feet of a pregnant woman sitting on a toilet worried about constipation
Is It Safe? Symptoms and Ailments

Can Pushing Too Hard from Pooping Cause Labor?

By Amy Morrison

​​Dignity? Pfft. Silly girl.

Okay, most of us have been there. You’re stopped up and have a desperate urge to poop. But you’re also worried if you give it a good heave-ho, you might start labor. I mean, it makes sense. You’re pushing and straining in the same area that you’ll be pushing and straining in during labor. Couldn’t you accidentally push too hard and start preterm labor?

In short, no.

Constipation during pregnancy is often a charming accessory that comes with growing humans.

Pregnancy hormones relax your muscles – including your intestines – so it’s not unusual for your digestive system to slow down. This paired with a growing uterus, iron supplements, prenatal vitamins, etc. can all contribute to constipation.

Although constipation carries with it an army of unpleasant side effects, like bloating, gas, cramping, discomfort, and homicidal tendencies (just me?), as far as potentially starting labor, you’re in the clear.

Will straining during bowel movements hurt the baby?

Here’s the hard truth – pushing and straining to poop will not cause a miscarriage that wasn’t going to happen anyway and, well, it’s important to poo.

If you find yourself doing a lot of pushing and straining, a more likely outcome is developing a raging case of hemorrhoids or anal fissures (a tear in your anus) which isn’t pleasant but isn’t dangerous for your baby.

How Can I Help My Poor Digestive Tract?

As with all things during pregnancy, upping your fluid and water intake is always suggested. Increasing fiber (vegetables, whole grains, etc.) and over-the-counter stool softeners and laxatives can also help. Just be sure to run any medication by your medical provider.

Now that your worries have been eased, get yourself situated, light a candle, put on some mood music, and go DROP! THAT! DEUCE!

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