Discover the truth about pooping in labor and the reality of birth fluids, as we provide essential information on bowel movements and other bodily fluids during labor. Gain the knowledge and confidence you need to navigate this natural process.
If you’ve ever wondered if you can still urinate or poop during childbirth, the answer is yes. Not only is it possible to have a bowel movement during delivery, but it may also be beneficial.
Why? Given that the same muscles are used to force a bowel movement out of the body as are used to force a baby out, it stands to reason that pooping is an efficient form of pushing. A bowel movement can also facilitate a baby’s path through the birth canal. Win-win!
What Causes Pooping During Labor
If you experience pressure during labor similar to that of having to poop, it may be because of your baby’s position in the birth canal. Some women, for instance, who have to go to the bathroom frequently throughout labor, may be experiencing occiput posterior (OP) presentation.
When a baby is born with their backside up, often known as “sunny side up,” they are said to be in an OP presentation. In an OP presentation, the baby’s back is against the laboring mother’s, and the infant’s face is turned upward, toward the bladder. This can put extra strain on the digestive tract, increasing the likelihood that the laboring woman will go to the bathroom.
If your baby isn’t facing the right way, you may feel extra strain when pushing. The best way to push a baby out is to turn the back of your head toward your bladder and look down at your rectum with your face. Yet, you may still experience bowel movements during labor regardless of your baby’s position. You should know that going to the bathroom during labor is generally considered a favorable sign.
Poop vs. Pressure
While it’s true that some people experience the urge to defecate while giving birth, they’re also possibly just feeling the pressure of their baby’s position in the birth canal and not genuinely in need of a bowel movement.
When you feel the need to go to the bathroom during early labor, when your contractions aren’t close together or really painful, it’s probably because you actually do need to relieve yourself. In labor, bowel movements occur in sync with contractions as a means of clearing out the womb.
On the other hand, if you’re further along in your labor, or if you’ve gotten an epidural and can’t feel anything, and you suddenly feel a lot of pressure, like you need to have a bowel movement, you should call your labor nurse right once. When a pregnant woman feels the urge to poop, she may actually be experiencing labor contractions. Don’t risk getting out of bed on your own; instead, call for medical assistance. Your nurse can check your cervix before allowing you to use the restroom for peace of mind.
Can We Talk About Other Body Fluids?
Many physiological fluids, from urine to amniotic fluid, may be produced as labor progresses and the woman moves through the various phases. Many women find that they need to urinate frequently during birth, especially if they receive an IV at the hospital. Many women get intravenous fluids to stay hydrated and reduce the risk of difficulties during birth, but this method can cause you to have to use the restroom more frequently.
You can go to the bathroom as usual if you’re able to walk around while you’re in labor. (If necessary, your nurse may instruct you how to properly transport your IV pump supplies and fetal monitor to the restroom.) Your nurse may insert a catheter into your bladder to empty it if you have an epidural. You have an epidural, so this won’t hurt, but it could be uncomfortable at first.
But, your nurse will regularly empty your bladder during labor because a full bladder can prevent your baby’s head from going down properly. A bedpan will be placed under you by your nurse if you are able to empty your bladder on your own after receiving an epidural; however, you will still need to remain in bed.
During labor, it is common for the amniotic fluid to flow out and the urine. After the membranes have ruptured, fluid can continue to flow out even if labor has progressed. In fact, with the power of each contraction, you might observe the fluid oozing out on its own. If you experience a significant gush during labor, don’t be shy about telling your birthing team so they can change your bed and make sure you’re as dry as possible.
Labor is notoriously messy, but there is a silver lining: it can be excellent training for parenthood.
After that baby is here, you’ll be wearing all sorts of bodily fluids (and solids) without batting an eye. Spit-up on your shoulder, milk on your shirt, and baby urine in your lap are just part of the job.
Meaningful articles you might like: 5 Strategies For Inducing Labor At Home, What is More Painful Labor Contractions or Pushing, What to Expect Throughout the Three Labor Stages