Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood
While no one enjoys wiping poop off another human, your poop is the least of your care providers’ worries. They just want you and baby to be healthy. And they’ve likely seen so much poop during deliveries they won’t have much of a feeling about you doing it. They’ll just silently jump into “poop protocol” and swipe it away before you realize what happened. Every mom I’ve seen poop during birth had no idea they’d done so — they were more concerned with other situations, like pushing a human out of their vagina.
Something else to consider is that when people talk about pooping during birth, they’re not referring to a full bowel movement. They’re talking about little bits and pieces popping out. “Rabbit turds” is what a midwife I know lovingly calls birth poops. (Yes, I got into this business for the glamour.)
What to do
Talk with your care provider about that aforementioned poop protocol. They’ll be able to assure you that pooping is nothing to be worried about, and that the people caring for you won’t be offended if that’s part of your story. They can also tell you how they typically handle this incredibly common occurrence. In addition, these steps can help you feel more confident:
Don’t do an enema. This could cause unneeded discomfort and doesn’t make much of a difference during childbirth. The beliefs that an enema could shorten labor or decrease the risk of infection have been debunked.
Stay on top of your fiber and fluid intake as you near that due date. Constipation is always uncomfortable, but it can be especially unsavory when you’re in labor. Drinking plenty of water and eating avocados, lentils, chickpeas, raspberries, and other fiber-rich foods will keep things moving, helping to ensure you don’t have a backlog when it’s baby time. (If you really want a treat, whip out those prunes.)
Visit the bathroom at least once an hour during labor. Even if you don’t feel like you need to go, spending time on the toilet gives your body the freedom to purge any urine or fecal matter you might not know you need to release. And this release enhances comfort.
Tinkle Tip: If you have trouble peeing, put a few drops of peppermint oil in the toilet bowl, place your bare feet on a cool surface, and dip your hand in a cup of cold water. (Who said those prank scenes in summer camp movies weren’t teaching us valuable life lessons?)