How to pee and poop postpartum (when it really hurts)

Does it hurt to pee after giving birth? In short, yes. It burns to pee after birth.

I was elated after my baby was born – until the pain of my first pee after giving birth brought me crashing back to reality. 

It had been the easiest birth I’d ever had (easy might be the wrong word…) so I figured the toilet wouldn’t be so bad.

WRONG! Searing, burning agony awaited in that hospital bathroom. And not just once – for the first couple of days after she was born, every trip to the toilet was miserable.

If only I’d thought ahead, it could have been so much easier because there are things you can do to make it better – to ease the burning. The good news is that it didn’t last long and with a few tips and tricks, you’ll recover fast too.

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woman in pain on toilet


So what actually helps with postpartum soreness?

Cold packs helped but the constant soreness is nothing to the burning pain of peeing postpartum. And then there’s #2…

So how can you cope with this? We’ve all got to pee and poop so here’s a few tips to make it a little more bearable.

After childbirth, it really hurts to pee and go to the bathroom. Here's how to ease the burning and begin to get your toilet experience back to normal. #mom #newmoms #newparent #newparentadvice #births #childbirtheducation #pregnancytips #pregnancyhealth #pregnancyinformation

N.B. I’m not medically trained in any way. This is not medical advice and you should always consult your doctor if you are in pain or worried about your physical condition.

Tips for new mums who are finding it very painful to pee. If going to the toilet hurts after giving birth, you'll be miserable - but don't dispair. Use these handy tips to ease the burn of peeing postpartum and start to get back to normal. #births #postpartum #newmums #mumadvice #parentingideas #mom

Postpartum recovery is generally pretty eye-opening - and not in a good way. But your first pee after your baby is born will be eye watering. And #2 isn't much fun either. Here are a few tips to help you soothe the aching and burning and get your bathroom visits back to normal. #postpartum #newmums

Your private parts hurt a lot after you give birth

And painful urination after childbirth is a fact for most of us after a vaginal delivery.

You will be bleeding a lot and trying to keep that under control with pads and maternity underwear.

You will be very tender around that whole area.

There’s probably swelling and when you wipe it probably feels a bit alien – puffy and soft and much bigger than it should be.

If you had a tear or an episiotomy, you will also have a wound to take care of.

All of this adds up to an unpleasant toilet experience.

How to soothe the burn of peeing after giving birth

Making going to the bathroom better when it hurts to pee

First, take care of the stuff that’s within your control. You don’t want to be desperately searching for clean underwear or a fresh pad when you are already on the toilet.

Have these items to hand in the bathroom so it’s easy to swap them out.

You’ll probably go through a lot of both – but that’s ok. Great hygiene will help while you recover.

Whether you choose regular maternity underwear or disposable, stock up so you never run short.

Get plenty of maternity pads too – you might need to double them up for the first few days.

In between trips to the toilet, you can use a cool pack on your nether regions to ease the pain and swelling.

These ones are reusable and fit right into your underwear for discreet relief. If you’re in a lot of pain it’s definitely worth trying.

Easing the burning pain when you pee

After having a baby it hurts to pee so much you could cry. It feels like peeing on a huge graze – that’s literally how painful it is.

Common advice is to pee in the bath or shower.

That might sound yucky – and like something you’d scold a toddler for doing – but as a new mama you have permission to pee any way you can stand it.

And you can just rinse the tub or tray after anyway.

If you are in the shower or bath, your genitals will already be wet before you pee. This is great because it will dilute the pee so less of the acid touches your sore bits.

If you don’t have time to get undressed and into a bath and you just have to use the toilet, try to have as little pee touch you as possible.

One way to do this is to open your legs as wide as you can so the pee will fall without touching.  It will still hurt but hopefully less.


how to ease the pain of going to the toilet postpartum

Want a quick and only mildly painful postpartum period? These hacks and must-have essentials will help you rock postpartum recovery and care for your body's changing needs after birth. #postpartum #mumadvice #naturalchildbirth #newmums

Get a peri bottle

You can also get a peri bottle, which acts like a portable bidet allowing you to pour warm water over your private parts while you pee. This dilutes the urine and should relieve the pain.

I wish I’d heard of these before I had my babies – they are just not a thing where I live! But the shower helps so I bet this would help too.

Here are a couple of highly rated peri bottle options.

The pain should get a lot better within a few days and you MUST get checked by your doctor if it doesn’t because you might have an infection.

Kegel, kegel, kegel

It’s also worth starting your pelvic floor exercises right away to start to get back some muscle tone as soon as possible.

Even if you are having more trouble getting the pee OUT than keeping it IN, pelvic floor exercises will benefit you long term so start right away.

What if you can’t pee?

If you are generally very sore, it may be hard to pee at all even though you can feel that you need to.

In that case, try the old trick of running the tap. The sound of flowing water should spur your bladder into action.

If nothing is happening, you might be too tense so try to relax – easier said than done when you KNOW what’s coming is going to hurt.

Close your eyes and breathe out and as you do that, imagine that you are breathing out with your whole body – genitals and all.

As silly as it sounds, if you can imagine your lady parts breathing out, you will be able to stop tensing the muscles and that should help the pee come.


If you think the pain will be over when the baby pops out, postpartum has some nasty surprises in store. Tips to help you rock your recovery and get your body and private parts back to normal asap. #postpartum #childbirth

Tips for your postpartum recovery - especially 'down there' - because every woman who's given birth knows that area needs care in the aftermath. Suggestions for what you body needs to recover and essentials that make all the difference. #postpartum #naturalchildbirth
The first few days after childbirth, going to the toilet is agony. It burns and nothing is how it should be. Learn how to ease the pain and get back to normal. #mumadvice #baby #newparentadvice #mom #childbirtheducation #births
After you give birth, you will find it very painful to go to the toilet. It burns when you pee and that's just the start. Here's how to begin to make it all better. #mom #newmoms #newparent #newparentadvice #births #childbirtheducation #pregnancytips #pregnancyhealth #pregnancyinformation

But what if you can’t poop either?

Doing a #2 after having a baby is not fun either.

Your bottom is swollen and tender, which means that the exit is smaller than usual. At the same time, your pelvic floor has taken a battering so the muscles that push the poop out won’t be as efficient as they normally are.

None of this is good news for your chances of staying regular.

Postpartum haemorrhoids

It’s also common to have piles or haemorroids after giving birth. If your back passage feels swollen and lumpy, you’ve probably got piles. They should go away within a few days – seek medical advice if they don’t.

How to poop more easily postpartum

There are a few things you can try to make it a little easier to poop while your are recovering postpartum.

  • eat plenty of fibre rich foods to keep everything movin’ along
  • stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids (remember that breastfeeding uses fluid too so you’ll need even MORE if you’re nursing)
  • movement helps to get your bowels moving so try not to stay in one place for TOO long – easier said than done with a nursing newborn
  • if you’re struggling, speak to your midwife or doctor to see if you need medication to soften the stool.
  • and try to relax – tensing up just makes any pain worse but you’ve just given birth so you know that

Top tip for relaxing to ease discomfort – image you’re breathing out through the area you’re trying to relax. I know – it sounds silly but try it for yourself. It really does help.

How long do tears and episiotomies take to heal?

If you had an episiotomy or a tear, that will probably mean that it takes you longer to heal. Unfortunately, this also means it will hurt for longer.

Your episiotomy stitches should heal within a month but the pain doesn’t usually last longer than 2 to 3 weeks. (Source)

However, after a tear or episiotomy, your perineum could take six weeks to heal and six months before it feels fully normal. (Source)

Use your cold pack and peri bottle to ease the symptoms and talk to your doctor about pain relief medications that are appropriate for you.

If you think that you are not healing as you should – or if you begin to feel ill or develop swelling in the area, you must seek medical advice.

How long does it hurt to pee after giving birth?

The first few days will be the worst. The very first pee after giving birth will probably be something you block out of your memory forever.

If you had no tearing or episiotomy, the pain should die down over the first week or so.

By the second week, you will be pooping more normally too. 

If you tore badly or if your episiotomy wound becomes infected, the pain will last longer but you should seek medical help to resolve it.

By two weeks, you should be feeling a lot better; less swollen, less sore – and your bleeding will be close to stopping too.

If it hurts to pee 2 weeks postpartum, you should be calling your provider in case something is wrong.

And if it hurts A LOT at any point, you need medical advice to set your mind at ease. 

What next?

If you’re still pregnant, let’s take a look at labor pain strategies next >>

easy ways to make peeing less painful postpartum