Common Bowel Problems After Pregnancy – You’re Not Alone! Fix Constipation, Diarrhea, And Hemorrhoids


The transition into the postpartum period often brings digestive changes. Constipation, hemorrhoids, and bowel urgency are frequent bowel complaints among new mothers. Understanding the causes and solutions for these issues can help you regain normalcy after having a baby.

Post-Pregnancy Bowel Problems

During pregnancy, rising progesterone levels cause smooth muscle relaxation throughout the body including in the bowels. This allows the waste and gas buildup that is common during the postpartum period as levels rapidly decline.

Post-Pregnancy Bowel Problems

Combined with delivery-related factors like reduced fiber intake, dehydration, and pain affecting mobility, new moms frequently face bowel problems like constipation, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids. But with the right solutions, these can resolve over time.

🔹 Constipation

Difficult, infrequent, and strained bowel movements characterize postpartum constipation. This results from:

  • Hormone changes – falling progesterone relaxes bowels less
  • Fiber lack – from post-delivery iron supplements or unhealthy diet
  • Dehydration – from recovery bleeding and nursing
  • Pain – from uterine cramping or perineal wounds inhibiting movement
  • Medications – especially narcotic pain relievers after birth

Treating constipation eases discomfort and supports healing. Make sure to inspect stools for signs of hemorrhoids as well.

🔹 Hemorrhoids

Pregnancy’s hormonal shifts make hemorrhoids more likely by loosening connective tissues. Then vaginal delivery or pushing exacerbates hemorrhoids.

Symptoms include:

  • Itching, burning, or pain around the anus
  • Bright red blood on toilet paper or in stool
  • A tender lump near the anus
  • Leaking mucus or feces

Hemorrhoids result from veins around the anus becoming engorged and inflamed. Constipation aggravates hemorrhoids further by straining the sensitive area.

See your OB-GYN or GI doctor if you have intense pain, persistent bleeding, fever, vomiting, or diarrhea lasting over 2 weeks postpartum.

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🔹 Bowel Urgency and Loose Stools

Some women experience loose stools, diarrhea, and urgency after delivery. Causes include:

  • Diet changes – consuming trigger foods while healing
  • Infection – antibiotics or post-delivery microbes disrupting gut flora
  • Stool holding – fearing pain from hemorrhoids or stitches

Addressing these issues and resting the bowel helps resolve diarrhea and urgency. See a doctor if it persists.

🔹Solutions and Treatments

Here are some ways to alleviate common bowel problems after pregnancy:

  • Drink more fluids like water and prune juice to soften and move your bowels.
  • Eat high-fiber foods like bran, fruits, and vegetables, or take Colace as needed for constipation.
  • Take a stool softener or laxative for short-term relief if constipation is severe.
  • Apply witch hazel pads, ice packs, or creams prescribed by your doctor to hemorrhoids to reduce swelling.
  • Sit in a warm Epsom salt bath to alleviate swelling, pain, and itching from hemorrhoids.
  • Follow a low FODMAP diet that eliminates foods high in fermentable carbs.
  • Take probiotic supplements to counter antibiotic use and restore healthy gut flora.
  • Increase exercise gradually which stimulates digestion and bowel motility.


Bowel issues after having a baby are very common but treatable with lifestyle measures, diet changes, hydration, fiber intake, and occasionally medications or other remedies. Try various approaches to determine what provides relief. If problems persist, see a gastroenterologist. But in most cases, your bowel function should return closer to normal within several weeks postpartum.


1. Why is constipation common after delivery?

Postpartum constipation results from falling progesterone levels, pain inhibiting mobility, dehydration, diet changes, iron supplements, and medication effects.

2. Do hemorrhoids always happen after labor?

No, but hemorrhoids are more common due to pushing during delivery and expanded blood vessels from pregnancy hormones. Genetics also play a role.

3. How long do postpartum bowel problems last?

Barring other complications, constipation, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids usually resolve within 4-6 weeks post-delivery as the body recovers.

4. What foods help with postpartum constipation?

Fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, nuts, bran, and prunes can help relieve constipation. Also drink plenty of fluids.

5. When should you see a doctor for bowel problems post-delivery?

See your OB-GYN or GI doctor if you have intense pain, persistent bleeding, fever, vomiting, or diarrhea lasting over 2 weeks postpartum

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Dr. Jun Ren is a dedicated and experienced registered dietitian and nutritionist who is committed to helping people achieve their health goals through personalized nutrition plans. With a passion for promoting healthy eating habits and preventing chronic diseases, Dr. Ren has been able to assist numerous clients in improving their overall quality of life.

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