After having a baby muscles are sore, the woman is tired, and with no real food in the digestive system, she may have trouble going number 2. While dehydration is not typically a problem thanks to IV fluids, fear of urinating may cause a woman who has just given birth to refrain from heading off to the bathroom too quickly.
During labor and delivery, the muscles used during bowel movements are the same ones used to push the baby out through the birth canal. Muscle fatigue and pain from pushing during labor can make it difficult to pass a bowel movement. In the old days, women who had just given birth were required to pass a bowel movement before leaving the hospital. Today, most women can leave the hospital with stool softeners in hand to make that first bowel movement easier.
Pain medications given to women who have undergone a C-section can also cause constipation. It is important to take stool softeners and drink plenty of water and natural fruit juices after labor as these will help keep stools soft, making them more easy to pass.
If the woman had a catheter in place during delivery or C-section, urination after giving birth can also be difficult and there may be some incontinence for the first few days after the catheter is removed.
Fear of urinating is the biggest problem after delivery. The woman is sore in the perineal area and some stinging can occur with every urination for a while. However, the stinging is nothing compared to the pain of delivering a baby. To ease the pain a squirt bottle with antiseptic wash is given to the woman in the hospital; this warm water wash will feel great and ease any pain associated with an episiotomy, stretching or childbirth.
The best rule of thumb is to go when you have to go and allow the body to naturally push waste from the intestinal system. Pushing will only cause hemorrhoids and more pain and suffering. If constipation is a serious problem, the woman should notify her doctor who may have further medical steps she can follow.