ZocdocAnswersIs constipation normal after giving birth?

Question

Is constipation normal after giving birth?

I just gave birth to my second child last week. And while I can feel my body returning to normal in many respects, my bowel movements are still very irregular. In fact, I have been extremely constipated ever since then. Is this a normal problem experienced by post-childbirth women?

Answer

Constipation can have many causes after delivering birth and your primary care doctor or OB/ GYN doctor can help you with the evaluation and treatment of the problem. That being said, constipation is one of the most common and generally one of the most benign complications after giving birth. At times, the constipation experienced after given birth is simply the result of the body attempting to return to normal and to reestablish a post-pregnancy rhythm. Drastic hormonal changes that occur in the transition from the pregnant to post-pregnant state can further exacerbate this. If you are breast feeding, dehydration can be a significant component of the constipation you are experiencing. Breastfeeding women often lose more water in the breastmilk than they make up for by drinking fluids, and the result can be constipation. More rarely, constipation can be a sign of a more significant problem. For example, tearing or trauma to the anus or pelvic muscles as a result of the birthing process can result in significant pain and constipation. Furthermore, numerous medications can cause constipation. For example if you were prescribed strong pain medications, these may be making your constipation work. It is not possible to come to a definitive diagnosis without a physical examination by your personal physician. A strong recommendation would be to discuss this problem with your primary care doctor or OB/GYN as soon as possible.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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