You’ve heard the whispers. Someone has probably come right out and said it:
I pooped during labor.
The good news? There are ways to lessen the chances of it happening and even if it does happen, you probably won’t even know.
The following list is based on things you can do in the days leading up to labor, as well as some things you can do once labor begins.
Drink regularly – Plenty of water will help you keep your system regular and working well.
Eat plenty of whole foods – Lots of fiber is important in making sure you’re regular. Make sure you’re eating as healthy and fibrous a diet as possible and talk to your doctor or a nutritionist if you’re not sure what food is best for you during pregnancy.
Avoid food that causes indigestion – Spicy, oily and rich foods can cause digestive issues and keep you running to the toilet.
Change iron pills – Iron pills often cause constipation. However there are some types of more natural or non-synthetic iron which don’t impact your bowels to the same degree, such as Ferro Liquid Iron or SpaTone Sachets.
Eat light meals – Don’t overload your body and cause too much work for your digestive system. Eat light, regular meals.
Avoid induction – Not always possible, but induction may increase the chance of pushing poop during labor. During the lead up to a spontaneous birth, the body naturally clears itself out. However with an induction, your body isn’t given these cues so you may be more likely to have an accident.
Enema/Suppositories – **Not recommended** Once a common method to clear the bowels before labor, it’s now rarely seen in hospitals as it’s not guaranteed to work and may cause more pain or discomfort for the mother.
Use castor oil – **Not recommended** Commonly used as a method of induction before the introduction of more forceful drugs, it was also regularly used as a way to clear things out before labor. Read more about castor oil here.
Go early – If you feel the urge to go to the toilet in early labor, do it while you have the chance. Your body will be working to clean itself out anyway, so if you go early, you’ll be less likely to pass anything during the pushing stage.
Pretend it didn’t happen – Because that’s exactly what the medical staff will do. Bowel movements in labor happen to the large majority of women and your medical carers will be very used to having it happen. They’re very discreet and will take it away without drawing any attention to it at all. Often, mamas aren’t even aware they’ve pooped.