‘Will I poop during labour?’ Probably – but don’t worry, it’s likely to ‘excite’ your midwife!
New research has revealed the questions parents search for the most – with mums-to-be desperate to know whether they’ll poo during labour (the answer: probably!).
Parenting network Mas & Pas analysed all of the questions in its community forum to uncover pregnancy, sleep and potty training as the most pressing topics mums and dads want answers to.
Paired with Google data, Mas & Pas’ users were then asked which question they have searched for, or have searched for the most – with ‘will I poop during labour?’ coming out on top for almost 50% of UK mums.
Users were asked to pick between ‘will I poop during labour? (48%), ‘how do I teach my baby to self soothe?’ (20%) and ‘when is the best age to start potty training?’ (32%).
Hundreds of thousands of mums-to-be take to Google each month to ask birth-related questions in preparation for ‘the big day’, with other popular questions including:
What does giving birth feel like?
Is natural birth painful?
Is C section giving birth?
It seems mums-to-be are also concerned about whether they should shave in preparation, with questions such as ‘should I shave before giving birth?’ and ‘do they shave you before giving birth?’ commonly asked.
And the questions don’t seem to stop as the child gets older, with over 150,000 searches for potty training help and advice each month. These are the most common search queries:
When is the best age to start potty training?
How do I potty train my toddler in 3 days?
How do you begin potty training?
Do pull ups hinder potty training?
Is 3 too late to potty train?
Sophia Nomicos, founder of Mas & Pas and a mum-of-three, comments: “Giving birth for the first time is a complete unknown and understandably many women are anxious about how it will happen or even afraid of the experience itself. Not only are they worried about the pain but the ‘embarrassment’ too, however, I can guarantee the pain is quickly forgotten about once you have a newborn in your arms, and, when you’re in the moment, you won’t care if you’ve pooped or not!
“Once you’ve given birth there are so many new challenges ahead; it’s likely you’ll consult ‘Dr. Google’ many times a day. Questions around poo don’t stop either, it’s very common to search for whether your baby’s poo colour is normal, as I’ve done myself on quite a few occasions over the years!”
Midwife and author Marie Louise, who is the founder of The Modern Midwife, says it’s perfectly natural for women to poo during labour and is not something we should be embarrassed about: “In our society pooing is a very private thing that most of us will avoid talking about at all costs – let alone having someone else witness it. So, understandably, the thought of pooing in front of other people can be a real concern for women ahead of birth. Women perhaps want to find out if they can have control over it or if it’s something that may just happen.
“It is common to poo towards the end of labour – usually just before the baby arrives and to be honest when us midwives see a poo we get excited because we know we will soon see a baby too!
“Pushing usually gets the blame for pooing although the majority of the time it doesn’t have anything to do with pushing. The reason women poo during labour is down to anatomy, so when the baby’s head passes through Mum’s pelvis there’s not much space and the head puts pressure on the rectum. As the baby’s head descends it pushes anything out and generally that’s poo! Sometimes knowing why this happens is reassuring as women think that perhaps they will be totally out of control and poo themselves when in fact it’s a great sign that the body is very much in control and doing exactly what it should be in making space for the baby’s arrival.”
Skin and wax specialist Michaela Morris, who runs Terrace Therapies, says: “I have a lot of ladies come to me for a wax before they give birth and a lot of them are my usual clients. One of my clients actually booked in on her due date – though I didn’t know until I’d done the wax – and she went into labour later that evening. Trauma to the body or skin in any way is more likely to bring on labour – not that I recommend this as a way to induce yourself!
“I waxed at 39 weeks because I wanted to do it for me, not for them (the midwives). I mean, if I feel like a goddess in any possible way throughout the process, it’s going to help, so I completely understand why other women would want to too. If you are planned for a C section though, waxing isn’t advised.”