Post-partum bowel movements and urination

The first bowel movement after childbirth can be difficult. Urination may also be more difficult and painful.

Bowel movements

The first bowel movement after childbirth can be difficult. The episiotomy is often painful, your pubic area is sensitive and you are afraid of more pain, all of which may cause you to delay emptying your bowels. Do not postpone using the toilet, however. Not only will this harden your stools, but it will also cause more pain.

Tips for dealing with constipation

Have 3 days passed since your last bowel movement?

  • Drink plenty of water and incorporate fruit, vegetables and brown bread in your diet.
  • Move around as much as possible.
  • Notify your midwife or doctor that you are unable to pass stools.

Did you have bowel movement issues prior to the delivery?

If you had bowel movement issues prior to the delivery, start consuming extra fibre immediately after childbirth. The midwife will be happy to advise you.


Rinsing with lukewarm water

Urinating can also be painful, especially if there are small tears in the mucous membrane of the labia. You can alleviate the stinging by rinsing well with lukewarm water after every bathroom visit to pass stool or urinate.

Pain relief and hydration

Sometimes, the pubic area is swollen and you either struggle to urinate or are unable to urinate at all. An anti-inflammatory painkiller and sufficient hydration may help with urination.

Bladder catheter

If you have failed to urinate for six hours after giving birth, the midwife will insert a bladder catheter.

Pelvic floor exercises

If you have trouble holding in your pee when laughing, coughing or sneezing or you do not feel well when you have to urinate, tell the midwife. The physiotherapist will teach you pelvic floor exercises to help you manage urinary incontinence.

Urinary tract infections

After childbirth, you are more prone to urinary tract infections. If you have any problems or pain with urination, please tell your midwife. A urine sample will be ordered for testing and a course of antibiotics can be started, if necessary.

Last edit: 25 August 2021