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Labouring in the Bathroom and the Poo Taboo

You have no doubt given some thought to where you would like to birth your baby, but have you given any thought to how you might labour and what you can do to make yourself comfortable? Did you know that whilst women will adopt positions they feel most comfortable in during labour, certain positions do bring some great benefits. We discuss the pros and cons of labour positions as part of the Complete Birth Preparation Package and how to make the most of chairs, mats, birth balls and more.

What about pooing during labour, is that something that you are worried about? I'm here to explain why you should consider labouring on the toilet and why if you do poop during labour, it is actually a positive thing.

Woman in labour on the toilet with birth partner offering support.

Photo published with permission from Lauren Rose Photography granted Jan '23

One thing you might not have thought about is spending time labouring on the the loo. Sitting on the toilet (especially backwards) is often reported by mums as the position that helped with comfort and progress in active labour. Here's why ....

- Think about when you are usually in the bathroom. Most people see the toilet as a place of privacy and in order to poop you have to be relaxed enough so your pelvic floor and perineum relaxes. You need to be able to let this happen during labour too. The bathroom is often the smallest room in the house (labour room) so you are less likely to be disturbed.

- Sitting on the loo allows you to work with gravity. Your baby can exert more pressure on the cervix which can stimulate oxytocin production (the hormone you needs loads of to help labour progress) and encourage the cervix to dilate. Some people refer to the toilet as the 'dilation station.'

- Think of sitting on the loo as a supportive squat. You are keeping your pelvis open which allows your baby lots of room to rotate and navigate the birth canal. You can rest in this position too especially if you put a pillow on-top of the cistern which you can lean on.

- Your partner can still offer you physical support such as massage if you want.

Antenatal Courses and Hypnobirthing West Lothian

Some women worry about pooing during labour which can create fear or make a woman hold back from just 'letting go' during birth. Trust me when I say that the midwife who is looking after you really won't care.

Pushing is not generally the reason why you might poo during labour. As your baby comes through the pelvis, their head puts pressure on your rectum and can involuntarily push out anything that might be there.

Midwives treat pooping, peeing and all other bodily functions as natural physiological bodily occurrences - just like the birth of your baby. They won't mind a jot! It is just 'another day at the office' for them. Actually, if you do poop it is more likely to be cause for celebration because it means your baby will soon be born.

Remember to try and keep as relaxed as possible during labour so your hormones can work well. Think about your labour positions and try to just go with what your body wants. Hypnobirthing techniques can be great at helping you quiet your thinking brain and be creative with your birth environment.

Newborn baby with mum in hospital

These are just some of the topics that come up during conversation on my antenatal courses

Nothing is too crazy to ask or discuss if not in a whole group then with me privately. I want you to go into labour and birth feeling like you have totally got this and that you are bloomin' superwoman! Education and preparation can be key.




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