You can usually expect to have a bowel movement by the second or third day after birth. A balanced diet with adequate fluids will help. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grain bread and cereals, and some prunes or prune juice are good natural laxatives. If necessary, your healthcare provider may suggest a stool softener.

Having your first bowel movement is not as traumatic as you may think it will be, and it will be uncomfortable if you put it off. The pressure of a full rectum can be more painful because of the pressure on the suture area.