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I was exploring the topic of pooping while pushing out a baby, preparing to write this piece and decided to ask my partner what his thoughts were. We had a short discussion on his experience when our daughter was born and then his interwebaphobia (If it was a real phobia, he would have it. Believe me!) kicked in…
Him: You’re not going to put what I said on the internet, are you?
Me: Why not? People need to know it’s normal! I want every pregnant woman to know that it’s okay to poop while pushing out a baby!
Him: I guess, but still. Do you really want to tell the whole world about the time I saw you poop?
Me: When you say it like that…

BUT HERE GOES ANYWAY.

Our only child together was baby number five for me. She is his second child but he had not seen a vaginal birth before. He says the thought crossed his mind, as I was pushing with all my might, that “poop happens!” and sure enough it did. He says it was really no big deal and that there were lots of those little blue disposable pads underneath me and the nurse or doctor just scooped the pad up and dropped it into a waiting trash can and that was the end of it. No big deal.

Now for me, this was pretty much the definition of a big deal. 

My partner, the man who is supposed to find me attractive and sexy for the rest of my life, as well as my doctor, a bunch of nurses and our doula, saw me poop! Talk about humiliation! Up until he first told me about this I had assumed that I had not ever pooped while pushing out a baby. It’s kind of like thinking your poop doesn’t stink, in a way. I probably could have developed some sort of superiority complex if I had given it much thought. No one had mentioned it, I had never felt it or smelt it and no one had ever mentioned it so I just assumed that it hadn’t happened. Honestly, I still don’t want to know and I am definitely not going to be asking anyone who attended my previous births to confirm whether or not I pooped while pushing.

If you are one of those people do not speak now. Forever hold your peace.

But here’s the thing:

It turns out that it really is no big deal. It IS normal and it may or may not happen to you. Our bodies are really well designed and loose stools are often a sign that labor is going to start soon. Your body prepares for labor by “cleaning itself out”.  If it does happen, there’s a good chance you will be completely unaware.Your team of birth professionals will whisk it away without a thought. It’s all in a day’s work for them!

If you are concerned about how your partner will handle it if you push out more than a baby you can help to prepare him by taking a childbirth class together. You can talk about the possibility of it and express your fears in advance. It may be helpful to crack jokes or make smart remarks throughout your pregnancy. You could even start building your potty training library with Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi. I know it sounds silly but sometimes as women, we need the reminder. You poop! I poop! Everyone poops, my friend! Fact of life.

The best way to prepare for the possibility of pooping while pushing is accepting that it is normal.There is no tried and true way to avoid pooping during labor and there is nothing you can do to avoid it.

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