May 3, 2022


August 24, 2022

The Truth About Pooping During Labor

It's completely normal to poop during labor. Learn more about pooping during labor in this article.

Medically reviewed by

You've heard the horror stories of pooping on the delivery table. And while this sounds like a terrible time, pooping during childbirth is normal and even expected. Ahead, learn why you poop during delivery and if it's possible to not poop during labor.

Is pooping normal during labor?

There's no right or wrong answer regarding poop during labor, as everyone's experience is different—sometimes dramatically so! However, it is generally accepted that women will poop during labor if their body does what it's supposed to do. This can be caused by the baby's head putting pressure on the rectum and anus or by the intense contractions and pressure on the bladder.

Many women feel a sense of relief when they finally poop during labor, as it can be a sign that things are progressing normally. If you're poop-less through labor, there's no reason to worry. Some women feel much better after a bowel movement during labor than others, so it's something to consider if it hasn't happened before that time. Yet, you are unsure how your body will handle pushing while giving birth itself.​

The bottom line is that poop during labor is normal, and there's no need to be concerned if it doesn't happen in every case! Just go with the flow and let your body do its thing. The doulas and midwives have seen it all, so there is no need to be embarrassed.

Why do you poop during labor?

There are several reasons that a birthing person might poop during labor.

Changing hormones

As your body prepares to give birth, it produces the hormone relaxin, which relaxes your joints and ligaments (aptly named!). As the muscles of your uterus, cervix, and rectum loosen, it may cause pre-labor diarrhea or pooping during labor. 

Baby's position

As your baby shifts around leading up to labor, it puts extra pressure on your rectum, making it more likely that you might poop on the birthing table.


Pushing during labor feels like having a bowel movement since the muscles are this game. As you bear down to birth your baby, you may poop simultaneously. 

Can epidurals increase your chance of pooping?

It's believed by some that the absence of pain during birth may make your body think that you are trying to pass a bowel movement instead of pushing out a baby. With this line of thinking, some believe that an epidural might increase your chance of pooping during delivery. However, this is not backed by science. Your body knows exactly what's happening. The epidural will simply numb the sensations of birth and/or pooping, and you will not realize that you've pooped.

How to not poop during labor

Previously, it was routine practice to give birthing people an enema before labor. However, this practice doesn't necessarily offer any medical benefits and is no longer common.

Of course, you can still request your delivery nurses helps you with an enema in the early stages of labor to clear your bowels. Additionally, you can drink lots of fluids and eat lightly as your day approaches to avoid large bowel movements. 

Even with these efforts, it's still normal to poop during the birthing process. We recommend that you don't focus too much on pooping during birth but instead on the main event: birthing your beautiful, healthy baby!

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