What does pushing feel like? Like pooping? (and other pooping questions)

Another great series of questions from Suzie:

What does “pushing” feel like? Like pooping? Will I poop on my baby?

Is going to the bathroom extremely painful after delivery (when can I poop after delivery)?

None of the books answer my pooping questions!

When it comes down to it, as long as you can poop and pee, most people are happy (this happens to be true for babies, up to and including old folks). There are few things relative to pooping in pregnancy that can be issues.

First of all, sometimes in pregnancy you can become constipated. Eat lots of fiber, get exercise, and if need be take some miralax. It is quite safe and will help prevent getting hemorrhoids, which can be very painful and yes, after childbirth make pooping difficult. SO, take my advice and keep your bowel movements soft and regular. With regards to the delivery, it is true that some women may have a small amount of poop escape while delivering, but do not fear, you are not the first and you will not be the last. I was quite concerned about this myself and as far as I know it did not happen while delivering. Most often before labour, your bowel movements are loose and it is common to empty your bowel in early labour. I have been a labour coach and have watched some women who while pushing have expelled a small amount of poop. It is very quickly wiped away and no one really takes notice. Believe me, you are focused on pushing that baby out and all modesty is thrown out the window. I have never quite understood why some people want to film this. It has never been my most photogenic moment.

Now, when delivering, the perineum is stretched and it feels extremely tight and it does feel like it could tear and indeed, some people do tear. The key is to have a slow delivery and hot compresses on the perineum really help (it would be a long shot to say it is like pooping, unless you have had a 7-10 lb single poop! It is true though that the feeling of stretched skin is similar, just a much larger area)

As far as pooping after delivery, it will depend on several things. If you have had a large episiotomy, this may be quite painful and may affect you ability to bear down while pooping. I have to confess that I am old school in regards to childbirth. I did not have medication, nor an epidural and I had an episiotomy for the first two children and after that used hot compresses and never had another episiotomy. This subject will require a lot of writing and discussion, so I will probably not discuss it at this time. I am not really in favor of epidurals, though it appears most women have them during labor today. My husband, Robb told me during my first labour that he had never seen anyone die from pain, and I guess it stuck with me, because I always thought of that while in labor (every time I went into labor, I also said to myself that I had a very short memory and asked myself why I was doing this again!). Back to pooping . . .The same things apply to post pregnancy as pre-natal: eat lots of fiber, drink lots of water (good for your breast milk as well) and if you are constipated, do the miralax.

About Catherine

Catherine is a mum who lives in Chesapeake, Virginia; she and her husband, Robb, have ten children, and have operated a family medical practice for thirty years. This blog is a place she shares thoughts and answers questions -- especially from other moms, but from anyone! -- about pregnancy and child-rearing, marriage, sickness and health, and lots of other things.
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