One of the biggest and most common fears you may have while 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?

It is extremely common to have a bowel movement while you are pushing. You may have a bowel movement or you may not know that you have. You may not notice having a bowel movement 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. You may even experience diarrhea in early labor as the uterus is starting contractions.

A few tips to remember

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 feel comfortable with enough 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.

Read More:
Labor Contractions Timer Tool
Signs of Labor: Early Symptoms
Labor, Delivery, and Birth Guide