Embarrassing Labour – What No One Tells You Might Happen

There is one thing that no one ever seems to mention might happen when you’re in labour. Certainly, I was never told about it and I never read about it in any of the many many books I read when I was expecting my eldest. The midwives never said anything and neither was it discussed during my parentcraft classes.

What is this big secret???

Sometimes, just sometimes, when you’re in labour and trying to push out your squalling bundle of joy, you might just poop yourself!!!

There I said it. It happens and I can proudly say it happened to me. Twice! When I was in labour with my second and again with my fifth!

I didn’t even realise at first with my second until I heard hubby say “Urgh is that poo?” I could have died with shame, but the midwife took it in her stride and I heard her say “It happens!” as she quickly wiped me clean.

In a strange way, when you consider that I was lying there with my legs wide apart and my privates no longer private, that I was more embarrassed about pooping myself than I was about the fact that anyone in the room could see parts of me that only my parents and husband had seen before! But I was mortified and all I could think was “Why did no one ever warn me???”

My second labour was also the most difficult one. I was 41wks pregnant and I struggling to push her out. I’d had an epidural so I didn’t really have much sensation down there and maybe that made it that much easier to lose control (however, with my fifth I also pooped and I only had gas and air during that labour!). Becky was also a very big baby who was facing the wrong way (showing the biggest part of her head rather than the smallest) and because her head had engaged quite early, she ended up wedged in my pelvis and after an hour of trying to give birth to her naturally, I ended up having an emergency c-section and even though I was fully numb thanks to the epidural I still felt them tug her out of my pelvis. I will never forget when I was pregnant with Becky, my second, I said to my midwife that I was worried that she was going to be a big baby but my midwife reassured me that Becky would be around the same weight as Ryan. Ryan weighed 8lb 13oz when he was born but Becky weighed a whopping 10lb 14oz!

My fifth labour went a lot smoother. I was induced 13 days early because I am a type 2 diabetic and she was born an hour and 30 minutes after my waters broke. Because my labour went a lot more smoothly, if a little fast which took my midwife by surprise, I was able to speak to my midwife when I realised I was again pooping in labour.

The midwife took it in her stride and said not to worry as she was used to it and a  surprising amount of women do actually poo when they’re in labour! Which when you think about it, it isn’t that surprising and it was such a relief to me to realise I wasn’t alone!

When you think about it, when you’re told to PUSH, they’re actually telling you to pretend you’re having a poo and trying to push it out. Not to mention that as the baby travels down the birth canal, it squashes your back passage and any poo that is there will be pushed out as well.

You can see in this picture how the bowel and back passage is squashed

Our bodies are amazing though and for the most part, we will empty our bowels either just before or during early labour, to make it easier to give birth.

But sometimes it happens and the best thing to remember is IT IS COMPLETELY NATURAL and something WE NEEDED FEEL EMBARRASSED TO TALK ABOUT!

Please don’t worry about it, no one will make a fuss and if you do poo, your midwife will know that it means you’re pushing correctly and will just clean it up without a fuss. The worst thing you can do is push wrongly because you’re scared in case you poo. It means you end up pushing for a lot longer than they need to, just because you aren’t pushing correctly.

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