I will never forget the first time I heard my husband fart. We were a new couple, and I was lying in the bed post-coitus, and he let one rip in the shower, echoing back to me.
Women, of course, are less delighted about making a show of force in the form of flatulence. We go to great lengths to disguise it…that is, until we’re pregnant.
I will never forget the first time I farted in front of my husband, either. I was pregnant with my eldest, and we were sitting side by side on our laptops. Suddenly, BWOMP! A gigantically embarrassing fart popped out of my butt before I realized it.
Not only was it deafening, but it smelled so vile that we should have called HAZMAT in. We both laughed hysterically as we tried to run away from it. Since then, try as I might; there are definitely moments when I can’t stop the fart, even to this day!
Gas and farts are normal bodily functions, though. We don’t laugh at other ones, though, quite as much. Burps, maybe a little. But breathing? No one ever laughs at breath! Merely uttering the word “fart” around my daughters, and you’ll have them gleefully cackling away.
But if it’s so normal, why are we so embarrassed?
We need to take the stigma away from farts and burps because pregnant women everywhere deserve some level of comfort. I say this because that gassiness isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, it will hang around after pregnancy, especially if you have a c-section.
If you’ve got one scheduled or you want to be fully prepared in case you might have to have one, I’d love to put your mind at ease about farts, burps, and a general feeling of being gassy after your c-section.
The Scoop on Gas Pain After C-Section
Since I’ve had 2 c-sections, many of my friends have come to me in hushed tones, hoping I can help them. Good news…I can! But let’s try not to be embarrassed by our bodies anymore, ok?
Here are the most common questions I’m asked about passing gas after a c-section.
Is it normal to be gassy after a c-section?
Yes, it is. I’ll explain why this happens in more detail, but please breathe. Being gassy after a c-section is generally not a cause for concern. It even happens to women that deliver vaginally due to pelvic floor and sphincter damage. Somewhere out there, I hear the faint laughter of my old 8th-grade boyfriend at the mention of ‘sphincter.’
You should discuss with your doctor if you have any bowel urgency or loss of control. For some women, it’s only temporary, but for others, it’s just going to get worse, and the only one who can help you with that is the doctor.
Constipation may also be a problem. 🙁
Your body has been through so much with the c-section and becoming a mama. It would help if you talked to your doctor about how to get things moving safely.
How long will I be gassy after c section?
While the way you pass gas pretty much changes forever from your first pregnancy onward, gas pain after a c-section eases up in about a week. That just means you won’t be suffering from it. You’ll still be a walking whoopie cushion, no worries.
I’ll cover some tips further below on how to get some relief, but first, I want to explain the scientific reason behind why you get so gassy after a c-section.
What causes gas after a c-section, and why is passing it so important?
As a c-section is major abdominal surgery, you should know that air gets trapped in your body as they stitch you back up during surgery. This is one of the reasons you will be surprised to find, as I was, that the medical staff will be hovering around you over the next few days to ensure that you let one rip.
Yes, they want you to fart. That first fart after your c-section means that your body is functioning correctly again.
With c-sections, your organs go to sleep from the anesthesia. Whether you ask to be put entirely under or only have them administer what is necessary for them to perform this surgery, the drugs affect your bowels too. Couple this with getting stitched up and having air trapped there, and you have gas pains after a c-section.
Those pain meds they give you are a total blessing, believe me, but they can also hinder your body from passing gas as it should. So now you see why it seems every doctor, nurse, and caregiver at the hospital is surrounding you, more or less chanting, “Fart! Fart! FART!”
In China, they didn’t chant “FART” at me though I heard a lot of “fang pi” mentioned, which is the word for “fart” in Chinese, so there you go.
Should you stop taking those pain meds?
Oh no, don’t do that; if you’re in such pain, you can’t sleep. The rest is so important right now. Your doctor will be monitoring you closely for flatulence and will have ways to help you move things along. In fact, for the time you’re hooked up to that catheter. Still, you need just to try to relax.
Passing gas after a c-section can be tricky, but once you remove that catheter, you will have more ways to make it happen. Keep reading, and I’ll get into the joys of passing trapped gas after a c-section so you can get some relief.
How to get rid of trapped gas after a c-section?
So now that you know how important it is to pass that gas after your c-section and that everyone will listen with a keen ear for that telltale fart sound, how do you make it happen?
Here are some things you can do to speed up the process and get your first real meal after your c-section.
- Walk around
Once the catheter is removed, you’ll be encouraged to walk around again. Take it easy, though! You just had major surgery, so take your time step by step to walk. Start with walking up and back in your room, with assistance from your husband, mom, friend, or a nurse to hang onto. You’ll want to do this several times daily, expanding from your room to the hallway.
I walked with my husband to see the other babies in the hospital while the nurses took mine for bathing and changing.
- Drink your water
You might not be allowed to eat, but you need water. So drink up! They say hot water can help speed things along in the digestive system, but I can’t find any official data to back that up.
And as I’ve written in other posts, my mother-in-law kept serving me boiling-hot water, which I’d allow cooling because I wanted water that was at least room temperature. To be on the safe side, try some of it hot and some at room temperature and see how you do.
- Get into position
Even though you’re sore and will be for several weeks, you should try getting into different positions. Lean over your bed, stand with a wider stance, or switch sides while lying in bed.
- Chew gum
Good news if you’re a gum-chewer or you simply want to get rid of that yucky feeling in your mouth that comes from not eating and being stuck in the hospital. Research shows chewing gum can trick your body into thinking it’s getting some food.
This process brings forth the saliva and stimulates action in your gut. Pack some gum in your hospital bag, or if you’re reading this while in the hospital after your c-section, send hubby to the corner store to get you a pack of gum fast!
Why do I fart so much after pregnancy?
While that first fart after your c-section is super-important, it won’t be your last. In fact, you’ll find you are “fartier,” as I like to call it, than you were before you started your little family. Oh, the things we sacrifice as moms!
One of those things is that we will forever be gassier.
That’s because the pudendal nerve, which can become injured during labor, can cause an inability to control your farting. You may even spray out a little poop too. Probably it’s best to wear underwear you really don’t care about until your body recovers more.
It will usually get better, but it’s time to talk to your doctor if you notice this keeps happening. While it might seem an embarrassing topic to approach, do remember that doctors are well-versed in the functions of the human body, having spent years in medical school. Farts might sound funny (quite literally!), but your doctor will be professional in this discussion and help you find a solution.
Other things you should know
And yes, you should know that the gas pains you get after your c-section could cause problems elsewhere in your body.
Your bowels get mighty sluggish after this type of surgery. It’s normal and should improve with proper nutrition and recovery time. However, in the tender time post-surgery, your gas buildup can push on your diaphragm, which triggers a nerve that will have you feeling it way up in your shoulders. You may even feel a sharp or shooting sensation on the upper right side of your body, near your shoulders.
If you feel it while in the hospital, you can inform the nurse, and you’ll likely be given some anti-gas meds to help you feel more comfortable. You’ll also be asked to walk around more.
A word of caution:
I must tell you, though; sometimes, I can still get it on my shoulders when I get gas. It can be spooky at first, especially if you Google your symptoms and wonder if you have a heart attack. Generally speaking, you’re not if the pain is on your right side. But if you have any concerns, you should discuss them with your doctor.
My fears are always quelled by the telltale farty feeling I get. Once I release it, the gas pains cease, and I feel fine again. All is right in the world when you can fart!
When I was a kid, I made up a song with one of my friends, singing, “Everybody burps and farts!” We thought we were hilarious. Silly as it is, it’s very insightful. Everyone does it, and you’ll need to expect that with all the changes your body goes through during pregnancy and afterward, it will have an impact.
It was much easier to handle my bowels and gas eruptions within a year of having my eldest. After I had my youngest, it was the same. Now years later, I feel mostly normal again. I don’t have farts that sneak out on me, nor do I HAVE TO GO NOWWWWWW when I realize I have to poop.
And while discussing the discordance of gas and gas pains might be uncomfortable, just remember, nothing is more painful than living it. Talk to your doctor about gas and how to get things moving again, and you’ll one day be ready to tell your kids all about those funny fart stories!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.