No one wants to talk about it, but everyone wants to know if it'll happen. Here, the scoop on pooping during labor. What terrifies a mom-to-be more than pushing a 6-to-8-pound person out of her vagina? Pooping at the very same time.
Think this is extreme? Not so much. The fear of pooping during labor comes up nine times out of ten -- at least and having a bowel movement during pushing is extremely common. So stop obsessing, mama! HappyMom.Life is sharing what you need to know about the pushing-and-pooping connection.
Why Do We Poop While in Labor?
There's a simple reason: The very same muscles that you engage when you're having a bowel movement are the same ones you use when you're pushing. Plus, when you're in labor, you have extra pressure on your colon and rectum from the weight of the baby moving through the birth canal. It's the perfect recipe for pooping during labor.
Adding to your poop probability: prostaglandins. These hormones are naturally involved in normal bowel function.
Can I Prevent This?
Not really. But you might naturally have a bowel movement before the final stage of labor, which reduces the amount of stool in the colon that would come out while pushing. Whether you're allowed to get up to use the bathroom at the pre-push stage of the game, however, depends on whether you have an epidural and on your health-care provider. Some hospitals and providers don't encourage it, but in many case, pregnant women are up and out of bed unless they have a major pregnancy problem that it is harmful to her or the baby. And If you feel like you have to poop and it's not a baby's head coming out, you can go to the bathroom and see what happens.
Do Epidurals Increase My Chance of Pooping?
Not really. But if you have an epidural you won't feel the sensation of needing to empty your bowels. If there is stool in the rectum, it is going to come out one way or another as you push the baby through the birth canal. With an epidural, you may be more relaxed and stool may pass on its own, or the stool may simply be released as you push.
What Will My Doctor Think?!
A lot of women have this fear. But they should all know that, as an obstetrician, they are very accustomed to patients moving their bowels while pushing -- and it doesn't bother them at all. It's just a fact of life and part of the whole process. What does bother doctors -- and other birthing pros -- is that the fear of pooping can inhibit pushing effectively. Resisting that urge, or trying to fight what your body is doing, can make the pushing part of birth particularly miserable, and may even increase the time of pushing.
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