This daily habit is often a cause for fear in pregnancy when thinking about labour.
Generally, something we do in private, the thought of doing a poo in front of your birth team, can be stressful especially if that birth team contains a friend or family member.
Firstly, let’s explore why some women poo in labour.
The muscles used when doing a poo are the same muscles that are used during the birthing phase of labour. As baby moves through the pelvis and birth path, they put extra pressure on the colon and rectum, making it feel like you need to poo.
So do all women poo?
The short answer is no, not all women poo. But many do, and that’s ok!
Many women will experience an increased need to empty their bowels in the days leading up to labour, or during early labour. This is due to the hormones Relaxin and prostaglandins. Relaxin is helping the pelvis open and widen but causes the bowel to relax too whilst the increased amount of prostaglandins produced which soften the cervix, are also involved in bowel function.
During the opening and thinning phase of labour, you will be able to use the bathroom as normal and even labouring on the toilet can be comfortable for many women.
When the cervix nears completion and the natural expulsive reflex begins, this is when the urge to poo can be more overwhelming. Teamed with the immense focus you need to birth your baby, making it to the toilet isn’t a priority.
Many women will exclaim ‘I need to poo’ and for the trained professional, they get very excited! You may notice them busying themselves with their birth supplies as it’s a great sign that the baby is close.
Oh, the embarrassment!
Pooing in front of people could be seen as embarrassing but in labour, it certainly doesn’t have to be. For the staff supporting you, it’s a daily occurrence and nothing they haven’t seen many times.
Generally, a discreet wipe happens before anyone, sometimes even the mother, has noticed it happening.
With warm compresses on the perineum now a fairly common practice, the anus is generally covered so no one sees what’s happening anyway!
Due to the mother’s labour hormones and the birthing mindset, women will start to lose inhibitions. A normally private woman is happy to be naked, or someone normally polite becomes very short and sharp with requests. This also means that doing a poo, may not feel like a big deal in labour.
Release the fear of pooing
The main issue around being scared of pooing in labour, is the fear itself. Studies show that birth can take up to an hour longer for women that have fear of birth. So let that fear go, what will be, will be and let everything relax and open during labour. It will mean you’re more comfortable, labour is more efficient and shorter and if you poo, who cares!
By learning HypnoBirthing, these fears can become a thing of the past!
Pooing After Birth
You’ve just pushed a baby out and the thought of anything else coming out down there is daunting.
It’s important to go as soon as you have the urge because holding it in can cause constipation in the long run.
Stay hydrated, eat plenty of fibre and get onto stool softeners or laxatives soon if you are having issues. Always discuss this will your health care provider.