Labor and childbirth is intense (and messy) enough without having to worry about pooping yourself. It's a fact of life that lots of pregnant people push out more than they're intending to during a vaginal delivery, but it's not typically a pressing topic of conversation during birthing class or prenatal yoga.
The truth, though: Pooping during labor happens…a lot. Just ask North Carolina-based certified nurse midwife Heather (who doesn't share her last name on social media), who isn't scared to ask the questions we all secretly want to know the answers to. One of her recent TikTok videos went viral with more than 10 million views—seen below from her Instagram account—and it's all about this specific concern of many pregnant women.
She revealed that a question asked by a lot of her patients is: "What happens if I poop in labor?"
"It's totally not a big deal," Heather said. "It happens all the time. And you really can't control it or stop it."
To provide more intel, she asked several of the nurses in her hospital what they thought. A lot of giggling followed—we never grow out of those poop jokes, right?—but the verdict was clear. Pooping during labor is NBD.
"[I] just wipe it away and keep going," said one nurse. "It probably means she's pushing right." Another declared, "Shit happens. It's true. Everybody poops," while her colleague insisted, "It's a good thing. We want to see them poop."
Christine Greves, MD, an ob-gyn at Orlando Health Hospital, previously told Health exactly why patients might poop during labor. "When we tell a woman to push, they use all of their might and their entire pelvic floor to try to get the baby out," she said. "If there's pooping involved, that's just a sign you're using the correct muscles."
Dr. Greves also backed up what Heather and the nurses say—that any professional attending your birth is totally used to some poop action, and they'll simply wipe it away before you even have time to realize what happened.
If you're pregnant and panicking about pushing out a poop as well as a baby, definitely don't consider avoiding using your pelvic floor muscles during delivery in an attempt to avoid pooping. "Please use those muscles, so I know you can get that baby out safely!" Dr. Greves said.
You've heard it from the pros, moms. Keep on pushing—whatever comes out.
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