Nursing Birth

One Labor & Delivery Nurse’s View From the Inside

Top 10 DOs & DON’Ts of Pooping During Labor & Birth March 15, 2009

On February 8th, 2009 I wrote a post entitled Top Ten Things Women Say/Do During Labor (And trust me… they are totally normal!).  This piece has been the most popular post on my blog yet, which is pretty exciting!  When I originally thought of the piece, I figured that most women would stumble upon it by searching for something like “Things to do in labor” or “Things women say in labor”.  However, upon reviewing the top searches of February/March for this blog, I was surprised to find that they didn’t include those phrases at all!  Instead they all had one simple thing in common: POOP.  That is right… poop! 

 

Here are the top 7 searches for NursingBirth in the last two months:  (Note: The wording is not altered at all…these phrases were actually typed into a search box and searched for!):

 

#1 Pooping in labor

#2 Will I poop while I push?

#3 How many women poop during delivery?

#4 Labor and delivery nurse poop

#5 L&D nurses and bowel movement during delivery

#6 Woman in labor thinks she has to poop

#7 What will happen if I poop during delivery?

 

Since I am a labor & delivery nurse, I am naturally inclined to jump on any opportunity to talk about bodily functions (especially during awkward times like dinner or outings with the in-laws J) and consequently, I have been inspired to write a post about, what seems to be, the number one thing on every pregnant woman’s mind…POOP!

 

So here they are:  The Top 10 DOs & DON’Ts of Pooping During Labor & Birth

 

#1 DON’T forget that life does go on after an embarrassing moment.  How many of you have accidentally passed gas during sex?  You’re all “hot and heavy” with you man (or woman) and you’re both getting into it and then…whoops!  If he/she happened to make a big deal out of it, hopefully you kicked him/her to the curb!  Let’s face it, the people that are closest to us often see us in embarrassing situations at one point or another in our lives: bowing down to the porcelain god after a night of partying, passing gas during lovemaking, runny nosed and hacking up a lung during a bout with the flu, squatting to pee in the woods during an outdoor sporting event etc. etc. etc.  And if those things happened in the company of someone who really loves you, they probably still loved you just as much, or even more, afterwards.  Cuz hey, you’re human!  (By the way, I have personally experienced all of those things so if you are laughing and thinking the same thing…you are not alone!  And for the record, the guy that I passed gas on during sex ended up marrying me this summer so it couldn’t have scared him that much!)

 

#2 DO understand that the vast majority of women poop during the birth of their babies and that this phenomenon is NORMAL.  If you think about it, when your birth attendant tells you to “bear down and push” they are really telling you to “push like you have to poop!”  It is the exact same motion.  And if you do poop, your nurse, midwife, or doctor is usually reassured that you are pushing correctly!!  In fact, the WORST thing you can do is not push right because you are afraid to poop!  I have seen it happen before and it is such a shame because these women just end up pushing for way longer than they should have all because they let their fear of embarrassment overcome them.  As a labor & delivery nurse, I do not keep records of exactly how many women poop during birth (can you imagine pooping statistics!  haha! J) but you can rest assured that it is the VAST MAJORITY of women.  If someone you know tells you they didn’t poop during childbirth they either are: #1) part of the very small minority of women who actually don’t, or #2) just didn’t realize they did.  And to be honest, #2 is way more likely!

 

#3 DON’T invite anyone to be present at your birth that you are not totally and completely comfortable with them seeing you in your most vulnerable and trying moments.  Let’s be honest, even in the closest of relationships not many women are comfortable going to the bathroom and pooping in front of their significant other or family members but it is important to understand that the circumstances of childbirth are way different than just your daily morning bowel movement.  My mother doesn’t prefer to be there when my grandmother is bathing, dressing, and going to the bathroom but when my grandmother broke her arm this past winter and needed surgery, that is exactly what my mother did because she needed her.  And I would do the same thing for my mother as I know she would (and has) done for me!  Passing a bowel movement or gas during labor & birth are normal bodily functions that happen during normal labor (as is burping, throwing up, grunting, groaning, crying, etc).  Labor and birth are NOT spectator sports and you are NOT a “hostess” and therefore if you are going to be too preoccupied with the thought of how embarrassing it will be to poop in front of your mother or sister or best friend, then perhaps you should think more carefully about who you invite to your birth.  Just because a family member loves you and “really wants to be there” at your birth, it doesn’t automatically make them a fitting labor companion.  Remember, excessive worry and fear during labor releases hormones that can physically slow or stop your progress!

 

#4 DO go to the bathroom and empty your bowels (only if you feel the urge) in early labor.  Feeling like you have to “poop” during active labor or transition is almost always the baby putting pressure on your rectum.  Even if you end up passing some stool during the pushing stage, the rectal pressure you were feeling right before was NOT poop, it was the BABY and therefore you would have STILL felt intense rectal pressure even if you had emptied your bowels earlier!  However, if you are in early labor and you feel like you have to poop and you can easily pass stool without straining, then go ahead.  In early labor, it won’t hurt the baby or your cervix.  That being said…

 

#5 DON’T try to go into the bathroom during active labor or transition and “try” to have a bowel movement right before the pushing stage just because you are afraid of pooping during birth.  If you are in active labor/transition and you feel rectal pressure, please know that it is the BABY pressing on your rectum that is giving you that sensation.  Therefore straining to have a bowel movement during this time could at best, worsen your hemorrhoids and at worst, injure your cervix by causing it to swell or tear.  There is an appropriate time to start pushing, and many women tell me it is the best part (because they can actually do something about all that pressure!) but it is only time to push when your birth attendant gives you the okay. 

 

#6 DO make a pact with your labor companions (husband, partner, mother, sister, etc.) to NOT tell you that you are or did poop during your baby’s birth if you happen to be really self conscious about it.  The vast majority of the time the mother doesn’t even know that they did poop because the nurse, midwife, or doctor quickly wiped it away.  Trust me, as a nurse, you see it all the time and if vomit, pee, spit, poop, or blood bothered us, we wouldn’t be nurses, midwives, or doctors!

 

#7 DON’T ask for an enema/accept an enema before or during labor.  Please!  Given enemas to women in labor is an outdated and unnecessary practice.  Birthingnaturally.com writes:

“A substantial portion of women in labor will have bowel movements, whether or not enemas are given,” especially during both early labor and pushing (Mahan and McKay 1983:247). Available evidence indicates that enemas do not in fact decrease the chances of elimination during birth nor the incidence of fecal contamination during labor, whereas they do often cause considerable pain and distress to the laboring mother (Romney and Gordon 1981; Whitley and Mack 1980). Moreover, the expulsion of feces during labor does not seem to increase infection rates: in a study of 274 birthing women randomly assigned to enema or no enema groups, no difference in infection rates was found (Romney 1981), and the risk of neonatal infection was very remote (seven babies from each group showed signs of infection which may or may not have had to do with bowel organisms). Another finding of this study was that the two groups had similar durations of labor, contradicting the notion that enemas shorten labor.”

Also as a side note, please don’t take Immodium AD before labor to “prevent” pooping!  It will at best, not work and at worst, make you constipated.

 

#8 DO remember that your body will probably “cleanse” itself out during “pre-labor”.  After all, mild diarrhea or loose stools can be a sign of “pre” or “early” labor.  And even if you do experience “pre labor diarrhea” you might still poop during delivery and that is okay!

 

#9 DON’T limit your food intake during labor if you are hungry because you are afraid that you will poop (or throw up for that matter).  A runner does not prepare for a marathon by starving themselves and you shouldn’t prepare for birth by starving yourself either.  Both you and your baby need energy to have the endurance for a successful vaginal birth.  If you aren’t hungry, well then that is different, and you should still be encouraged to drink at least 4 oz of water, juice, or Gatorade every hour.  If you are preparing for a normal vaginal delivery, even if you are being induced, you should not have to follow a “clears only” or “nothing by mouth” diet.  Good prenatal nutrition recommends women eat 6 small meals per day with frequent healthy snacks so why should we starve women during labor?  The answer is: we shouldn’t!!

 

If after reading all of the above you are still worried about pooping during delivery, then:

 

#10 DO realize that “WORRY is the WORK of pregnancy!”  In her book Birthing From Within, certified nurse midwife Pam England tells the story about a patient of hers (Hannah) that worried a lot about having a natural birth experience after having had a highly medicalized birth with her first baby.  She writes that Hannah longed to hear her say things like “Don’t worry” and “Everything will be alright” but instead England encouraged her to face her fears.  She instructed Hannah to write down all of her worries and explore each of them with questions like “What, if anything, can you do to prepare for what you are worrying about?” and “If there is nothing you can do to prevent it, how would you like to handle the situation?” 

 

England lists the “Ten Common Worries” of Pregnancy as:

1)      Not being able to stand the pain

2)      Not being able to relax

3)      Feeling rushed, or fear of taking too long

4)      My pelvis not big enough

5)      My cervix won’t open

6)      Lack of privacy

7)      Being judged for making noise

8.)      Being separated from the baby

9)      Having to fight for my wishes to be respected

10)  Having intervention and not knowing if it is necessary or what else to do

 

I would like to add #11:

            11) Fear of pooping in labor/Fear of embarrassment regarding bodily functions

 

In summary, if you are a pregnant mom reading this post, please know you are not alone in your worries!  Please use these next few months, weeks, or days, preparing not only physically, but mentally and emotionally for the amazing journey you are about to embark upon.  Please understand that getting ready for labor doesn’t just mean a tour of the hospital or learning about birth technology/interventions, but also means acknowledging and talking about your worries and fears with people you trust, especially your birth attendant!  No mother can give birth if she feels unsafe, senses danger, or has never explored her fears, even if they seem “trivial.”  Please know that although the thought of it might be “mortifyingly embarrassing,” when you actually are working hard to push out your baby, anyone that really cares about you and loves you will not be bothered by a little poop and most likely, you will not even notice it!  Please know that although birth might be one of the messiest experiences of your life, no amount of fluids, cursing, farting, vomiting, striping naked, howling, crying, peeing, bleeding, or pooping will take away from how honestly empowering, mind blowing, and touching this experience can be for you and your family J.

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85 Responses to “Top 10 DOs & DON’Ts of Pooping During Labor & Birth”

  1. [...]             As the baby descends further into the pelvis with each contraction, the pressure on the rectum becomes incredibly intense.  So intense, in fact, that it feels exactly like the need to have a bowel movement.  I can’t tell you how many times I explain to a patient who is in early labor that if she feel rectal pressure “like she has to poop” that she has to call me first and NOT just get up to the bathroom.  But time and time again when my patients begin to feel this pressure what doe they do?  They almost always get up and try to poop!  Many a woman I have found on the toilet straining to pass a BM and when questioned, try their best to convince me, “No, you don’t understand, I swear I have to poop!”  Okay, okay, if you had just eaten a meal and it was during early labor, I would agree.  But you are 8 centimeters now so TRUST ME!  It is the baby! (SEE: Top 10 DOs & DON’Ts of Pooping During Labor & Birth) [...]

  2. guinever Says:

    It’s great to see an LDR nurse who supports natural birth (I read your “about” page.)

    This “pooping” article is hilarious!!!

  3. Molly Says:

    I pooped… so I hear.. but I had no knowledge of it. At that time I wouldnt have cared if ANYTHING happened! Its way too intense to worry about poop!

    I am thinking about a waterbirth for my next labor. How do you prevent/ deal with “poop soup” while in the tub?? Just curious.

  4. nursingbirth Says:

    I have heard that depending on your position, one of your labor companions can either wipe it away or use a fish tank net to scoop it out. Check out this blog post from another site: http://childbirthnews.blogspot.com/2009/01/fear-of-pooping-during-childbirth-will.html

    It’s pretty graphic but it shows how wiping poop during water birth can be no big deal!

  5. nursingbirth Says:

    Thanks guinever!! Spread the word about the blog to all your friends, both gestating and not! :) The more people that can read about how normal natural birth is, the more people will stop calling me ” just a weirdo young hippy.” Haha! I mean, I don’t even wear tie dye :)

  6. I TOTALLY crapped during my labor. I didn’t care. The only thing that was slightly off-putting was the smell. That was a little embarrassing.

    However, the thing that ticked me off is that I kept telling everyone I was going to poop. I could FEEL it. They all kept saying “no, no, it’s just the baby…” and I insisted “No, it is NOT the baby, I am going to poop!” They still said “no, no, we promise you’re not.” Then Plop! Whif! Blech!

    Me: “See, I freaking TOLD YOU I was going to poop.”

    I think I was really happy that I proved them wrong.

    • preggy Says:

      bahahahaha this really cracked me up! I’m now pregnant and can imagine this happening to me, with an “I told you so!!”

  7. nursingbirth Says:

    Great story TheFeministBreeder!

  8. PamelaE2001 Says:

    TheFeministBreeder… I just cracked up laughing at your little story! Im pregnant with my first and Ive been worried about the whole ‘poop’ thing. Im keeping my fingers crossed that Im one of the VERY few that dont… but Im starting to think ‘who cares’!
    My other half stinks up the bathroom on a daily basis… Ill just consider this (if it happens) ‘payback’ :)

  9. Joy Says:

    I agree that women should be allowed to eat lightly while in labor, especially early labor! I threw up 5 times because I hadn’t eaten ALL day (and because of being in labor). I was so sick and weak after giving birth that I didn’t want to hold my baby. They *finally* gave me anti-nausea medication… but I didn’t get food for 4 1/2 hours after giving birth and was so shaky and ill-feeling by the time I got it.

    • nursingbirth Says:

      Joy, Right on!! I can’t imagine running a marathon without the proper nourishment and labor shouldn’t be any other way!

  10. Renee Says:

    I made my husband promise not to tell me if I pooped! He has never mentioned it. I figure I probably did, but as long as I don’t hear about it, it’s ok. As far as enemas, my Mom had one when she had me. She told me about how awful it was to have cramping from it and contractions at the same time.

  11. Allison Says:

    I must be the odd one out, I don’t thing I pooped (it was a waterbirth so might have been more obvious. What I did feel was the intense and overwhelming need to pee and the inability to do so. This is literally all I was thinking about going into the pushing stage (and talking for the last few contractions of transition. As I felt myself start pushing, I swear I thought to myself ” Allison, that is not an appropriate response to needing to pee!” I figured of out a moment later, but of course all I managed to say was, “pushing?” and then “pushing!” 4 or 5 contraactions later there was a baby. I couln’t pee for annother hour and my midwives were sure relieved when I did.

    • nursingbirth Says:

      Allison, great story!! I have taken care of many moms who report an overwhelming urge to pee but can’t when labor is in full swing. With a baby head pushing hard on your urethra, who could pee!?! Haha! Thanks for sharing your water birth story here! I love when moms post comments about their experiences. I think that is just as helpful to other moms reading as is any of my ramblings!! :)

  12. Jill Says:

    Awwwww. I probably sound condescending but it is SO CUTE to me that women act so shy about pooping during birth. They’ve got their most private body part on public display and they’re worried about a little poop. It makes me giggle.

    I pooped during both my births and I did an exact impression of that one LOLcat: “pooping….POOPING!” I said. The second time, I was naked on the futon on all fours and the midwife had her face about six inches from my butt. Haaaahaha. I probably should have said “sorry” afterwards. At least mine didn’t make a mess – my son blasted meconium all over her when he was born and it stained her shirt. :P Very poopy day!

  13. snigdha Says:

    Thanks for this post. I will share this with my husband too. Am still scared though :-(

  14. Autumn Says:

    I know it’s an old post but!

    I pooped during all three deliveries, but only knew for sure at that last one. The first one I sat on a birthing stool for part of the pushing phase and remember saying

    “I have to poop” of course they responded “It’s just the babies head” with the next push I tried not to poop…oww! so I decided “F-her I’ll just poop on the chux and it’ll be her and g’s problem because I did warn them!”

    Now I know a more constructive response on their part would have been to say “Go right ahead there’s a bedpan under you”

  15. Bonnie Says:

    OMG.. I am soooo afraid to poop during labor. My husband keeps joking that he will just call the baby shit stain! I know he is the type of person who will remind me on a daily basis that I took a crap during labor and I will be so embarrassed!

  16. Meg, RN Says:

    Bonnie- My husband is the same way- pain in the ass lol!
    I am a labor nurse and I have poop conversations with my patients all the time. My policy is “don’t ask don’t tell.” If she poops while pushing, she is doing it right :) and I will swish the poop away as fast as possible just in case she has a husband like mine or Bonnie’s who would have endless pleasure reminding her that she pooped ;)
    I also keep a vial of peppermint essential oil hanging around to douse a cotton ball with and leave at the head of the bed to distract from “offending” odors…

  17. valerie Says:

    i just gave birth a couple of days ago and the whole time i was pregnant i was worried about pooping during larbor. i wasnt sure if i did or didnt but after reading this i now know that i did. i remember the nurses wiping me down there after every couple of pushes. it doesnt bother me nobody made a big deal.besides some many other embrassing things happen i cant tell you how many different doctors and nurses stuck there fingers up there lol.

  18. Meg, RN Says:

    Oh, i also want to point out that the “poop” most ladies poop out during labor is not a huge log of a thing..they are usually small little rabbit sized things..lol…if that makes anyone feel ANY better!

  19. Kim Says:

    I love this! I am due with my second in less then 9 weeks. I had my son 14 months ago and do not know if I pooped while pushing. I asked my husband if I did and he said he did not know he was way to excited for our son to be born to notice poop. I do know that I did pee. I was getting up to go pee when my water broke and he entered the world 13 mins. later so I did not have any time to make it to the restroom. I asked them what to do because I had to pee so bad and they said just go while pushing.

  20. [...] the #1 thing on every pregnant woman’s mind is it is POOP.  Don’t believe me?  Check it out here.)  I want to preface the following post with a few things in the interest of full [...]

  21. Jessica Says:

    I know this is an old post but just had to comment, too funny. I was extremely constipated all through pregnancy and then, the day before I ended up in labor, I suddenly was runny and going poop every 5 minutes (or so it seemed). My body completely flushed out my rectum, I actually lost weight! So I didn’t poop at all during labor, and, when I finally did again a couple days after I was back to being constipated. I did feel like my bladder was full the whole 24 hours of labor and had (understandably) a great deal passing any urine the whole time. I finally urinated while delivering the placenta, all over the toliet, midwife, and floor as I wasn’t exactly in prime toliet position so she could catch the placenta.

  22. Just found this blog post, SO FUNNY! I don’t have any children of my own, and I am not expecting at the moment either, but pooing everywhere during labor is still a fear of mine! After reading the post and comments I’m starting to feel a little better about the whole thing…though I still hope I’ll go before I start pushing!

  23. [...] he will seriously, seriously regret it. For those of you who are also worried about it, go read this post about pooping during labor at the wonderful blog Nursing [...]

  24. chris Says:

    Great blog – as a dad let me say it was no big deal when my wife pooped giving birth to our first child. We were not aware it could happen and it caught us off guard, but what’s the big deal? She was embarrassed but the nurse told her it was a sign she was pushing effectively. For baby number 2 we knew what to expect and I even whiped and changed two chucks for her which is the least I could do when she was about to deliver our beautiful son!

  25. Sara, LAD RN Says:

    In my 5 years as a labor and delivery nurse, I have NEVER seen a woman in labor not poop. We don’t bring it up, just wipe it away…but if you feel the nurse wiping your bum it IS because you pooped.

  26. Kelly O. Says:

    I was not worried about pooping during labor, I pretty much assumed it would happen but that it would probably be one of the least embarrassing things to worry about! I am pretty sure I did, but my husband never even noticed, they cleaned it up so fast. Possibly more embarrassing was during transition when I started feeling uncomfortably warm so I ripped off my hospital gown!

  27. Luisa Says:

    I have not had a baby yet, nevertheless when I read your precious post (Top Ten Things Women Say/Do During Labor ) it seems like pretty normal that women poo in that moment, know I am in acceptance mode. :)

  28. Tiffany Says:

    haha. such a funny website. i just had my baby last month. my mom acually videotapped my labor/ giving birth. we just watcched it the other nigght when the whole family got togeather. and 5mins into it. i saw me pooping.
    i was so embassrsed. no one told mee.
    and them my mom turned off the t.v and said
    “oh snapp i thought i cut the part out”

  29. TC Says:

    Great blog. I am 21 weeks pregnant and am praying that I will be one of the few women who will not be pooping while pushing. Although I must say I do feel much better after reading all the comments. I am starting to care less!

  30. Ashlynn Says:

    Did it with baby #1 & baby #2 is due in 3 weeks. When we toured the hospital the nurse told my husband 1st thing “the rule around here is if your wife poops don’t ever tell her.” I didn’t even realize at the time I would spit made it funny rather than a worry.

  31. Rebecca Says:

    Glad I found this blog. My partner and I are trying to conceive and I’d NEVER had ANY idea women shat during labour until I saw it mentioned on ‘Scrubs’!
    The very idea seemed unbearable to me. I even called up my mum to check – not knowing many women never notice – and she denied it, huh!
    I had a few laughs reading this whole thing and if (hopefully) I get pregnant, all I can expect during labour is the unexpected. Whatever happens, happens and I’ll simply remind my man to leave the vid cam at home(!) If I crap and he freaks then I’ll just have a good reason to laugh at him, I already live with a big baby as it is!
    One less-than-pleasant thought though – risk of having your newborn hanging there (in midwife’s hands) dripping with piss & poo? : “Here he/she comes, oh, welcome to the world” then PLOP, SQUISH, PSSS, SPLASH…yep, I can’t think of a more sincere intro what life has in store for em than that!

  32. Lindsay Says:

    My question is, where does the poop go? Is there a garbage can where all the bodily fluids go that is under me or what? The floor?

  33. nobabiesyet Says:

    Well, I haven’t had a child yet, but for some reason this question popped into my head this morning!

    Thank you SO MUCH for the frank, humorous way that this very natural occurrence was described. I much prefer brutal honesty – I would rather not be surprised when the moment arrives!!! Love your blog. :-)

  34. Amy Says:

    i had my first child on may 9th 2007. I was 18 years old and i get embarressed real easy. In the middle of pushing i kept telling my mom and boyfriend thatit felt like i had to pee and then i felt some watery stuff come out and i said i just peeped didn’t i, and veryone kept telling me that its just fluids from when we broke your water…But i think it was a little of both. So then i started to feel like i had to poo…omg…here we go..lol..i was so embarressed so i wisphered to my mom i think i have to poo..she kept telling me you can’t poo cause of the babys head is pushing down on your rectum..so i believed her…i kept pushing and the more i pushed the more i thought about it….After it was all over with i got home and my boyfriend just so happened to tell me “I think you pooped when you was pushing”. I gotso mad and even more embarressed that it was my boyfriend who told me…lol…But now im getting ready for my 2nd child, she is due at anytime…. And after reading all of this i could care less about pooing…just as long as i have a healthy and beautiful little girl…..

  35. Amelia Says:

    LoL!!! I have a lovely video of me butt naked on my hands and knees pushing and saying to my CNM “I can’t wait to get her out so I can just poop!” Little did I know I’d be too scared to poop for 4 days after I delivered my DD :) Natural childbirth rocks! I can’t wait to do it again.

  36. [...] doesn’t look like I’m alone here either, according to NursingBirth, pooping during labour was one the most popular search items on the [...]

  37. Scared of child birth Says:

    I am terrified of child birth and everyone keeps justa saying it’s worth it, other people can do it, woman have been doing it for centuries.

    This doesn’t help me it just makes ms upset.

    would you recommend taking some kind of laxative or Metamucil stuff before labor or will that make the pooping worse during.

    I have an amazing husband whom I feel completely comfortable with but am still panicking all the time.

    • Julie Says:

      I am scared of childbirth as well. I don’t see being a mother as a totally necessary thing – might be nice but babies do grow and give you headaches later. Still I’ve been getting informed because sometimes I do envision my husband and I with a family of our own. But all these things freak me out. I do NOT want to be cut down there. I do not want the poop experience – not out of shame, just disgust! I’m surprised no one mentioned that as a reason to be mortified. And since I think caesareans are worse and should only be done if necessary, I guess I’ll never be a biological mom. :/ So, all of you brave ladies, I salute you! Thanks for the article (why didn’t anyone tell this to me before???)

  38. Flavia Says:

    I am a month into my pregnancy and I am mortified by this pooping business!!!!!!! reading this blog however has brought some humor to the whole thing… My mother in law makes funny outrageous jokes often mortifying my husband (she is a funny lady) and the first time i heard about birthing and and poop i thought it was another of my mother in law yokes! …she began by saying I had a tripple birth (she had twins) but your brother died…her punch line after witnessing the shock in our faces, yeah it was a piece of sh*t your size!!!. i could not believe it but i googled it, lol!!!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE IS TRUE…. i will try to laugh my way to a better birth just like my funny mother in law. Thanks for the insight!

  39. Jared Says:

    I was watching Teen Mom and the girl asked if she was going to poop during labor. I hadn’t even thought about it so I had to Google it to see how often it occurs. I found your article very humorous and informative! I will be sure to remember these tips when my girlfriend and I reach that point!

  40. Andie Says:

    That kinda helped me. :) I’m due to have my little girl in September, and this was one of those worries that are in the back of my head. In my parenting class, my teacher told us all that it was perfectly normal.. But I suppose normal human emotions takes over anyways. I’ve bookmarked this.. and will come back and read it in the next few months if I start to freak out over it. :)

  41. Devi Says:

    Very informative and made feel ease and better really good job

  42. Steph Says:

    Hi I just wanted to say how wonderful this post is I have been worried about having a baby for all the resons you had on that list including the poop thing! You have given me the the tools I need to face my fears. Wonderful post thanks again steph xxx

  43. Ashtastic Says:

    I don’t know if I pooped with my first 2 births, but I know I did with my 3rd because the doctor yelled out, “WHOA STOP PUSHING! There’s poop.” I had always been worried about it, but his reaction embarassed me pretty bad. I tried a few times during the day lol, but no luck. Not surprised I did though…it took 2 pushes (one interrupted by the doc) to deliver her.

  44. Heidi Says:

    While reading this, I noticed a lot of women stated they peed during active labor. I thought they cathed most women, especially with an epidural. I know they said they had to cath me, if I wanted an epi. Just a little confused.

  45. christina Says:

    I love how this page is BROWN! lol

  46. Stacy Says:

    I wish I had looked this up earlier…I had an episiotomy and I think it’s because I was trying so hard not to poop. >.<

  47. Angela Says:

    I gave birth to my first daughter almost 24 years ago. Nobody had mentioned to me or pre-warned me that I could possibly poop while pushing. Even when the midwife asked if I thought I might need an enema it didn’t cross my mind that I may poop accidentally. To be honest I’m ready glad that I was oblivious to this fact as I’m probably one of the most self conscious and easily embarrassed people you could ever meet. I think I’d have tried to keep the baby inside me forever if I’d thought about it happening to me. Anyway, I suddenly became aware of the nurses saying to each other that they thought I needed to poop. As soon as they said it I realised that I did and that I’d been unknowingly trying to hold it in and that it was affecting me pushing the baby out. They told me to go right there on the delivery couch. I said no. They said you have to. I still said no. they said you need to push this baby out and you can’t while you need to poop. I was horrified and said I can’t, it’s too embarrassing. They insisted and altho I was mortified and it was one of the worst things I’ve ever had to do, to actually poo on purpose in front of my husband and a group of strangers, I finally managed to somehow let go and poop and my beautiful daughter popped out about 5 minutes later. As soon as I laid eyes on her, all memories of the pain and the poop instantly vanished. I very rarely think of it unless something triggers it off like stumbling onto this blog. My husband has tried to embarrass me a couple of times over the past 23 and three quarter years but one glimpse at the look on my face has told him that he really doesn’t wanna go there and he dropped the subject like hot coals. I would like to say to any expectant woman don’t worry about it. The most important thing is giving birth to your wonderful, healthy, new born child. Good luck & congratulations xoxox

  48. Great article! Sharing in tomorrow’s sunday surf. I was so worried about this when I was pregnant with my first child, but they gave a laxative at the hospital. This time, I don’t care :) and it will be a homebirth

  49. Jazzy Says:

    After reading all these posts i do feel alot less worried about pooping but at the same time it makes me think:

    “damn by the sounds of it there is no chance i wont poop”

    haha but i guess it most likely wont be as bad as i imagine

  50. Felicity Says:

    So I have the right to refuse an enema before being induced? I’m being induced in 2 days for my 4th child and I have a new OB. She said I have to have an enema and I have never had one before delivery. Frankly, its been freaking me out for the last 2 days!

  51. Genilene Says:

    I was sooo worried about the whole pooping thing, but feel so much more at ease now. I really believe in what you said about facing your fears as I want to be as prepared as I can possibly be in order for my baby to born healthy. Thank you so much for this amazing site!!

  52. Whitney Says:

    I’m so glad this article has been written. It’s such a relief to me. I’m still embarrassed, but hearing it from a ld nurse really helps because it doesn’t make me feel nasty. Which it shouldn’t, because after all, it is natural.

  53. kaitlyn Says:

    I don’t have any children YET. I have been a nanny…so I have helped raise enough:)

    This is a question that has popped into my head time and time again. Glad to see that other women share this worry/embarrassment. And it is also wonderful to read that so many women have stories to relieve any of us who are worried about it.

    Good article to read!

  54. Sammy Says:

    I’m just 6 weeks pregnant and this has been a worry if mine since I found out but after reading this I really couldn’t care less if I poop! Ive always had problems with my bowels anyway so i cant get embarrassed! When u gotta go u gotta go!! Thinking about it my sister is going to be my midwife so payback for everything she’s ever done to me ;-)!

  55. Reblogged this on Delight in Your Life! and commented:
    Of all of the random things that cross my mind in preparing for labor.. Pooping during labor comes up quite often. True Story. This, my friends, made me smile a bit and put my mind at ease! Enjoy!

  56. Mb Says:

    I pooped during delivery and I am still embarresed about that. My baby is three months old, but I can’t still get rid of that embarrasing moment. I couldn’t face my Doc after that. I asked the nurse about this and she assured that it will show that I am doing my job in the right manner. My hubby wants one more baby and till now I was quite in agreement to that, but this fear of pooping has put a hold on to that thought. Really embarresed :(

  57. blond.e Says:

    Several years ago, I gave birth for the first time. Upon admission to the hospital, I was offered an enema and I declined the enema. I was on a liquids-only diet for the time I spent in labor at the hospital. After twelve hours of labor and no food, I still pushed a poop out during delivery. The lack of food (low blood sugar) made me feel really light-headed and I am sure caused me to physically shake after birth which was very unpleasant. Especially considering the outcome, I know I would have more energy thus a more positive labor experience if I had been allowed to eat something. A few months ago, I gave birth to my second child. During my second labor, I was allowed to eat and I did. Roughly an hour before the birth, I had a bowel movement that was on the large side of normal. During birth, I still managed to pass some fecal matter. After the second labor, I wasn’t light-headed and shaking the way I was after my first birth. Hopefully this helps!

  58. Gracie M. Says:

    During my first child’s birth I didn’t poop. I had diarrhea all morning the day he was born. It was painless but everything in my bowels just poured out of me. I had no appetite all day and ate nothing. They put a mirror in front of my bed so I could watch my son’s birth. But natural labor is so intense that if I had pooped I wouldn’t have cared. I am a naturally modest woman but I was laying in that bed completely naked, exposed and sweating and wailing and I didn’t feel any shame. Labor is an other-worldly experience.

    Now I am 9 months pregnant with my second child. And if I poop I know I’m not going to care. But yet here I am googling it! lol.

  59. freya Says:

    WIth my first child I found out a few days after the delivery that I had pooped during the pushing phase of my labor. I asked my husband, “did I poop at all?….” He said “Yeah, a little bit but the nurse cleaned it up super quick and it was no big deal.” I felt a little embarrassed when he told me that because I hadn’t realized I had pooped at all. But at the same time I was relieved to know that it was taken care of quickly and was obviously no big deal because I didn’t even know! Now, I am pregnant with my second and am due in the next couple weeks and I’ve noted that I’ve been worrying about pooping during delivery. I know it seems silly, but I worry about the nurse who has to clean it up. This was a good article because it reminds me that the labor and delivery nurses deal with this regularly and it’s not a big deal. Besides, when I am in the midst of my labor – pooping will be the farthest thing from my mind… working with my body to get the baby out really is the main focus and everything else sort of fades away.

  60. Sam Klein Says:

    This was very useful, thank you

  61. chapmau Says:

    I was so constipated before labour, and when I felt the need to go they wouldn’t let me. I begged them, but I was only 4 cm, so no go. I had to sit there for 1 hour and a half trying not to push, it was awful. Finally I was 9cm and the nurse said I could push, I was so relieved, but there was poop everywhere, I know because I pushed for a long time, and there were smears on my leg later they hadn’t gotten.

    Now I am pregnant with my second son and I bought a home enema kit so if I’m constipated when the time comes, I won’t have to endure the added pressure of a full colon! =D

    Happy Birthing everyone!

  62. Lisa Williams Says:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for every word. It made me cry it was so accurate on all the worries I am feeling right now. I am going to read this whenever they come creeping back and get my partner to read it, so he knows what I am feeling. Lisa xx

  63. [...] some advice on enema-less ways to avoid pooping in labor (not that you should bother), check out this blog post by an L&D [...]

  64. Namak Says:

    I searched for exact phrase and end up here :))) thanks for sharing your professinal experiance with us. That helps alot. I am 5 month prego and for the last 3-4 weeks the only thing i thought was poop on my baby :(
    I feel much better now :)

  65. Anne Says:

    Love the article and loved the list of worries. 28 weeks with my 3rd and 7 years apart has left me feeling like a new mom all over again. It’s like I have forgotten so many of the worries.

    My first was totally natural with a dr who was adamant about epidurals, Caths, no food and only ice chips. I refused it all but was hounded by a nurse not to drink or eat in case of a c section. Unbelievably the dr commented on everything, “I don’t care if she refused the cath, you are in control she should have been cathed. She’s peeing all over me.” “can someone wipe this poop please, im trying to deliver a baby.” “can you please stop screaming!!! That is completely unnecessary and you should be grunting!”

    I was mortified!!!! I even had nurses who came in and asked me to please be quiet during my 14 hr labor and that i was overreacting. It’s not that bad and I should have opted for the epidural.

    Needless to say it was so unpleasant I was scared with my second one, imagine my surprise and gratitude when the dr was kind, the nurses encouraged me and I felt like they were there for me, the one in labor!

    This was a great post!!!! I hope I get a L&D Nurse like this blogger.

    • Samantha Says:

      I hope you made some sort of complaint about the doctor. How you were treated and what was said to you is completely outrageous!

  66. V Says:

    I just wanted to thank you for this post — it’s still helping pregnant women 3 years later! I read it before I went into labor with my son 2 weeks ago and I’m so glad I did. I even forwarded to my husband, who was in the delivery room with me and saw everything so he would know what to expect. We took all the recommended classes about l&d but this topic was never addressed, but since we’d both read your post, we were very matter of fact about it when talking about my labor afterwards (yes, I was in the majority but wouldn’t have known since I had an epidural). I’ve since forwarded this link to a couple of pregnant friends. Thank you again!

  67. Carla Says:

    Ok I WAS worried about pooping during labor, but with consistent constipation thru this pregnancy lets just say my rectum isn’t the same (after every BM I feel extra skin sticking out)…I’m worried i’ll push out more than poop! How bad is a partial rectal prolapse and is it common during labor? Is this something my obgyn can address or do i go to a specialist?

  68. Carla Says:

    P.s. an I the only one worried about this? Or ?have you ever seen it happen?

  69. Mrs. Langston Says:

    To the woman who wrote this article, Thank You.
    future mom to be :)

  70. Lauren Says:

    Im pregnant with my first child and this worries me more than anything. Yeah I know when you’re giving birth its probably the last thing you worry about… BUT, it’s still embarrassing, I can’t even mention women poop in front of my partner because as far as be’s concerned, we don’t! I also worry about having interns present while I am in labour. It’s not something I feel comfortable with and I certinally don’t want them fiddling around trying to put and epidural in my back. I’ll freak out and it won’t be nice.


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