• The Fit Midwife

Talking Sh*t...

Taking it back to an age old topic. Pooing in labour. The question every woman asks.

'Will I poo when I am pushing? I don't want to, its too embarrassing!"

Well if I had 10dhs for every time I have heard this question I'd be retiring already. So here is the truth. Most women poo when in labour and pushing! IT IS NORMAL! Most of those who are told they didn't... most likely did. Sorry ladies but some things aren't useful to know when a head is crowning out of your vagina! Midwives sometimes tell white lies.

Why do women poo when pushing?

Think abut the pelvis and all the organs down there. Now think about your 3.5kg (give or take) trying to go through that pelvis too. As baby moves down in the pelvis the nerves connected to the bowel and all the muscles around it are compressed. Giving you that urge to poo. And if there is poo in there, it's coming out! This is a good sign, it usually means that your baby is going to be delivered soon.

So here are some things to remember about pooing in labour and why heathcare professionals really don't give a sh*t:

- Your midwife honestly doesn't care. We've seen and been covered in more bodily fluids than you can ever imagine. If anything it just tells us that we probably need to expect a baby in the very near future so its time to finish our coffee and get some gloves on.

- If it happens, we don't tell you, or your partner, or broadcast it on social media. You may smell it if you had 2 pineapples and a jalfrezi to try and get your baby moving the night before. But we clean it away and carry on.

Your partner will understand the death stare from your midwife that actually says "If you tell her about this I will use my instruments on you". It works every single time.

Though there are those stupid ones who comment regardless. If it is a concern or something you are embarrassed about then tell your partner and advise him strongly that should he wish to father more children he remains quiet on the poo front.

- You and your partner have already seen enough of each other to make a baby. Living together you will have encountered many of each others bodily functions and lived to tell the tale. Its the same thing here.

If you can, try and poo in early labour, it may help. It may not. But you will probably feel less worried about it.

- It doesn't matter what you've eaten. We don't care."Sorry, I had loads of chilli last night" is a common one I hear. Poo is poo, it is never going to be glamorous. Not unless some muppet put there is now selling glitter and perfume pills for your crap.

I personally just clear it up whilst in my mind I am watching for signs of a babies head, watching any monitors, wondering how much writing I have to do, why I didn't go for a pee when I had the chance and wondering when I will get my next coffee/Malteaser break.

- We tell you push "like you are constipated" or "like you are doing the biggest poo of your life". So if you are pushing correctly, the poo will come, and if you are pushing this well, your baby will come quicker too!!

- Yes if you poo in the pool it will float around…. Unless you have too much iron and they are like little black pebbles. Generally the Midwife uses a cooking sieve and fishes it out. I personally like to get Dad’s helping out at this point! Sharing is caring.

- DO NOT APOLOGISE for something natural that happens in the process of birthing your baby!! Ever noticed how as women we are mortified by it yet men generally find it hilarious. Classic toilet humour. I dated a guy once who was in a group chat and they all tried to out do each other with pictures of their poo. Whose was the biggest.... Typical!

- Do not opt for Castor Oil to try and induce your labour. It leads to diarrhoea and dehydration and is not good for you. When you cannot move quickly and are in pain from contractions do you really want to be crapping through the eye of a needle?? I'm guessing no.

- What about an enema? To clean you out before labour? Still no. The evidence suggests there is no benefit from this and it is absolutely archaic and unecessary practice. I would only ever advise it in women who have a very impacted bowel (painfully constipated as hell, hasn't gone in over a week, can't even touch the babies head on examination because the bowel is so full).

Bottom line (pun intended) birthing your baby is messy. But that's why you have a midwife. Who is more grossed out by touching someone's feet or looking at diabetic ulcers than any human's bodily waste.

So crack on (sorry, I can't help it) and push like you are doing a poo. That is what will get your baby out. Sh*t happens!

Nikki xx

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