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Labouring on the Loo and the Poo Taboo

-Have you thought about how you will keep comfortable and calm during labour?

-Are you anxious about pooping during labour?


These two questions may seem worrisome, but let's delve into why labouring on the loo can be one of the most comfortable and effective labour positions and why passing a 'number 2' can actually be 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


During labour, you'll naturally adopt labour positions that feel comfortable for you, but here's the thing ... certain labour positions offer BIG bonus points when it comes to your comfort and can potentially speed up your labour.


YOUR LOO IS YOUR 'DILATION STATION'


That's where sitting backwards on the toilet comes in!


When you sit backwards on the loo, you are adopting a supportive squat labour position which is great especially if you have a bit of backache going on. It can also save your thigh muscles from having to maintain a squat and it doesn't rely on your birth partner having amazing biceps to hold you up.


Also in this position, you are keeping your pelvis open which allows your baby lots of room to rotate and navigate the birth canal and you can rest too, especially if you put a pillow on the cistern. Your birth partner can also easily reach your back and shoulders if you want a massage so multiple thumbs up!


The Complete Birth Prep Package includes lots of ways your birth partner can support you during birth so you can be the A1 birth team!




THE POWER OF HORMONES & GRAVITY

(the two things you need on your side during labour)


Gravity is one of your biggest friends in labour and sitting on the toilet allows you both to buddy up and work together.


When your body is more upright in labour your baby can put more pressure on your cervix to help it dilate (open up) and increase the amount of oxytocin hormone you make which can help your labour to progress. That's why some people refer to the toilet as the 'dilation station.' because it's a position that can really help with first stage labour.


Sitting on the 'throne' makes you a birthing queen! - sorry, that was kinda cheesy!


If you have never heard of oxytocin before, then sign up to my antenatal class and feel the love! (also cheesy!) Oxytocin is the principal labour hormone and also the hormone of bonding and love. Knowing how to encourage its flow is a must.


Toilet and toilet paper

One final plus point for the smallest room in the house is privacy. Nobody throws a party in the toilet, so you can be guaranteed some privacy which is just what your body needs to work well during labour. Imagine how uncomfortable it would be relaxing your pelvic floor muscles and perineum to poo or pee with an audience (shudder) - well you need to feel comfortable relaxing them during labour and birth so think about your birth environment and who is in your birth space.




BUT WHAT HAPPENS IF I POOP DURING LABOUR? #mortified!


I suspect you are reading this blog at home, on the train or maybe during a lunch break at work. Wherever you are reading it, the thought of pooping in front of someone else is just a little anxiety inducing. I get it, I mean we have already spoken about how we usually do that bodily function in private.


We have also mentioned how labour works best when your body and mind are completely relaxed (which is where hypnobirthing and relaxation techniques can help!) and if you are worried about making a noise, farting or pooing in front of your midwife, that anxiety can stop your body from completely letting go.


Trust me when I say, that the midwife caring for you truly won't be bothered.


Midwives treat pooing, 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.


Image of baby in uterus

Pooping = a celebration!


The picture above shows just how close your rectum is to your birth canal which baby has to pass. During labour, if you do poo, it usually isn't due to pushing; rather as your baby moves through the pelvis, their head puts pressure on your rectum and pushes out anything that is there. It is a sign that it won't be long before you meet your baby which is an amazing thing.


Midwives don't draw attention to it. If it happens, they just discreetly clean it up and often you and your birth partner are none the wiser.





Doesn't talking about all this make you embarrassed Joy?


The simple answer is no! I have supported 1000s of expecting parents prepare for birth since 2007 and have got used to talking about labour, birth in a very matter-of-fact and down to earth way. No question is a daft question and I make sure you receive evidence based info as your answer.


This blog post came about because many expecting mums are worried about pooing in labour the topic has come up during my antenatal classes. Nothing in The Complete Birth Prep Package is off-limits.





My goal is for you to approach labour and birth feeling empowered and confident, armed with the knowledge and preparation needed for the journey ahead.






IN PERSON ANTENATAL COURSES

LIVINGSTON EH54 & LARBERT FK5

& EDINBURGH

ONLINE HYPNOBIRTHING & BREASTFEEDING WORKSHOPS



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