Gut Health: Postpartum and Constipation
Updated: Apr 17
As a new mom, we get to enjoy so many wonderful moments with our little ones. The fresh smell of small babies, the cuddles, the milestones. These moments stay with us forever. But what many don't talk about, is that giving birth is HARD. Whether you have a natural birth, medicated birth, C-section... it takes a toll on your body. And it doesn't stop with the 3rd trimester and giving birth, that's when the fourth trimester begins! The fourth trimester: the phase in which your body is fighting to recover from delivery, hormones fluctuating all over again, internal healing, body changing, cramps from the uterus shrinking, bleeding, low energy, lack of sleep, digestive issues...and all of this is done while aiming to take care of a new little human! Truly, mother's are resilient!
If you are like me, then unfortunately you may have had postpartum complications. Not only was I in terrible shape with some complications after my 2nd daughter's birth in 2018, I also unfortunately had major digestive issues going on as well. Sorry for the TMI, but I remember complaining to my midwife that something felt wrong in what I thought was my uterus, after having the baby. I was in so much pain! Even just passing gas sent me completely curled up! As my midwife felt around my abdomen, she came across a hard lump...how embarrassing to be told it wasn't anything scary or out of the ordinary, rather that it was just built up stool! I was so severely constipated! If you've ever had a baby, you'll know how scary taking that first bowel movement is! Some women do not go for days after delivering a baby! Postpartum constipation is a very common issue many new mothers experience, all the more reason to focus on gut health. In my case, I was given stool softeners, and told to take them as needed. This "needed" became daily. If I didn't take one, or just forgot to, I would feel the effects until days later and being hunched over in pain again. This went on for over two months! I didn't want to rely on these pills forever. My digestion was not improving, rather, these pills were just a bandaid solution, and I hated being in pain if I forgot to take one. Being someone that was already coaching others on health, I knew it was time to take matters into my own hands! I committed to focussing on my nutrition. I made small changes that resulted in BIG results for my health and body! I focussed on my gut health. Your gut is connected to EVERYTHING in your body. This not only means your gastrointestinal tract, but also your hormones, your moods, inflammation and so much more in the body!
The main things I did to help my gut health: 1) I started by being mindful of how much water I was drinking. I kept a 1 litre bottle with me, that moved with me from room to room, and was filled up multiple times a day. As water intake is based off of your weight, my then minimum required was about 3 litres a day. This also helps greatly for those who are breastfeeding (more on that topic in another post). Read my blog post about water. 2) I decided to do a complete gut cleanup, all while exclusively pumping for my newborn. Was it hard? Actually it wasn't! That's probably why I was able to stick to it with a newborn. I relied on two products that helped balance what was going on on the inside. The first was a greens supplement in a drink form.
The greens drink I had was a simple addition to my diet and routine. It was 1 scoop of a powdered supplement I added to water, and gulped it down. I chose this one as it had a variety of 36 different fruits and vegetables in one serving. This meant my body was getting adequate fibre, along with antioxidants and phytonutrients. Antioxidants aid in fighting off disease long term, and help you become healthier from the inside. Another reason why those who take a greens supplement start to feel so strong and energetic. This of course helps with your gut health as well.
3) The second product I took regularly was a synbiotic. A synbiotic is a product that has both probiotics and prebiotics in it. The one I chose also contained digestive enzymes. My choice in this product was the health benefits that these have. Taking this in a supplement form makes it more effective than trying to get probiotics through yoghurt for example. Having both in one, prebiotics and probiotics, also means the probiotic is being activated immediately in the environment it's in (your body!) since you've consumed it. Probiotics actually need prebiotics to work effectively, as this is the "food" that it activates from. This was also a powder form, that I added to half a glass of water and drank daily. I also began combining these two and taking them together, on days I just didn't have time due to new mommy duties.
I chose to stop taking my stool softeners on Day 3 of making these changes. It was scary for sure as I didn't want to be in pain. But I also needed to see if my change in digestion, and the healthier bowel movements I was experiencing was because of the pills, or despite them. To my relief, the pattern of healthy digestion, no more pain, no more bloating, and especially no more constipation, continued successfully! The most beautiful thing about this, was being a mom to a newborn, I felt I was able to focus more on my baby, when I wasn't so concerned about my digestion anymore.
Keep in mind, these products can be used by ANYONE looking to get healthier, men and women alike. They are not at all restricted to those postpartum. Full disclosure: I was taking other products for my health and nutrition, but these in particular are what I believe that aided in my gut improving so quickly. I did go on to add a 3rd product for my gut health about a year later, which is still a part of my routine to this day, along with the two I speak about above. I will share more about that one in a future post.
If you have further questions about these nutritional health products I chose to use to improve my gut issues after having my baby, feel free to email me at email@example.com .