Can Pushing Too Hard from Pooping Cause Labor?

empty toilet paper roll - can pushing too hard from constipation cause labor?

Dignity? Pfft. Silly girl.

Okay, most of us have been there. You’re stopped up, and desperate to drop a helluva deuce. 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 labor?

In short, no.


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

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

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, which are about as fun as sitting on a flaming wasp nest. But the good news is at least there’s a cream for that. And a special tush cushion. And these little pads you tuck into…

You know what? Forget you read that. It’s all good. You’re a glowing vessel of life so live in ignorance for as long as you can, my little petal. Just be sure to drink plenty of water, and maybe consider adding a little extra fiber to your diet. You know, for glowing purposes.

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

constipation pregnancy danger

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  • I know that a lot of laxatives are frowned on in pregnancy, even something as normally gentle as senna, so this is the advice I give my pregnant patients with constipation (I'm a herbalist):

    Water: Make sure you drink plenty of water – at least 8 glasses per day, as dehydration can make constipation worse.

    Diet: Fibre is your friend! There are two types of fibre – soluble and insoluble, and it’s the insoluble type that is of particular use here. Good sources are lentils, wholegrains, oats, beans, wholemeal and granary bread, pulses and fruit with edible seeds, like tomatoes and strawberries.

    Reduce caffeine: Caffeine is a diuretic – which removes water from the body, and can make constipation worse. If you’re suffering, try keeping coffee, tea, chocolate and cola to a minimum.

    Exercise: Gentle exercise can help kick-start a sluggish digestive system. A gentle walk, tai chi, yoga or just simple stretching can all be beneficial.

    Avoid Senna: Senna is a very popular herb for treating constipation, and is available widely. It’s known for it’s gentleness, but should be avoided in pregnancy. A more suitable option is dandelion tea, which can be drunk daily perfectly safely.

    Aromatherapy: Citrus oils such as sweet orange or bergamot, mixed with a carrier oil (you only need a tiny amount of essential oil – 2-3 drops per spoonful of carrier) and gently massaged into your tummy may help. Alternatively, gently massage your tummy in the bath, which can help get you moving.

    Hope that helps!

  • I battled with constipation BEFORE I got pregnant, now it's 10x worse. I do notice that exercise helps keep me more regular though. And the occasional Phillips.

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