Pregnancy and childbirth come with a lot of unpleasantries that can scare you into taking birth control until menopause. Moms who deliver via C-section often have bowel problems following surgery because their intestines slow down or stop moving, creating blockages. The condition, known as postoperative ileus, leads to abdominal pain, nausea, constipation and many other extremely uncomfortable feelings. A paper published this month says that chewing gum may provide some relief for new moms who already have plenty to worry about.

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The meta analysis of 17 studies with more than 3,000 women focused on how long women passed gas after a C-section, according to LiveScience. Study co-author Dr. Vincenzo Berghella, M.D. and OB-GYN at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, explains to the website that farting is a sign of normal bowel functions.

Most of the studies involved moms chewing gum within two hours of delivering. They were then instructed to repeat the process for 15 to 30 minutes, three times a day. Those who chewed gum passed gas more quickly, about 23 hours post-operation, compared to 29.5 hours for the control group.

Berghella believes this works because it tricks the body into thinking it’s eating, which gets the saliva going and sends signals to the gut that it’s time to get things in gear.

People can develop an ileus even if they haven’t had a C-section as the intestinal movement can be hindered by certain diseases like Crohn's, Parkinson’s and cancer, or medications. In the case of C-sections, women suffer with ileus due to inflammation from being cut open.

Postoperative ileus is just one of the many things that people don’t tell you about giving birth. Yahoo talked to new mothers and doctors to compile a list of things that many women just don’t know about C-sections. One of the more surprising is the vaginal wash-down. One mom told Yahoo, “After C-section #2, a nurse came into my room in the middle of the night and gave me what I now refer to as a vaginal car wash. I was NOT expecting that!” The site explains the car wash as a simple rinse-down followed by a light drying with a cloth to clean out any blood, which leads to….postpartum bleeding. “I guess I figured since the baby didn’t come out from there, I wouldn’t bleed (boy, was I wrong),” another mother tells Yahoo. It won’t be heavy, but expect to have some.

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While you normally think of pain associated with gas to be in the stomach, the media site says that sometimes it can travel up to your shoulders. This is caused by those tired bowels that don’t function properly. However, anti-gas medications can help and the pain should disappear within a few days.

Although the after-effects of childbirth can be daunting, parenting does have its health benefits. As we previously reported, people with kids live longer than childless couples.

See Also:

Baby Blues Diet: Nutritional Supplements May Prevent Post-Partum Depression

Women Now Waiting Until Their 30s To Have Children Despite Decline in Fertility Later In Life