Your body changes a lot after you give birth. Some changes are physical and others are emotional. A woman’s body is expected to go through many changes during and after delivery.
Many uncomfortable and probably strange things you are experiencing in your body now are usually bound to happen right after you have a baby. During pregnancy, your body has changed a lot. It worked hard to keep your baby safe and healthy. Now that your baby is here, your body is changing again. Some of these changes are physical, like your breasts getting full of milk. Others are emotional and psychological.
Many discomforts and body changes after giving birth are normal. But sometimes they’re signs or symptoms of a health problem that needs treatment. Go to all of your postpartum checkups, even if you’re feeling fine. These are medical checkups you get after having a baby to make sure you’re recovering well from labor and birth. At your checkups, your health care provider can help spot and treat health conditions. Postpartum care is important because new moms are at risk of serious and sometimes life-threatening health complications in the days and weeks after giving birth. Among all these changes, one of the most notorious ones is gas pains which are also known as afterbirth gas pains.
After birth pains or postpartum gas pains are a result of belly cramps that a nursing mother feels as the uterus or womb shrinks back to its regular size right after pregnancy. It may also occur along with vaginal tear and bleeding, night sweats, and breast engorgement. Postpartum gas is the increase in flatulence in a woman after having a baby. Postpartum gas is common and usually goes away on its own but can also be a sign of a pelvic injury or underlying health condition. After giving birth, or postpartum, it is normal for a woman to notice changes to their bowel movements. These changes may include: feeling bloated, involuntary or loose bowel movements, constipation, belching, sharp abdominal pains, abdominal cramps, etc. And depending on the cause, these digestive changes may resolve naturally or may require treatment.
CAUSES OF POSTPARTUM GAS PAINS
- Excessive consumption of dairy foods and compulsive dietary lifestyle: Though eating foods like whole grains confections, cheese, milk, nuts, vegetables, fruits and beans that contain fructose, lactose, sorbitol, or soluble fiber may increase gas, they are still good for your health at this point to maintain a healthy diet. However, there are some you should avoid reducing the production of excess gas. Generally, avoid processed and sweetened foods like candies, chewing gum, condensed or evaporated milk, and much of canned foods. Always try and eat fresh ones. In case you’re still experiencing postpartum gas, you can try eating less of each food type in turn. This can help you identify what foods trigger their gas in your bowels. Also, swallowing too much air when eating may also increase gas. Being aware of this and trying to eat more slowly may help.
- Pelvic floor damage: Pregnancy and giving birth may stretch and injure muscles and nerves in the pelvic floor. This may reduce the control a person has over passing gas. The back of the pelvic floor controls the anus. It is not unusual for the anal sphincter muscles to tear during birth. Anal injuries can lead to reduced control over gas. These injuries can also reduce a person’s control over their bowel movements, known medically as anal incontinence.
- Episiotomy: A person may need to undergo a minor surgical procedure called an episiotomy while they are giving birth. The doctor cuts between the vaginal opening and the anus to prevent tearing. Sometimes an episiotomy can take a while to heal. It may also weaken the pelvic floor muscles and lead to symptoms of anal incontinence, including postpartum gas.
- Constipation: This is when you don’t have bowel movements, you don’t have them often or your stools (poop) are hard to pass. You also may have painful gas trapped in your bowels after birth h. A person with constipation has infrequent bowel movements, and their stools may be hard and lumpy. Constipation can also cause bloating and abdominal pain. Constipation is common after giving birth and can sometimes be an ongoing problem. Certain pain medications can also cause a person to have immediate constipation, following the delivery. Long-term constipation is often due to diet or lifestyle factors. This may happen for a few days after you give birth.
- Underlying health issues: Some causes of postpartum gas do relate to an underlying health condition or factors that may be part of the birth process. These causes are often outside of your control.
- Take due note of when you should see a doctor: In case you are having symptoms of anal incontinence, such as losing control over passing stools, then it is wiser to go see a doctor immediately. Losing control over your bowel movements may mean you have a pelvic floor or anal injury. You may have had the damage dealt with previously, but it might still require further treatment. And if your constipation persists for more than a few days, you should also consider seeing a doctor. If you have a case of ongoing gas and bloating due to an underlying condition, a doctor will recommend an appropriate course of treatment for you.
- Exercises: Pelvic floor exercises also known as Kegels can help with recovery from anal incontinence. Kegel exercises involve repeatedly tensing and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. These are the muscles a person uses to stop passing gas or urine. It may also be helpful to see a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor care, as these specialists can advise what exercises are most appropriate. A person can discuss the need for seeing a physical therapist with a doctor following delivery. Also, another very good form of exercise to consider is yoga. Yoga is essentially a specialized series of exercises that help in practicing on how to promote the control of the body and mind. Yoga poses can also improve digestion. Poses such as the triangle pose may also be of benefit to people with postpartum gas.
- Dietary selections: Eat foods that are high in fiber. Examples are fruits and veggies, low cholesterol/fat peanut butter, groundnut, plain Greek yogurt, whole grains, nuts, and eggs. Even though we all have different bodies but do note that dietary changes can also help to prevent constipation and gas pains from reoccurring.
- Drinking plenty of water: Of course this good, old health recommendation for all ages, medical situations, and genders can never be emphasized enough. If clean, it is one of the safest and cheapest means of keeping the body hydrated and making bowel movement easier. Taking water has been proven time after time to aid digestion, and this is apart from its other numerous body benefits.
- Use of the right prescriptions: As recommended by your doctor, you can go to registered pharmacies to get over-the-counter stool softeners or laxatives that may provide relief from constipation in the short.