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Poop In Labor, What If It Happens to Me?

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Poop In Labor, What If It Happens to Me? "Poop In Labor, What If It Happens to Me?" It's the question majority of women at least wonder about it. As a mother who has given birth three times and a doula that has supported numerous women through labor and birth I can tell you that if it's going to happen, it's just going to happen.

There's not a lot that can be done to stop it. After all, shit happens! The act of pooping itself is a normal bodily function. Pooping is as normal as being born is. All living things must excrete waste, humans are no exception. With that said going poop to excrete waste from the body versus pooping in labor is different. When you go to the bathroom to poop you are purposely excreting waste from your body.  In labor, pooping is involuntary, sort of. As you are bearing down to push it's similar to having a bowel movement. Yes, a huge, solid bowel movement. As you push your sweet baby out into the world your baby's head or other presenting part compresses your colon and rectum squeezing anything left in there out.

Like a tube of toothpaste being squeezed on the edge of the counter to remove the final bit inside, whatever is in front is coming out, like it or not. If you're one of the many women who gets carried away with thoughts about pooping in labor, it's o.k. it's a normal thought. We know that pooping is normal. We know the chance is there, but why do you even care?! Modesty, bacteria close to the baby, and the fear of being judged are a few reasons, there are others.

We know it's normal, but now what? Your body, as if it's not bad ass enough already because it is growing a human, is also making hormones that help relax the muscles and ligaments in pregnancy and in labor. Some of these hormones also help naturally to clean out the "pipes" before pushing begins. So, as labor picks up, before you feel the urge to push there is a good chance you may find yourself upon the throne getting what is in the pipes, out.

Discuss this concern with your provider, your partner, and of course your doula! Your provider, along with the rest of your birth team has seen this, many times I assure you. They know that it's a normal function of the body.  You can remind your partner to be mindful of your concern so that he or she can be kind and nonchalant if at all possible.

Many providers are masters at a speedy, discrete cleanup!

Detour... I remember well, one midwife who was witty, cool, calm, and collected during a birth in 2008. Quick story... A mom who was giving birth to her third baby was concerned about her husband seeing her poop in labor. During pushing stage of labor a little poop was pushed out, as it happened she saw it and actually apologized for pooping as if she could help it. The midwife, being awesome looks over at the video camera and says, "No big deal, just wiping away some mucus!" This midwife remembered her patient asking, "What if I poop in labor," and knew the video was important to the family. When the mother announced she was sorry for pooping, the midwife thought quickly on her feet to save face for the patient!

Alright, I confess, the patient was yours truly! As silly as it sounds, even some doulas worry about their husbands seeing them poop in labor. I didn't mind the ladies seeing me poop in labor, shoot I see more women poop in labor than those who don't, it's fine. I also didn't mind my birth team seeing me poop, they understood how pushing a baby out felt, but my husband, while extremely supportive, he was clueless. I can't tell you how many women don't know or give a shit, figuratively speaking, that they've pooped in labor. When it's happening nobody cares! Like mothers who proudly don their stretch marks and cesarean scars, pooping in labor is just another way to join the Mom Club!

If all else fails and none of those things reassure you, try to think of it like this. Poop during pushing means your baby is right there, closer than ever to being born! It's his head that is pushing that poop out of you, not you pooping! So if you need to blame your beautiful babe go for it, because soon you'll meet the love of your life and you won't give a shit anymore anyways!

To all the moms who have joined the Mom Club I salute you, job well done!

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