Will I pass stool during labor?

Admit it! At least once in your pregnancy, especially as you get closer to the ‘end’ so to speak, you have asked yourself, “Will I poop during labor?”

After all, just because we are pregnant and become accustomed to strangers and doctors touching and positioning us into awkward and uncomfortable positions that completely compromise any shred of modesty we have left, doesn’t mean we are immune to worrying about other people actually seeing, or dealing with our feces. How embarrassing, right?

So what IS the scoop on poop? Will all that pushing and pressure squeeze out a little bit of poop as well as baby? Or is this just a bunch of hype that gives us yet another silly thing to worry about?

The truth is that there is a chance you will pass stool while delivering. Years ago in fact, doctors would give women in labor an enema to try and avoid the poop. But today, very few if any do so. And while you might be embarrassed about it, the reality is you probably won’t even know you did it. Today, doctors, midwifes and doulas are fully equipped to handle a little bit of poop in the delivery room. The feet up in stirrups position enables them to wipe away any fecal matter without making a fuss, and you certainly won’t find a labor and delivery room doctor or nurse who is going to make a big deal of it. Obviously, there are more important things going on during delivery than a little bit of poop.

Furthermore, if you are ‘bearing down and pushing,’ like the doctor instructs and pass some feces (or gas) along the way – it reassures the doctor that you are actually pushing properly. Which is important, especially if you have had an epidural that numbs your senses. Additionally, you need to realize that you are in perhaps one of the most vulnerable positions of your life. Most women in late pregnancy show up in labor and delivery rooms un-groomed in the nether regions for months (because who can actually reach down there and take care of that while pregnant), and 9/10ths of your naked body are hanging out for the world to see. And since thousands of women give birth every day of the year, you can bet that your doctor or birth assistant has SEEN IT ALL. A little bit of doo-doo might seem embarrassing at the time, but it really is just par for the course.

What you might want to do is make sure that the folks in the delivery room with you are prepared for what is to come. You definitely don’t want your uncle from out of town with the funny sense of humor filming your labor and then posting your pooping escapade on Facebook as a joke. And chances are your partner is so freaked out that you are pushing a head from your vagina, that any pooping is mild in comparison. But still, you might want to choose the people attending your birth accordingly and make sure that they are folks you are comfortable with. Better yet, request that every one stand at the head of your bed rather than at the foot of your bed.

So there you have it. You might poop a little during labor and delivery. Big deal! After all you have gone through to have a baby, you deserve to not have to worry about such silly things! After all, it’s all natural and normal. If anyone facilitating your birth mind – then they are CLEARLY in the wrong profession.

Written By Stef, Mom of 4 @MOM-SPIRATIONAL

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.

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Comments 30

  1. Deli

    A labour in Stirrups is a standard position in my country :/ and drs are not very comfortable to allow a different positions- sick? Oh yes … we have a terrible sleeping delivery options and many women suffer with trauma after the labour. Many of extreme interventions are routine here- just to quicker the proccess, such as jumping on woman’s belly, epiziotomy and loads of artificial oxytocin. And the way of motivation of mothers like “push!!! You want to kill your baby?” Etc etc. There is plenty of attitudes women face here as a standard approach, just because a life of a mother and a child only matters- there is no place fo intimity, love and respect.

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  4. Rachael

    Foot in stirrups? Really? What is this? 1950. Who’s actually written this?

    And it’s poo, everyone poo’s and if I do…..I don’t care who see’s it, the worry should be about how your feeling and the welfare of the child not whether or not there is feaces.

  5. Cfd

    My question is, is there anything to be done to prevent this from happening? Other than an enema? Maybe a lighter diet? Sorry if the question is stupid…

  6. Alice

    I pooped during the pushing stage with all three kids after having had an enema a few hours before. No biggie.

  7. Nasrin

    Feet up in stirrups? I usually just read and don’t comment but I hope women have just chosen to ignore that part. I’m 37 weeks, first pregnancy and even I know that should not be a chosen position. Good luck to all ladies, don’t worry about poo, you will be focusing on baby!

  8. Kate

    I don’t see the big deal really. I pooped myself with my 2nd and the midwife just wiped it away. At the time I didn’t care, she didn’t care and all we were worried about was getting the baby out safe and healthy.
    They have seen it all before! My partner has seen me pee myself wen I when heavily pregnant, he even sits and talks to me if I’m on the loo and visa versa. It’s part of nature and life. I wud expect it to happen rather than not and if it dnt, bonus.

  9. Justyna

    In my country they don’ t even ask you and you always get enema when you’re in labour at hospital. To tell you the truth this standard procedure makes me feel much calmer about the whole event 😉

  10. Claire

    Glad you commented about the stirrups Kiwimama. I wasn’t aware we still lived in the 50s! Probably one of the worst positions to be in in labour I’ve heard! No thank you 😉

  11. Maria

    Lucky for me my stomach was all messy just before I gave birth and cleaned it self. Though, we get a clyster in Denmark just before getting in labour at the hospital. But my mom told me that it happens and it totally normal during the pushing.

  12. Victoria

    It is literally just a bowel movement. Everybody sh*ts. If you don’t, you’re a magical unicorn anomaly in this world who is probably septic.

    Seriously. We are adults. Animals poop. Babies poop. Bugs poop. We poop. Grow up.

    My boyfriend knows that during birth “sh*t can happen”, literally. If you arent comfortable with your partner seeing it, maybe you two aren’t all that close after all lol

    A real man will see the beauty, not the doody.

  13. M

    I was with my bestie when she gave birth. She pooped!! I was in shock because I didn’t know that can happen. And I noticed!! I held her hand the whole time. Never let her know what I saw. I’m getting an enema but still scared to fart or pee! OMG…:/

  14. Bernadette

    I delivered my friends baby in her bedroom while waiting on the ambulance arriving and she pooped while pushing. I already had an old towel underneath her, so I just wiped it away and scooped the towel to one side. Also when in labour with my second child, I had to have my bowels manually emptied as I had suffered from terrible constipation the entire pregnancy. My sons head was unable to be born because of the impacted poo in my bowels, but I was barely even aware of them sorting things out for me as I was so focused on the pushing. Needless to say, he arrived within five minutes of having this done.

  15. Prim

    I think my body has a way of avoiding that poo during labour. And that’s simply because before I go into labour I get a funny tummy and my bowel movements become very frequent and quite loose. It’s actually one of my signals that I’m about to go into labour. It’s happened with all my pregnancies so far.

  16. Brittany

    Yes, all women poop. It’s under pressure and has to come out. I think while ur in labor and worrying about ur little one, this poop matter will be nowhere in ur thoughts. If you do poop while giving birth they won’t tell you. So try not to worry, it’s a course of nature.

  17. Agu

    Even if I did poop giving birth to my first daughter I wouldn’t know. Doctors and midwifes if proffesional will make sure the dirty pad is gone before you notice that anything happened.
    I remember my body getting itself ready few days prior to labour. Had to go toilet often. Also been sick after few breathes of gas n air. So quite sure there was nothing left in my tummy anyway. I’m 37w1d today and not worried about any of that this time. No one seemed to care about any of that or maybe I didn’t lol

  18. mommyof4

    I’ve had 4 natural births and not one poop, yet it’s still something I worry about being that #5 is due this month. I know it’s normal but I still remember when my sister did 16 years ago with her oldest. I blamed it on her epidural lol!

  19. tee tee

    OMG I’m 37 weeks and 1 day I am so nervous about pooping in front of the doctor but then again I’ll Also think it’s hysterical if I do 😂😂😂 but the most nerve racking part is i dont know where im gonna be when my water breaks and its gonna be embarrassing ,natrual but embarrassing

  20. Disneymiracle

    I ll talk to the midwife and nurs…..do everything possible my husband doesn’t know or see something IF it happens……….!

  21. Sarah N

    Well this mama didn’t poop during my first birth! And my husband was down there the whole time. So it’s not a guarantee at least.

  22. Nicola

    Yes I pooped with my first, my husband, bless him, tried not to gag, the midwife on duty was excellent, so wiped it away with no hesitation. I’m due my second in Dec and I’m in a different country so I’m hoping they’ll be just as professional.

  23. Nicola

    I’ll be relieved if I do poo during labour! After suffering with severe constipation for the duration of my pregnancy…. :-/

  24. Kiwimama

    I certainly hope you were mistaken when you said “feet up in the stirrups position.” The lithotomy position is outdated and hopefully not used any more, as it is difficult – even dangerous – for labor and is only convenient for the doctor, not the woman or baby.

  25. April

    I did with my second pregnancy and while I felt so embarrassed the nurse told me it was perfectly ok and she said it meant I was doing everything right. My husband still jokes about it. ( my daughter is 3 now) but it’s a fact of life.

  26. Lana

    Well, from personal experience with my daughter 15 years ago, I’m going to insist I get an enema with this delivery. I was severely constipated after I had my daughter and my nurse said they should’ve given me an enema prior. Been having constipation problems since then.

  27. Fifi

    I’ve delivered heaps of babies and all of the women pooped. None of them would have known because us doctors and the midwives are very discreet and quick with wiping it away before anyone notices. 🙂

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