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Document Type

DNP - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Robin Arends


postpartum constipation prevention, PRN laxatives


Introduction: Postpartum constipation is a common problem women face after delivery. Vaginal tears, pain medications, hormonal changes, decreased activity, dietary changes, and hemorrhoids can all increase the risk of developing constipation in the postpartum period. Evidence Summary: Constipation can cause pain, discomfort, decreased quality of life, and life-long consequences if left untreated. Nurses have a responsibility to the patient to provide quality care by taking a proactive approach to bowel management. Regular assessment of patient bowel habits and the provision of education on non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic prevention measures are recommended. Gaps: There is a lack of literature specific to constipation in the postpartum population, and the literature lacks specific guidelines for management due to the subjective nature of the problem. Recommendations for Practice: Prevention of constipation is superior to treating the problem after it has already occurred. Discussing prevention interventions with patients on admission and daily thereafter can improve quality of care and potentially reduce constipation related pain and discomfort.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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