the solution you need to free yourself from the discomfort. It can help soften your hard stools and reduce your need to strain. Although it’s not an alternative for a healthy diet high in fiber, it’s very useful for your digestive problems. It will stimulate the muscles of your colon, which in turn provide you with relief from constipation.
#7. DulcoEase Stool Softener Liquid Gels
Constipation is caused by a lot of things including dehydration, low-fiber diet, stress, and medication. DulcoEase Stool Softener is the best stool softener to provide you with assistance in most cases. But make sure to consult with a medical professional first to discuss your health concerns.
DulcoEase contains the active ingredient docusate sodium to prevent and relieve your irregularity and constipation. It works by allowing more water in your stool. It softens, hard, dry stool, and you’ll be able to produce a bowel movement within 12 to 72 hours. The liquid gel capsules are also stimulant-free and offer a comfortable relief from constipation, making it easier for you to use the bathroom.
It’s also applicable for all ages and can be taken for pain or when you’re not feeling well enough to go to the drugstore.
#8. Senokot-S Dual Action Natural Vegetable Laxative Ingredient Plus Stool Softener Tablets
Senokot-S Dual Action is so gentle that it can be used by children ages two years old and above. The product is a combination of the gentleness of a stool softener and the proven power of Senokot.
It contains a regulated concentrate of senna, which is a natural vegetable laxative. Its formulation also includes docusate sodium for a dependable, gentle, and comfortable overnight relief of occasional constipation after childbirth.
#9. Phillips Stool Softener Liqui-Gels
Postpartum constipation is normal after childbirth. You have plenty of fantastic over-the-counter stool softener options out there to aid you, including the Phillips Stool Softener Liqui-Gels.
These liquid gels are easy to swallow. You need to take it one to three times a day, and you’ll see results within 12 to 72 hours. The stool softener contains docusate sodium, which is a safe and effective ingredient usually prescribed to help soften bowels. It will relieve your constipation without abdominal pain, cramping, and other bothersome side effects.
#10. Senna-Time S Natural Vegetable Laxative Senna Plus Stool Softener
Senna-Time S is the generic alternative for Senokot S. It combines the gentle strength and potency of Sennosides Tables with a stool softener. It also contains docusate sodium, making it great for hydrating and softening up your dry, hard bowels.
The recommended use of this stool softener is before bedtime for overnight relief of postpartum constipation. And you’ll typically feel the effects with 6 to 12 hours after taking it. It’s a gentle and safe option for moms to relieve them of irregularity and constipation due to difficulties in bowel movements.
What Causes My Constipation After Giving Birth?
There are several factors that may impact your toilet habits once you’ve given birth. The annoying yet normal discomfort can be related to the changes your body has undergone during and after delivery.
A few external factors may also come into play with your constipation, such as the medicine your doctors prescribed. Additionally, you’re more likely to take prenatal vitamins if you’re breastfeeding, which can contribute to your constipation as well.
Moreover, your mind may be playing a trick with you. It’s understandable to be quite careful of pushing since your perineum tends to be tender after normal delivery. You may also fear that your vaginal or C-section stitches will tear if you push too hard. As a result, the simple thought of pain when you’re trying to go may hold you back.
Here are some physical causes why you may find it hard to get rid of your bowels:
- It will take some time for your body to recover from the effects of pregnancy. Your progesterone levels are over the roof when you’re pregnant.
- Your baby’s weight on your intestines will slow your digestive system down. Going through labor can also dramatically slow it down.
- Opioid drugs to relieve labor pain, such as diamorphine or pethidine, may also affect your bowels.
- It may also be more difficult to do number two if your pelvic floor gets damaged while giving birth.
Aside from these, it’s also possible to experience postpartum constipation due to the following reasons:
- When the medical team utilized ventouse, forceps, or other instruments to aid with your delivery.
- The weight of the baby you delivered is over 4.5 kilograms.
- If you suffer a third-degree or fourth-degree tear throughout your labor.
- Taking iron tablets can also cause constipation.
Will I Experience Any Pain When It’s Time To Eliminate My Stool?
Your perineum or the part between your anus and vagina may feel pretty numb if you had a normal birth. The nerves in and around your female part are stretched. So it’s highly likely that you won’t feel that much pain.
The area around your anus and perineum will also be sore if you have piles or stitches. Thus, it’s advisable not to delay your bowel movements since putting it off will just make the discomfort and pain of your postpartum constipation worse.
Additionally, your midwife or doctor will provide you with a stool softener if the tear you acquire during birth is extreme. Not only will it make things easier for you, but it will also protect the wound. Also, your stitches will not split when you go to the toilet. Still, bearing down or pushing may strain your pelvic floor and slow down the healing process.
Avoid worrying about releasing your bowel too much, as it will worsen your constipation. Being anxious will not help relax and open your back passage, instead, it’ll tighten it. Also, avoid hurrying things up when you’re in the toilet. Try distracting yourself by listening to music or reading your favorite book.
How Long Will My Constipation Last?
Normally, your bowel movement issue will resolve in a matter of days after giving birth. Nonetheless, it will still depend on what’s causing it and the measures you’ll take to manage and treat it. The key here is being proactive in handling your constipation and following the simple tips we’ve listed below.
How To Properly Treat Your Constipation After Birth
Brushing off the pain of postpartum constipation may seem like a simple thing, especially when you have to deal with a lot of things. However, keep in mind that there’s more to it than not being able to poop. It also means that you always have to bear constant discomfort.
Furthermore, if you find yourself pregnant again, it may lead to a more chronic issue if you don’t treat it right away. With that in mind, here are some helpful ways on how you can relieve your constipation.
- Take the best stool softener
There’s a high chance the hospital will give you a stool softener that’s safe to take even for breastfeeding moms. It’s different from a regular stimulant laxative. These medicines add moisture to your stool, making it soft and more comfortable to pass.
On the other hand, stimulant laxatives work by forcing your intestines to contract, making you want to poop. Also, a stool softener is only used to help you during your problem after birth and not for long-term treatment.
- Make fiber your best friend
Consistently eating foods high in fiber such as vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, and bran cereals, can help relieve and prevent your constipation. On average, you need about 25 grams of fiber a day. Studies also show that consuming two to three prunes is just as effective as a laxative. They not only contain high amounts of fiber but sorbitol as well, which is a sugar alcohol that acts as a natural laxative.
- Know the foods you need to avoid
Make sure to avoid white bread, white rice, and other refined foods. Go for whole-grain instead. Avoid eating chocolates and as well since they can be constipating. If you want a snack, nibble on some fresh and crunchy vegetables and fruits. Try to leave the skins on for additional fiber. You can either eat them lightly steamed or raw.
- Make sure you’re always hydrated
Giving birth is the equivalent of going through numerous marathons in a day, so make sure to stay hydrated. It is also vital if you want your bowel movements to be healthy. Here are the reasons why:
- When the food you eat goes through the large intestine, it’ll soak up water as it digests and absorbs all the nutrients. And our large intestines soak up a lot of water.
- Water can help make your stool soft and plump, so they’ll be easier to pass. Having a stool that looks like small pebbles means that you are dehydrated.
Consider mixing your water with coconut water since it’s high in potassium. It also works just like an electrolyte drink minus the unwanted additives.
- Work out
Doing physical activities can help increase the flow of oxygen and blood to all your organs, including your intestines. It’s hard to squeeze in an hour or two of work out if you’re on mom duty 24/7. However, simple things like pushing your baby’s stroller around the park or gentle stretching counts. Your main goal here is to get off that couch as often as you can to help with your postpartum constipation.
- Timing is everything
Our large intestine likes it if it has a daily schedule. You can prevent constipation after birth by timing when you usually get the urge in a day. During that time, try having a meal or a snack and drink some tea or coffee. If you don’t like caffeine, drink a cup of herbal tea or warm water instead, which are just as effective.
- Consider doing it like you did when you’re a little tot
Consider hunching down when you’re pooping. Get a little stepping stool where you can rest your feet. Place your elbows on your knees and lean forward. The more you hunch down, the better. As great as toilets are, the hunch position is the natural way to eliminate waste and not sitting upright.
- Do some breathing
Take things slowly. Spend under five minutes on your toilet and try breathing deeply. Your pelvic floor is a respiratory muscle, so once you inhale, it drops, and it rises once you exhale. Breathing deep and slow will introduce a nice and gentle movement to it that can help push your stool out. Some women even come up with a mantra to help with their postpartum constipation.
- Wipe it down and let it out
Abdominal massage, if applied to the right area, is a simple and yet effective way to help stimulate your bowel movement. You can either go to a physical therapist to show you how or watch a how-to video on YouTube. But basically, here’s how you can do it:
- Follow the path of your colon with your fingers.
- Press over the bottom right part of your hip bone and move up over your stomach to just beneath your rib cage.
- Go down toward your left hip bone, and then back to your belly button.
- Finally, move straight down to your pubic area.
Do the massage right before or after your meal to get the best results.
- Consider going to a physical therapist
If your constipation is accompanied by painful intercourse, leaking urine, or you don’t even feel the urge to go see your OB-GYN. The nerves and muscles of your pelvis may have experienced trauma or damage during birth.
You may want to ask your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor health. The PT will assess your pelvic bones, nerves, and muscles. You’ll also be taught exercises that can aid bowel movement relief.
What If I Have Hemorrhoids?
Constipation often comes with hemorrhoids. Your hemorrhoids will likely worsen if you have a hard stool or if you strain when passing a movement. Although generally, these are not severe cases, they’re also not a pleasure to have. Things will clear up within one to two weeks by treating your hemorrhoids and following our suggestions above. Again, it’s always a good idea to ask a medical professional for advice about your concerns.
When Do I Need To Call A Doctor?
Although not often, there are some cases when your postpartum constipation may be an actual symptom of a bigger health concern. See your doctor if your condition persists or if you’re experiencing some of these additional symptoms:
- Experiencing extreme pain in your stomach
- If you see blood or mucus in your bowel
- Having episodes of both diarrhea and constipation
- If you think your rectal pain is too severe to handle
- An excessive amount of bleeding in your anus
Pregnancy itself is not an easy journey for all moms. You’ll encounter problems during and after due to the changes that your body will go through, and postpartum constipation is just one of them. However, by following some of our advice above and taking one of the best stool softeners for postpartum constipation, you’ll relieve yourself from some of the discomforts that come with giving birth.