Pregnancy and postpartum life can come with some… side effects. Maybe you’ve been warned about back pain, sleepless nights, and sore boobs, but has anyone clued you into the changes that happen to your butt and vag?
We got you. We teamed up with our friends at TUSHY, (they make thoughtful products to help you take care of your butt!) to bring you up to speed so you can be more prepared.
NEW BUTT DISCOVERIES
You can thank your changing hormones, in part, for this one. But in addition, during pregnancy by the time you are ready to give birth, your uterus will be as large as a watermelon to accommodate your growing babe. All this growing puts extra pressure on your intestines, causing obstructions and lo and behold, constipation (1). Around 40% of pregnant people experience constipation (1).
During the postpartum period, constipation can also be caused due to lack of food and drink during labor, changes to your pelvic floor and uterus, and any medications (2) you were given during or post-birth.
Tools To Help
Of course a healthy and balanced diet with lots of fiber is helpful. So is drinking lots of water and staying active in pregnancy as much as possible to help keep things movin.’ But if you’re like, yeah, duh, I do that already, here’s another little trick…
Lift those feet with a TUSHY Ottoman! A great way to help relieve some of the pressure on your anus is to lift your feet when you sit on the toilet (read more HERE). It’s not that easy to pop a squat though, especially if you’re pregnant or postpartum. Which is where tools like the TUSHY Ottoman, come into play. The TUSHY Ottoman helps mimic a squatting position by allowing you to lift your feet as you sit (3) on the toilet. And, it’s not an eyesore! The TUSHY Ottoman has a streamlined design to fit around the base of your toilet, so for those with tiny bathrooms, it doesn’t take up space!
Hemorrhoids and Anal Fissures
Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels that form on the lower rectum or anus (4). They can be uncomfortable and make it more difficult for you to poop. Anal fissures are a crack or a tear in the lining of the anal canal or in the anus (5). Common symptoms include sharp pains when you poop and a burning sensation that can last a few hours afterward. You may also see some blood in your poop (6, 1).
Why do they occur? In pregnancy, if you are sitting or standing in one position for too long (7), added pressure can be put on your anal canal (7), and boom, hemorrhoids and/or anal fissures! Pregnancy also causes an increase in the hormone progesterone which leads the blood vessels in your anus to relax (8). So, if you strain when pooping, this can cause blood to pool in the vessels (9) and voila, hemorrhoids! Similarly, anal fissures also develop when you are passing a hard stool or when you are straining.
Both hemorrhoids and anal fissures typically clear up about a month after birth. However, pushing your baby through the vaginal canal can cause them to sprout anew.
Tools To Help
Use a cold compress. If you’re experiencing anal discomfort, a cold compass on the area can bring some relief. You can do this 20 minutes at a time (10), several times a day.
Witch Hazel. If you have hemorrhoids, you can try adding some witch hazel to that compress. The tannins and oils in witch hazel (4, 11) have been shown to help reduce inflammation, slow bleeding, and reduce pain and itching (12).
Avoid Toilet Paper If You Can. Just the thought of wiping dry paper against an already inflamed and irritated butt hole makes us cringe. And while, sure, you can dampen your paper before use for more comfort, you can also use the TUSHY spa bidet for a steady stream of soothing warm water on your bum for a sensation that will actually feel good! Aaaaah!
Lift those feet (again!) Because hemorrhoids and anal fissures often happen due to straining when you poop, you want to stop straining as much as possible. And, like we mentioned above, a tool like the TUSHY Ottoman can relieve some of that pressure and help you strain less.
TUSHY Chief Creative Officer and co-founder Miki Agrawal recently had a baby herself and she shares,
“Having a TUSHY bidet during pregnancy is a complete GAME CHANGER. Beyond the wildness of all of my organs shifting around in my body as the baby was growing in my belly, I never realized that pregnancy poops were also a THING, with hemorrhoids popping up from all of the added pressure and irritation and major sensitivity being felt down there!"
New Vaginal Discoveries
Increased Vaginal Discharge
During pregnancy there may be times your vaginal discharge is so heavy that you may be unsure whether your water has broken, or if you’ve just peed yourself. Like with most vaginal discharge, this is often due to hormones (13). Additionally, because when you’re pregnant the cervix and vaginal wall soften, excess discharge is needed to help stop infections from traveling from the vagina to the womb (13, 14). Lastly, towards the end of pregnancy, the baby’s head can also press against your cervix, which can lead to increased vaginal discharge as well (13)!
Tools To Help
Soak it up. If you’ve got a lot of discharge, period underwear or period pads could be a good option.
Keep it fresh. With all that increased discharge, you may feel the desire to wash off more down there. The TUSHY bidet classic makes this easy. Simply spritz, pat dry (if you want) and go! Swamp crotch no more!
Lochia is postpartum bleeding that can last four to six weeks after delivery (15). During pregnancy, your body grows an entire organ called the placenta to help you grow your baby. The placenta is attached to the uterine wall and when you birth your baby, you birth your placenta too. The uterus needs to heal the wound where the placenta used to be attached. Lochia is the byproduct of this healing process.
Tools To Help
Stain protection. Period underwear and menstrual pads also come in handy here.
Wash-on-the-go. Maybe you’ve heard of a peri-bottle before? Well upgrade to TUSHY bidet-to-go, a stylish way to protect your parts between pediatrician appointments and those new parent meet-ups.
Agrawal adds that she never left home without the TUSHY Travel. Because it turns out, you can use it for your poo and your baby’s!
“With my son, Hiro, we literally washed him with the TUSHY Travel and dried his butt with our TUSHY bamboo butt towels anywhere and didn't need to buy wasteful, expensive wet wipes all the time. Most wet wipes actually strip away the natural oils from our bottoms and our babies’ bottoms, causing rashes and irritation, which keep them up at night, which keep us parents up at night too! TUSHY Travel to the rescue! :-)”
The perineum is the area between the anus and vulva (16). When you give birth vaginally, your perineum will likely be sore and tender (17), due to the, well, the passing of a human being through your vagina part.
Sometimes the perineum receives some nicks and tears when the baby comes out of the vagina. And other times, a small cut needs to be made to the area so that baby can get through quicker. In these cases, sometimes stitches are needed. These usually come out on their own. Perineal healing can take a few weeks or a few months, depending upon your perineum’s journey.
Tools To Help
Sitz bath. A sitz bath is an easy way to soak your perineum in warm water for discomfort relief (bonus: it can also help relax your anus, for those experiencing constipation!) You can either fill your tub with two or three inches of warm water (no soap or bubble bath (1, 18)!) and soak ten to twenty minutes a few times a day (7), or purchase a sitz bath from your local drug store (don’t worry it’s just a little bucket, not a full tub!). Feel free to add some healing herbs as well.
Ice, Ice, Baby. Ice/cool packs in the first two to three days can help reduce the swelling and help any discomfort. You can even freeze some menstrual pads with witch hazel on them. Just make sure the packs are wrapped so you don’t freeze yourself.
Bidet All Day. Grab that TUSHY again! The streaming water will help ensure that you are keeping your perineal area clean as it is healing (you especially don’t want bacteria from your poop getting to your vagina during this time). Plus, you can eliminate the need to rub dry paper across your stitches – ouch!
Relieve that stress. As constipation and extra pushing can stress your perineal stitches, it’s also a great idea to use a TUSHY Ottoman to lift those feet and relieve some of that pressure from pooping.
"After pregnancy, the TUSHY bidet helped soothe my chapped labia and irritated, sensitive nether regions overall and helped soothe the hemorrhoids that were still down there and healing slowly! TUSHY bidet was also comfortable and hygienic pre and post-sex, when I wanted EVERYTHING to be extra, extra clean."
Okay so maybe now you see why we are so OBSESSED with TUSHY tools around pregnancy and postpartum.
If you are keen on a TUSHY bidet but worried about the installation, have no fear, it’s as easy as a, b, c (literally. It’s just three steps.)
The TUSHY bidet attaches under your toilet seat and connects to your existing clean water supply from the bathroom wall. It doesn’t need electricity and can be easily removed and reinstalled (like if you’re moving or something). It takes about 10 minutes to install on standard toilets and you don’t need a plumber. We’ve got a handy diagram to show you how easy it is!
Written By: Martha Michaud
All content found on this Website, including: text, images, audio, or other formats, was created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
(1) National Childbirth Trust. (2019, July 15). Constipation in pregnancy, haemorrhoids and anal fissures. Retrieved from https://www.nct.org.uk/pregnancy/worries-and-discomforts/common-discomforts/constipation-pregnancy-haemorrhoids-and-anal-fissures
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(3) Khatri, M. (2019, October 8). Squatty Potty (Poop Stool): Does it Really Work? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/squatty-potty-what-is#1
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(10) Jewell, T. (2019, March 8). 7 Possible Causes for Anus Pain. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/anus-pain#home-remedies
(11) Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). Hemorrhoids and what to do about them. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/hemorrhoids_and_what_to_do_about_them
(12) Digestive Health Team. (2020, April 1). 7 Best and Worst Home Remedies for Your Hemorrhoids. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/7-best-and-worst-home-remedies-for-your-hemorrhoids/
(13) Schaeffer, J. (2019, March 8). Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy: What’s Normal? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/vaginal-discharge-during-pregnancy#1
(14) NHS website. (2018, July 12). Vaginal discharge in pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vaginal-discharge-pregnant/
(15) Watson, S. (2020, January 6). Is Postpartum Bleeding Normal? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/is-postpartum-bleeding-normal#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1
(16) Perineum: Definition of Perineum by Lexico. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/perineu
(17) Oxford University Hospitals NHS. (2014). Care of the Perineum after the birth of your baby . Retrieved from https://www.ouh.nhs.uk/patient-guide/leaflets/files/10929Pperineum.pdf
(18) Treating hemorrhoids during pregnancy. (2019, August 16). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/hemorrhoids-during-pregnancy/faq-20058149