Does Everybody Poop During Delivery?

Every so often I’m asked a question where I say, “Hmm, that’s a good question for a nurse,”  and pooping on the delivery table is one of them.

Seeing as I don’t attend many births (I was barely there for the two I did) I can’t say how common it is. All I can say is it was something I was VERY concerned about before I went into labor, then it was something that I couldn’t care less about during it – personally, I think the phrase “I don’t give a shit,” was coined by a woman giving birth.

But in the interest of knowledge, I asked Hilary from Pulling Curls about it because she’s an actual nurse (rather than a foul-mouthed Canadian sitting at home eating All Dressed potato chips) and may have a little insight on this gem.


Here’s the poop:

Hello Pregnant Chickens, I’m Hilary, from Pulling Curls  – your friendly neighborhood Labor and Delivery nurse here to answer your probing {haha} questions on pregnancy.  Believe me, no question is too stupid, no answer will be too graphic.  For instance, here’s the question du jour:


“Will I poop during delivery?  I will be moritified.  How can I stop it?”

— Ashley (asking for a friend of course)


Well, Ashley, that’s a pretty normal question.  I get it at almost every prenatal class I teach. Here are five things to consider:


It is less likely to happen if you go into labor on your own.  You will often clean yourself out during early labor at home.  If you come in for an induction, you miss out on that part.


Doctors used to order enemas.  You don’t want that.  Also, it didn’t really help and just made labor even LESS fun.  We will NOT do them anymore.  I’ve had patients ask and the doctors just laugh.


It is humanly impossible to clench the poop-exit area, while not clenching the baby-exit-area.  Hence, you’ll be pushing against closed muscles.  Average pushing time on your first baby is 2 hours.  You don’t need anything preventing delivery.


It’s what we do.  We clean-up poop, and vomit, and urine, and blood.  The nurse will stick a cloth there and clean you up regularly.  It is NOT a big deal for us.  Also, we are happy to see it, because it means you ARE pushing in the right area.  That is a happy thing!


If you do (and frankly, the majority do) no one will ever talk about it.  If they do, you need to question your relationship with them.  Gosh darn it, that baby pushes RIGHT on that area, it’s humanly impossible to prevent it.  In the immortal words of our friend Elsa.  Let it go. 🙂

So, those are my thoughts on pooping.  Got any other questions?

Unlike me, Hilary is a nurse who has worked in various medical fields for the past 14 years, however, none of the information on this blog should be substituted for the care of a physician. You’re smart. You get it. Call your doctor if something seems weird.


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  • I was induced for 2 days before I went into active labor. I did not request an epidural. So, the last few hours of my labor were mostly me grunting and crying with very few words in between. When it was time to push, I still was very quiet and focused solely on when my contractions were coming so I could push with them. I hadn’t spoken in probably an hour when I turned to my husband and said “I’m pretty sure I just pooped.” Then, I turned to the nurse and apologized to her and everyone in the room. They all laughed because I had been so quiet and focused. For those of you being induced, be sure to pack a stool softener and antacid with you. The nursing staff wouldn’t give them to me because my doctor hadn’t ordered them. If I would have had the stool softener, I probably would have gone sooner (I hadn’t gone since the morning I checked in for induction!)

  • All the things I thought would be mortifying before kids I’m just jaded by now. I felt like I had to poop while laboring at home, but when I tried to go my contractions suddenly got intense and relentless. It was then we decided to go to the hospital because they were coming 2-3 mins apart. It wasn’t until 8 hours or so later that I reached the pushing stage, which I would describe as “trying to shit out a watermelon for hours”. It took 3 hrs of active pushing to give birth, during that time my husband could hardly hide the fact that he was watching me defecate, taking our relationship to a whole new, disgusting level. I apparently made many little turds in those 3 hours, adjacent to my sweet little newborn’s head. It was a huge freating relief when he was born. I couldn’t stop saying how my baby’s head felt like the poop of a lifetime.

  • I didn’t poop with my third or fourth, but with them being born at home, I was birthing in a position that was comfortable for me and not necessarily the midwife. The positions I birthed in kept the weight of the baby towards my bladder and not my colon so I just didn’t poop.

  • I definitely pooped and while my awesome nurse tried to act like I didn’t, I felt it wasn’t possible not to acknowledge it when so much of her coaching was around breathing deeply. Deep breaths + pooping = grody combination (and also sort of hilarious).

  • I was induced with both of mine and didn’t poop with either. Which, honestly, I’m kind of relieved about. However, both of my babies were relatively small (5 lbs 15 oz and 7 lbs 10 oz).

  • I pushed for 4 hours and 19 minutes (as my amazing L&D nurse told me with giant eyes afterwards) and didn’t poop – but they also forgot to let me pee afterwards and I ended up needing catheter after catheter bc my bladder just couldn’t recover (6 catheters in 6 days… after the meds have worn off and you’re already ripped to pieces down there…. it was unpleasant). So make sure to pee!!!

  • I actually had an enema with all three of my births, My first I had pre-e, and the doctor ordered one done before the induction. I did it myself at home. I did with my second as well, induction. No reason for that save hyperemesis gravidarum the whole 9 months. If I could save myself a week of vomiting, I would! With my third, I got pre-e again, but the day I was to be induced I went into labor. Cleaned out on my own, and I got an enema for good measure!

    Did not poop with any of them. =D I am very bothered by the thought. I once acquired a hospital born infection that traveled to my colon after a D&C. Started pooping blood. It hurt so much, but when they asked for a stool sample, I was mortified. Imagine my relief when I went to give it, and there was nothing but blood in the hat. Thank you, Jesus, they won’t see my poop. I know it’s messed up, preferring to poop blood than poop so no one sees it. I accept that about me.

  • Am I the only person who was given an enema when she got to the hospital? Believe me, I was VERY happy about this!

    • No, thought when I had to be induced for my first, my old fashioned doctor told me to get one when I arrived. I told him I would do that MYSELF at home. lol

  • I pooped and the nurse and my mom tried to pretend like I didn’t but my husbands face gave it away. I’m actually glad I did because it gets it out and that way you don’t have to go right after and we all know how bad that hurts.

    • That’s actually an excellent point! I’d much rather poop pre-birth than post-birth. Also, tell your husband I’d like to play poker with him – sounds like he has a bit of a tell 🙂

  • Hilarious! When I was pushing out my son, I remember one midwife calling to the other one: "We’ve got poop!!!" At that point, I didn’t even care that my husband was in the room.

  • Haha I had a water birth and I was vaguely aware that I thought i was pooping but I never saw any of it… apparently I can’t push a baby out and keep my eyes open at the same time (or it’s like sneezing with your eyes open, you have to concentrate WAY too hard and ain’t nobody got time for that). I do briefly recall hearing the midwife say, "the size of poops you’re pushing out a baby will be a piece of cake!" I was NOT amused.

  • I’m due in a few days and my boyfriend promised months ago that everyone will be told I pooped, whether I do or not. But knowing me and my pooping prowess, I totally will poop. And I’m fine with it.

  • I spent so much time on the toilet when I was in early labor, some of it pooping, some of it just because I wanted to be in there.

    Fun fact: if you labor and/or deliver in water, the midwife will have a poop scoop to keep the water clean.

  • Had no idea I had pooped twice during labor until an ENTIRE MONTH LATER my husband casually brings it up during conversation. Apparently, the nurse was just that good that I never even knew it was happening, although my husband loved reliving it for me, in very clear detail. He’s such a joy.

  • Pushed for 3 hours and didn’t poop BUT the amount of "water" that kept coming out was crazy. Even the nurses said they have never seen that much. So good to hear with your lady parts exposed! So much fun!!

  • Ha. I did. I dropped a big load while squatting on the floor like a cave woman. My midwife said it would get her out faster. It did; it just pushed the poop out right quick too.

    My husband didn’t say a word.

  • I went into labor on my own, shat my brains out at home, and continued to poop all over the delivery room. And contrary to the belief that I would die of embarrassment at emptying my bowels in front of strangers, I truly did not care a single iota.

  • I asked 3 different people if I pooped! I couldn’t believe I didn’t! But like Miss Hilary said, when I was laboring at home I’m pretty sure I cleaned myself out 😉

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