Oh Crap (...am I going to poop during labor?)
Honestly, this one of the most common questions we get from our clients. As the third installment in our "ABC" series, we hope you enjoy this article all about crap.
The short answer is, maybe!
Having a bowel movement before or during labor is common and usually a good sign! It can mean your body is gearing up for the job ahead by clearing everything out, making as much room for the baby to descend as possible
Poop vs pressure- How do you know the difference?
In some cases, the urge or sensation to poop is just pressure from the baby in the birth canal.
If your contractions are regular but not back-to-back, and the pain is manageable, then you probably need to have a bowel movement.
This can be a great time to get up, shift positions, spend some time on the toilet. While it’s not the most comfortable place to hang out, a few contractions on the toilet can really get things going!
Laboring down on the toilet is great for:
-Resting after a period of activity, while still being in a "productive" position
-Gaining progression if other positions aren't helping
-Getting a few minutes of quiet and privacy (especially at a hospital birth)
Don't believe us? Ask your doula.
Note: If laboring with an epidural, and you suddenly feel a ton of pressure, let a nurse or labor team member know right away. Sometimes feeling the need to poop can indicate that labor has progressed and you may be ready to push!
The most common time for um, accidents to happen is during the pushing phase. There are a few reasons for this:
1. The same muscles you use to push are the same muscles used to poop!
2. Baby pushes against the bowel/colon as it descends through the birth canal.
3. You can't exactly decide to bear down and push a baby and not the other stuff. Pushing, well, pushes everything out.
While this is something that many women feel worried about, just know that it's a totally normal bodily function. While that may feel embarrassing or odd to you, it is not a big deal to your birth team. Every nurse, doctor, midwife, and doula have seen poop. It’s ok, it happens, and we aren’t going to say a word about it to you! It’s usually just scooped up and disposed of without you ever being the wiser. You got this, mama!
You can learn more about pregnancy, birth, and what to expect after that in our Childbirth Education course (https://www.richmondbirthandbaby.com/classes).