During labour, many parents experience the sensation of needing to have a bowel movement or even actually passing a poo. The thought of it can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable, and it’s natural to wonder why it happens. In this blog post, we’ll share the reasons behind why birthing a baby can also cause a poo to happen.
Why do you poo during labour?
The sensation of needing to have a bowel movement during labour is often caused by the pressure of the baby’s head on the rectum. As the baby descends through the birth path, it can put pressure on the rectum and stimulate the bowel muscles. This can cause the parent to feel the urge to have a bowel movement or even pass stool.
While it may sound embarrassing, it’s actually a natural and common occurrence during labour. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 50% of parents may experience some degree of bowel movement during labour.
Is it harmful?
It’s not harmful to the parent or the baby. In fact, it can actually be a sign that labour is progressing well. When the bowel muscles are stimulated, it can also help to stimulate the muscles of the uterus, which can help move the baby down and out of the birth path.
What happens if I do a poo during labour?
Midwives are well aware of the possibility of bowel movements during labour, and they take steps to minimise any embarrassment or discomfort for the parent. This may include providing privacy, using a waterproof pad or sheet to catch any stool, and discreetly and quickly cleaning up afterwards. If you’re in a birth pool, they would use a little net to remove it from the water.
You probably won’t even know it’s happened! So try not to worry about it ahead of time- if you feel the need to poo, remember you are very close to finally meeting your baby!
We are here for you every step of the way with our courses and online Parent Hub and include an Ask the Midwife chat feature for all of your pregnancy-related questions: