A Video Showing A Woman Struggling To Poop After Giving Birth Has Received Over 8 Million Views, So I Spoke To An OB-GYN To Find Out What New Moms Should Expect

I'm sure you've noticed that transparency regarding pregnancy struggles is trending as women online are openly sharing the not-so-glamorous aspects of pregnancy and childbirth.

Pregnant person in a hospital bed cupping their belly
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While scrolling through my TikTok For You page, I came across the Remingtons — a couple who make videos about the journey to parenthood. In an effort to destigmatize a common postpartum issue, they recently made a video — which has amassed over 8.4 million views — documenting the difficult process of passing a bowel movement after Tiffany Remington vaginally gave birth to their son.

The Remingtons recording the process of postpartum pooping

"It's time to poop after birth, and for me it's just as mortifying as birth," Tiffany said at the start of the video.

Tiffany recording her TikTok video

In the clip, Tiffany hovers over a toilet while explaining that she recently took Colace, a laxative that softens the stool, to help with pooping after birth. It's "actually not as bad at first," she writes on the screen before sharing that her anus appeared "pursed" after giving birth to her first child. Finishing up, Tiffany then asks her partner, Caleb, to check her perineum, and he describes it as "puffy and inflamed."

Tiffany and her husband in the bathroom dealing with postpartum pooping

Users expressed their gratitude for the informative video, with one writing, "Thank you for sharing the raw moments! It makes me feel like I won't be surprised when it comes, so terrifying and no one talks about this stuff."

"Thank you for sharing the raw moments. It makes me feel like I won't be so surprised when it comes, so terrifying and no one talks about this stuff"

To learn more about difficulties with postpartum pooping, its causes, and how to manage it, I spoke with Dr. Mary T. Jacobson, the chief medical officer at Alpha, a virtual primary care platform.

When asked about how common this issue of struggling with postpartum pooping is in her experience, Jacobson told BuzzFeed, "Very."

"The female body goes through immense physiologic and physical changes during a pregnancy that involve all organ systems in the body," Jacobson told BuzzFeed.

Pregnant woman talking to her doctor

"Physiologically, progesterone-mediated smooth muscle relaxation leads to decreased motility in the large bowel, resulting in increased water absorption and constipation," Jacobson said.

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After a bowel movement, people who just gave birth can experience pain, rectal itching, bleeding, and swelling around the anus, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Woman standing in hospital room while pregnant
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The recovery period can look different for every individual, but Jacobson says, "After delivery, levels of progesterone drop to prepregnancy levels within 24 hours. However, loss of body fluids, laxity of abdominal wall, and hemorrhoids take approximately six weeks to resolve."

A pregnant woman in pain lying in bed
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In terms of relatability, thousands commented on Tiffany’s video about their own postpartum pooping experiences: “I fainted when I went to use the bathroom after I gave birth and I had a 3rd degree tear,” one person wrote.

"I fainted when I went to use the bathroom after I gave birth and I had 3rd degree tear"

"Fainting after a postpartum bowel movement is an example of a 'vasovagal episode' or 'reflex syncope,'" according to Jacobson. "Physiologically, this is due to failure in the autoregulation of blood pressure and, ultimately, a drop in cerebral perfusion pressure, resulting in a transient loss of consciousness."

So basically, the lack of blood flow to the brain causes one to faint because of the body's inability to regulate blood pressure after one has given birth.

"Fluid depletion, plus the fact that the postpartum person may be dehydrated and anemic from blood loss in childbirth, increases the risk of fainting after a postpartum bowel movement," Jacobson told BuzzFeed.

Person sitting on the toilet
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Another user said they "hated going number two after birth":

"I hated going number 2 after birth, it hurt so bad, and I feel like it was 3 time the normal size"

And finally, a user thanked the Remingtons for bringing the issue to light: "I really love that you show this also. Because no one and I mean no one tells you these parts after having a baby. Hope you had a wonderful recovery."

"I really love that  you show this also, because no one and I mean no one tells you these parts after having a baby; hope you have a wonderful recovery"

For those who are currently pregnant, it's recommended that you prepare for postpartum pooping early. "Begin pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles around your bladder, bottom, and vagina during pregnancy to lower your chance of experiencing incontinence after having your baby," Jacobson recommended.

Pregnant woman stretching on the floor
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So that was a ton of information, but it's important to continue talking about postpregnancy difficulties openly. If you have any advice for new moms dealing with postpartum issues, let us know in the comments!

Pregnant person's belly