How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Pooping During Childbirth


Truth: If you’re pregnant, and if you squeeze that thing out through your vagina, you’re probably going to poop while doing so. I know what you’re thinking: Does this mean I might lose even more weight in the hospital? The answer is yes, every little bit helps. No one can take that away from you. Now let’s all put our heads together here and think this damn thing through.

One: You’re pooping the baby out anyway, right? It’s like the same muscles. And, giving birth basically feels like you’re taking the biggest dump of your life and you don’t even care who knows. Yes, childbirth is a Miracle Tender Moment Incorporated full of the most tender feelings a human can pretty much ever experience, and yet, you. are. pooping. out. your. baby. Stand in your truth! Feel the now! Taste the rainbow!

Two: You don’t even know it’s happening. Honestly, I think this may be the best part, but I understand that to some women this is actually the very worst part. I suppose that’s because they were hoping maybe they could stop it from happening.

Three: You cannot stop it from happening really. A nurse friend was all, yeah, you’re probably gonna. ESPECIALLY when the baby’s head comes out. That’s just too much of a big thing being pooped out at all at once and so you’re also going to mix some poop in there. (Last sentence is mine and not that of a medical professional.)

Four: But your husband or family or partner or whoever is standing around looking right there and probably with a camera and is totally going to see it. Up until now, they probably were not looking at your butt in this way this whole time? Maybe even never? Even if you started dating in HIGH SCHOOL? Sigh.

The theatrics and agony of labor are about many things both literal and symbolic, but let us all agree right here and now that they are about transitions and releases. Therefore, the poop must come out. And it must be ushered in joyously, as gently as Nature’s Pillow, as the Big Finish to nine months of gassy purgatory. And as we all know by now: That which cannot handle the poop surely cannot handle the scoop!

And the scoop is this: I’m afraid there are no easy answers here. But really, going forward, now that you’ll have this baby, I think that’s a good theme for everyone involved to get used to – the no easy answers thing. And the poop. So, go ahead: Release the Kraken!

Five: At least knowing this helps you figure out who you really want in the ol’ delivery room, eh? Let’s take that list, cut in half, and then burn whatever’s left. Hey – some people have honest-to-God orgasms when they give birth. Is that what you want your mother-in-law to see? I think you’re beginning to see that pooping is clearly the more family-friendly option here.

Six: Listen. It’s not every day that you, as an adult woman, get to poop in front of multiple people, not even care, have it cleaned up for you, and with no pressure to get anyone off while doing so. No offense to scatophiliacs, but this thing is looking more like a day at the spa every minute.

Seven: OK, so my nurse friend also says that if you MAYBE if had diarrhea at the beginning of labor, which is pretty common, like even before you ever got to the hospital, that you might have been cleaned out already in that regard. So maybe you won’t poop? Also, enemas were routinely given in the past to avoid the embarrassment caused by the “leaking from the back passage,” she told me, but that’s less common now, although not apparently out of practice and not even always effective. And super uncomfortable! So maybe you can reduce your chances? But remember the baby head still? So yeah. You probably still will. Also, she did say, and I’m sorry, that some women have been known to drop like, full-sized loads. I’m sorry?

Eight: The labor and delivery nurses have SEEN IT ALL BEFORE. They will not be remotely fazed by this. I asked my OTHER nurse friend, so you could fart, bark and take a big dump while you were in labor and it’d be no bigs? “That’s routine,” she said. Then I was like, would anything shock these people? And she was like, maybe explosive diarrhea? And even then, no.

Nine: When you get to the part of giving birth where it’s time to actually push (i.e., Poop Time) you’re going to LOVE the whole little setup they have ready for you. It’s like this whole little kit at the end of the table that’s like basically there to wipe away your poop super quickly. It’s like a slip-n-slide with a basket at the end.

Ten: I relay to you a story for your consideration. A cautionary tale passed down from prego to prego: Once, a prego found out as she neared her due date that she was probably going to poop on the delivery table. She fretted and worried so much that she went to her husband.

“I really don’t want to poop on the table,” she confessed to him. She was so upset that she made him promise to tell her if she did. For weeks leading up to the delivery she talked about it and worried about it. And when the day finally came, she was so nervous about it that it was in the back of her mind during the entire labor. Eventually, she had her baby, who was healthy and precious.

“Well?” she asked her husband.

“You were great,” he said. “You were perfect. No poop!”

Finally a day passed in the hospital and it was time to check out with a postpartum nurse before going home.

“Did you have a bowel movement yet?” she asked the patient. “No, not yet,” she replied. “But should I be worried? It’s been more than 24 hours.”

“Oh honey,” the nurse replied. “You went so much on the delivery table that you won’t need to go for three days.”

Tracy Moore is a writer living in Los Angeles. She did poop during childbirth, but it was the super-cute kind and everybody applauded.

Image by Steve Dressler.

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