Let's talk about something a little taboo because the only way to normalize taboo things is to talk about them. It’s something that no one really likes to talk about, but EVERYONE deals with on a regular basis. Let’s talk about poop.
Birth is messy. I mean MESSY. Sweat, blood, mucous, amniotic fluid, vomit, tears, and often, POOP. And that last one, many women are just mortified at the idea! Understandably so. Poop isn’t a pleasant substance, and pooping is something we typically do in private (until you have a toddler who insists on being in the bathroom with you)
So how can you prevent pooping during the pushing stage of labor? Well, I’ve got some news for you...You can’t. You may be able to void your bowels enough before the pushing phase that you get by without pooping, but ultimately there is no guarantee and it is completely out of your control. And here’s why:
The muscles used to push your baby out of the birth canal are the same muscles used to poop. So this means if you poop during pushing, you are using the right muscles and most likely pushing effectively! YAY!
You have an ENTIRE baby coming out of you. Their head is putting immense pressure on your rectum and, as a midwife explained it to me, it is much like squeezing a tube of toothpaste. The pressure they are putting on your rectum is going to squeeze OUT anything that was IN.
Fortunately, providers are prepared for this reality and will discreetly clean up any messes before you even realize what has happened. I’m going to be super open here. I pooped. I pooped during childbirth. And I just so happened to catch my midwife discreetly whisking away the evidence. If I hadn’t glanced at just the right spot at just the right moment, I would have never even known, because I was a little distracted by the whole having a baby situation that was going down. And when I did notice, I said “I did it, didn’t I?” grimaced at my husband, laughed about it, and carried on.
So what I’m trying to tell you is, just like pooping on the toilet, pooping during childbirth is completely normal. It is nothing to be embarrassed about! Sh*t happens. Literally. So let’s keep talking sh*t until we have normalized it!