birth, homebirth, labor and delivery

What if I Poop During Labor?

Be honest. Is that something that you are worried about? A lot of pregnancy books kind of scare you about the possibility of it happening.

I know that I was a little worried about it with my first pregnancy. I had read that hospitals use to do enemas on all birthing women to prevent them from pooping on the bed. The book also stated that hospitals no longer required it though. So when I was pretty far into labor, I told my nurse that I might need the enema. I felt like I needed to poop, but I couldn’t go. Do you know what she told me? She told me that it is normal to feel like that. That it is a good sign, because that means baby’s head is really low into your pelvis. Yay for progress!!!!!!

It didn’t keep me from worrying about it though. When I got to where I was pushing my baby out, I didn’t think that I was pushing him out. I thought I was pooping right there in front of a room full of people. (You can read more about that story here.) I was doped up on Demerol, so when his head came out, all I could think was how much relief it was to get the biggest poop of my life out. And then I pooped out his shoulders.

Go ahead and laugh at me. I laugh now when I tell that story to people. Did I actually poop? I don’t know. I have had 4 babies now and I don’t know if I pooped during any of my labors. A good care provider will try to dispose of it discreetly and try to help you and others in the room to be unaware of it.

So, why do we poop during labor? The muscles that we use to push out our bowel movements are the same muscles that we use to push out a baby. As a midwife, I actually like to see my clients poop while they are pushing. Not in a sick, gross kind of way. When I see you poop during labor, that tells me that you are pushing your baby out effectively. We don’t want to waste energy on pushes that won’t bring the baby down and out. If I see someone pushing ineffectively, I will tell them to push like they are pooping. That visual can help some moms change how they are pushing to a more effective manner.

So tell me, did you poop during labor? Do you know if you did?

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Mercy Eizenga LM, CPM

Mercy Eizenga LM, CPM is the head midwife and owner of Comforts of Home Midwifery. Mercy was first exposed to homebirth when she witnessed the birth of her little brother at the age of 7. Her interest in natural childbirth grew with the birth of her first child and then attending Bradley Natural Childbirth classes with a friend a year and a half later. Attending her first birth as a doula verified that she was called to be a midwife. Mercy attended the Association of Texas Midwives Training Program and completed an apprenticeship with what is now the Corpus Christi Birth Center. She holds Texas and Louisiana state licenses and holds her Certified Professional Midwife with the North American Registry of Midwives.

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