One of the biggest fears almost every woman has when she is pregnant is the dreaded idea of pooping while pushing. This is why it is important to understand the facts around this as well as a few tips to help.

Will I Poop When I Push?
The vast majority of women will have a bowel movement when they are pushing. There are some who do not poop and many women who do not realize that they poop. Many women do not notice this because of the epidural or because the nurse cleans it up right away so it is not an issue with the delivery.

The best thing to keep in mind is that this is a natural response. Having a bowel movement while pushing is actually a good indication that you are pushing correctly, and can make the delivery quicker. We use some of the same muscles to push during a bowel movement as we do during childbirth. Some women even experience diarrhea in early labor as the uterus is starting contractions.

A Few Tips
Before you get yourself all worked up about the thought of pooping during labor, remember that it is something the hospital staff sees happen multiple times a day. Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Only have people in the delivery room that you can feel comfortable to see you at your most vulnerable.
  • Do not take anti-diarrheal medications, enemas or other measures to keep yourself from having bowel movements while you are in labor; this could create unseen complications.
  • Trying to poop when you are in active labor is never a good thing to do. The pressure you feel is not from a bowel movement but from the baby's head. Straining to poop at this point in your labor when your cervix is not fully dilated can cause it to swell or even tear. Early labor is an acceptable time for this though.
  • Talk with your doctor to find out what you should eat once you have gone into labor. If they tell you to eat, do not put it off because you are scared to poop.