Giving birth is a beautiful, natural thing. But let’s be completely honest, one thing it’s definitely not is glamorous.
You’ll sweat, possibly curse, and likely leak all sorts of mystery fluids. It’s par for the courageous course. Birthing a child makes warriors of us, and there’s no shame in your puking, pushing, growling, grunting game.
Nevertheless, one common delivery-room occurrence that many soon-to-be parents fear and dread even more than — say, squeezing a human being out their body — is pooping on the bed.
Yes, it happens — a lot. So swallow your pride and accept this may happen. When you pop out a little one, you might also poop out a big one. It’s a small price to pay for that adorable nugget (um, we meant baby).
Still feeling squeamish about the whole messy affair? We’re sharing all the fecal facts to ease your nerves and make you feel at least a little less awkward.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad-ish news, but yes, many people do poop when they give birth. It happens for a variety of reasons. The important thing to remember is that it’s completely normal and natural.
Your body has to do what it has to do to get that baby out into the world, and that’s all that really matters when you’re in the throes of childbirth. Plus, just as the classic children’s book “Everyone Poops” reminds us, you’re not alone in this bodily function.
A few factors come into play during labor that might encourage a sudden bowel movement.
Once again, those pesky pregnancy hormones come to bite you in the behind with a not-so-flattering side effect.
While the release of prostaglandins helps ripen the cervix for baby’s impending birth, it can also cause your muscles to contract and relax. This may lead to pre-labor diarrhea, a mid-labor poop, or perhaps both.
Your baby is positioned low right before and during labor, and certain positions can put pressure on your colon and sacral nerve, giving you the very real and intense sensation that a bowel movement is imminent. In truth, it may even feel like your bottom is about to burst.
If your baby is in the occipital posterior position (their head is pushing against your back), or if they’re breech (their bottom or feet are pointing toward the birth canal), you may even feel this acute pressure before birth officially begins — lucky you!
Your medical team may encourage you to push as if you’re pooping. They use this physical analogy because both activities engage the exact same muscles (the abs and intercostal muscles).
Thus, it makes complete sense then that while you’re fiercely pushing, a little poop may come out, too. A stool slip is especially likely if you have some lingering poop at the end of your colon.
You can poop regardless of the type of birth you have. It can take place on a toilet, on the delivery room bed, on a birthing ball, in a tub during a water birth, and everywhere in between. It can also happen leading up to a cesarean section, also known as a C-section.
Furthermore, having an epidural will neither encourage nor impede a poop from coming. If you’re numb to sensation, though, you may not feel it happening — hey, ignorance is bliss.
In the past, doctors and midwives would give their patients enemas right before or during the early stage of labor, so that they could empty their bowels in advance of giving birth.
While this antiquated practice may have helped discourage accidental bowel movements — and perhaps spare a mom a bit of momentary embarrassment,
In fact, enema usage during labor wasn’t found to offer any medical benefits. For this reason (or, rather, lack thereof), enemas are no longer a widely accepted pre-delivery prerequisite.
The fact is that when you feel that explosive pressure from your baby’s head, you may get an overpowering urge to go to the bathroom. The urge to push is usually unmistakable! It’s nature’s smart way to guide you to start pushing your baby out.
If there’s any doubt about whether it’s time to push, your OB-GYN, midwife, or nurse can check you again to see whether you’re fully dilated. Baby’s head may be descending, causing this immediate intensity; time to get this (sh!t) show on the road!
If you’re pushing correctly — and let’s hope you are — a little pooping the bed may just happen. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but you need to accept that you don’t have any control over the issue — literally.
Going number two is often inevitable. And by the way, it’s very likely that when you’re gasping and groaning and birthing a child, you won’t really care all that much. It’s funny how priorities just fall into place in the heat of the moment.
You might feel self-conscious about potentially pooping during labor — most people do. However, keep in mind that your medical team has seen, smelled, touched, and cleaned it all.
They’re professionals not fazed in the least. They’ll subtly wipe you down and move on with the more important job of helping you deliver your baby.
If you’re worried about your partner seeing you poop, rest assured that they’ll be so engulfed in the emotional and anatomical miracle happening right before their very eyes that they, too, won’t care.
And, frankly, a whole lot is going on down there; they may not even realize or be able to distinguish blood from poop from body parts — really, though, it’s so incredible!
Yes, the stories are true — you may poop during labor. It’s a part of the amazing, primal, and yes, somewhat gross phenomenon that is childbirth.
The hormones, explosive pressure, your baby’s position, and forceful pushing may all individually or collectively contribute to a bowel movement — and maybe even more than one.
All sorts of bodily fluids abound when you’re pushing a child out of your vagina, and you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. You’ll soon see that having a bowel movement during labor is really no biggie at all.
So clear your mind (if not your bowels), and raise that chin high, new parent — this is just the beginning of your poop-filled parenting adventure. Good luck!