Poop in Childbirth, What You Should Know

**warning potty talk ahead

It’s true.

You may have been wishful thinking and brushed off the whole pooping in labor thing as one of those urban legends that rarely, if ever, happens.

Let me say it loud and clear. You might poop while you’re pushing, on the bed or the floor, in front of everyone. Here are 4 things that are helpful to know in advance.

I believe that many people imagine that their baby will land in a pile of poop. Anything is possible, but there would need to be some very extreme events taking place to allow that to happen. Here is why:

1. Pre-labor pooping is a good thing.

The body normally clears the path before the baby comes out. In the period of pre-labor and early labor a person often passes soft stools. This allows for more room for the baby to get down into the brith canal. Frequent, soft stool near your due date can even be a sign of early labor.

2. You will be able to poop (if needed) before you start pushing.

When someone is in the active stage of labor and having strong contractions, they can still feel if they have to poop or not. If you think you could go, why not sit on the toilet for a bit and see what happens. If you plan to get pain meds that will keep you in bed, try pooping first if you feel the urge.

3. If you do poop it will be little bits, rather than a big log.

Let’s fast forward to the point in labor when someone is actively pushing a baby down and out of the birth canal. It is common that when someone gets the feel for punishing and their efforts are moving the baby down that some little bits of poo will also come down and out. If this happens it is likely to be little bits of poo not one big log roll.

 

4. There will be someone there to wipe away any poop that comes out.

The good news is that there will be a care provider who knows that you are likely to poo during pushing and they will be ready and waiting to wipe up any poo as soon as it comes out. Normally they have a little tissue and they pick up and take it away. To a birth professional pooping in labor is seen as a good sign! It means that the muscles that will help a baby get down and out are being activated.

In you are concerned about pooping it is a reasonable. In the end it is one of the parts of childbirth that may be unwanted but is not normally harmful or even noteworthy if  handled with care.

 

Have more questions? Let me know. We are happy to help!

About Amity Kramer

Amity Kramer has been helping families cultivate unconditional love since 2008. She is a Birthing From Within Mentor, Certified Gottman Educator, and founder of Thresholds. Amity leads soulful workshops for families in transition. She also is a practicing birth and postpartum doula which gives her a unique window into the joys and struggles of family life.

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