Pooping during labour is something a lot of women worry about in the build up to giving birth. And the truth is, if you give birth vaginally, there is a pretty high chance you will poop at some stage. But, we promise, it won’t be as bad as you think. Here’s the scoop…
Will I poop during labour?
The answer is yes, it’s entirely possible – and kinda likely – that you will poop at some stage during a vaginal birth. Midwives often take pooping as a positive sign that labour is progressing well and that baby will be born soon.
Why does pooping during labour happen?
There are two main reasons. The first reason is that it is a natural response of the body to empty the bowels in order to make more room for the baby to descend through the birth canal.
The second reason you may poop is that the body goes through intense contractions and pushing to help deliver the baby. The same muscles that are involved in pushing during childbirth are also used during bowel movements. As a result, the pressure and pushing during labour can sometimes stimulate the bowels and cause you to pass stool.
At what stage of labour do most women poop?
It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact stage of labour when most women pass stool because it can vary from person to person. However, it’s more common that a bowel movement will happen during the pushing stage of labour, which is typically the second stage. This stage occurs after the cervix is fully dilated and the woman begins actively pushing to help deliver the baby.
Is it a good thing if I poop during labour?
Whilst you might not necessarily feel it’s a “good” thing to poop during labour, you might hear midwives say that it’s actually a positive sign. This is because it can indicate that you’re pushing effectively and making progress in labour. In other words: baby is coming!
What will happen if I do poop?
Firstly, nobody will be surprised, shocked or horrified if you do poop during labour. That’s because it’s a totally normal and natural part of giving birth.
There is *nothing* midwives haven’t seen before when it comes to birth and your midwife will be totally prepared for this happening. They will take appropriate – and speedy – action to maintain cleanliness and ensure your comfort throughout the process. These measures may include using absorbent pads or towels to contain and clean any waste.
It might also be comforting to know that you may not even realise you’ve pooped. There are often so many other intense sensations going on in the body during labour (hello, contractions!) that it might go completely unnoticed by you that there has even been any pooping at all.
Is there anything I can do to avoid pooping during labour?
While pooping during labour is a totally normal occurrence and really not something to worry about, there are some steps you can try if you really want to minimise the chances:
- Empty your bowels before labour: Try to have a bowel movement before you go into active labour. This can help reduce the amount of stool in your rectum during labour.
- Follow a high-fibre diet: Consuming a diet rich in fibre can help promote regular bowel movements and reduce the likelihood of constipation. Include foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes in your meals.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids can help soften the stool and prevent constipation. Aim to drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day.
- Practice proper nutrition: Maintaining a balanced diet and avoiding foods that can contribute to constipation, such as processed foods, fried foods, and excessive dairy products, may be helpful.
It’s important to note that while these steps may reduce the chances of pooping during labour, they are not foolproof methods, as the process of labour can still stimulate the bowels. However, remember that passing stool during childbirth is really common and healthcare professionals are prepared to handle it with discretion and professionalism.
Birthbabe does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The resources on our website are provided for informational purposes only. You should always consult with a healthcare professional regarding any medical diagnoses or treatment options.