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Should I use a stool softener after delivery?

I heard I should use a stool softener after the birth. Is that safe?

Re:

I heard I should use a stool softener after the birth. Is that safe?

The Bump Expert

Ugh. We feel your pain. But we have good news for you: A stool softener, like Colace, is totally safe to use after delivery -- even if you’re breastfeeding. In fact, the staff at your hospital might even bring you a dose.

There are a few different reasons why new moms take stool softeners. One, of course, is because you’re constipated, something that can be made worse by iron supplements that your doc may have given you if you had significant postpartum blood loss. Constipation can also happen if you’re dehydrated or haven’t been eating well. Another reason is, well, to make pooping more comfortable. Some moms get hemorrhoids during late pregnancy or from pushing during delivery -- others have tears or incisions (down there) that are sensitive -- and a stool softener can make for less straining and less discomfort when you go.

The recommended dose of Colace is 100 mg twice a day, and you can take it three times a day. And it’s available over the counter at drugstores. In the meantime, hang in there. Hemorrhoids should heal in about two weeks or so. If you’re taking iron supplements, you can keep taking the stool softener for as long as you’re on them.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Scared to poop after delivery?

Healing after birth?

Crotch Care 101: The Truth About Postpartum Recovery

Lara Simondi, certified nurse-midwife at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston