When I sit in prenatal meetings with clients, we always discuss any of her or her partners fears or anxieties surrounding the birth. For some its handling the pain, for others it’s the possibility of a caesarean, and for a huge percentage of the women I work with, it is: “What if I poop??”
My answer? You probably will.
You might have heard that birthing your baby uses many of the same muscles as having a bowel movement. Your midwife or doctor will likely encourage you to “push into your bum”, and it isn’t uncommon that your strong contractions and powerful urge to bring your baby earth side will also make you poop. Getting rid of extra poop during the pushing stage is also your body’s way of making more room in the exit route - our bodies are so smart! They also don’t always take our personal preferences into consideration…
Knowing it’s normal probably doesn’t change how mortified you might feel about the thought of going to the bathroom during labor.
The good news?
Many women don’t even notice that they’re having a bowel movement in labor. And if you do? Feel free to crack a joke (see what I did there?) about how embarrassed you feel, or pretend nothing is happening at all, and we will pretend with you. Often, the experience of your contractions and urge to push will overshadow your awareness of pooping in labor, and the staff that are caring for you are quick to clean it up and whisk it away without any mention (almost like they’ve done it before!)
The best thing you can do to make it easier for yourself is to forget about willing it not to happen, and embrace that it’s probably going to. Get honest and let your partner and care providers know how you feel about it, and get ready to rock a birth, push out a baby, and maybe, poop in the process.