Knowing how you poop best can actually clue you in on how to have a quicker and more relaxed birth experience.
Let’s compare pooping and birthing. One is daily business. The other is like running a marathon and the prize is a miracle that will change your life forever. You may not have never considered this, but childbirth and pooping have one big thing in common: you’ve got to be relaxed to push something out of you (no matter how big it is).
How can you stay relaxed when a person is making its way out of your vagina? Actually, it’s possible, it’s just that most women don’t have very much experience with what works best for them because we only do this once or at most a few times in life. We do have experience for optimal pooping conditions, though. Let’s observe and learn from this daily experience.
Answer these three questions, and keep them in mind as you envision your ideal birth.
Are you able to poop with someone watching you?
Who will be with you at your birth? Your husband, your midwife, your doula, your doctor? Most people prefer to do their daily business alone (unless you are four years old), but just imagine for a second if one of those people were in the bathroom with you. Could you proceed as normal? Keep this information about yourself in mind during your labor. If things seem to be slowing down, you may need more privacy. Make sure that you feel completely comfortable with the chosen people around you. Don’t be afraid to express your need to be alone with specific people. Sometimes I wonder if the reason my daughter’s birth was really long is because I could sense negativity from certain midwives.
Where are you most comfortable?
There are certain places where I just can’t do it. Portable stalls at the fair, certain people’s houses, in the woods. I have tried, but it just doesn’t come. Your body knows if your mind is unsure of your surroundings. In order to be able to relax and push, you need to feel comfortable. Keep comfort and familiarity in mind when choosing your birth location. Get a tour of the hospital or birthing center. Will you feel comfortable in this place? If you are in a hospital room, what can you do to make the room seem more like home? A certain scent, music, or dim lights? Ask if you can wear your own pajamas. The more relaxed you are, the easier and less painful pushing will be.
Can you do your business in a hurry?
Sometimes we need time, and we need to know that no one cares about our pacing. Beware of watching the clock very much during your labor and birth. It really doesn’t matter.
“It’s been 10 hours already and I’m only at 5 centimeters. That’s about 2 hours per centimeter…”
This kind of thinking could prove to be counterproductive. There’s no way to calculate the baby’s time of arrival. If you don’t believe me just ask Joi, who went from 0 to four centimeters in 40 hours, and four centimeters to a baby on her chest in 40 minutes!
What if someone knocks on your bathroom door when you are halfway finished with your morning poop and says,
“We are giving you a winning lottery ticket in exactly one minute and if you are not done pooping we will give it to someone else!”
Would you win the lottery? That’s kind of what happens in the delivery room sometimes, and the baby is the prize. Not only are nurses and doctors on a schedule, but well-meaning staff and family just want to meet the precious baby and see you happy, so they encourage you to “hurry up.” But with birth, as with pooping, there is no real timeframe. There’s a lot of normal. We just need to do our thing and not be bothered.
Are you thinking, “Oh no, I only do my business alone, in my home, with no worries about time. How will I ever push a baby out with people watching me in a hospital, possibly telling me I need to hurry?”
I’ve got good news for you.
The good news is your uterus. It’s a powerful organ.
Your uterus is one giant difference between childbirth and pooping. As it contracts, it pushes your baby towards the birth canal. Your uterus is on your side, bringing your baby to you. Even if you have observers in your room, your chances of having a vaginal birth are still really good, you just might be able to knock some time off of your labor if you can recreate your relaxed atmosphere.
So, if you are so inclined, bring out the candles, throw away the clocks, and kindly let that nurse that you’ve never seen before know that she can go visit someone else.
You’ve got a baby to push out.
How did you stay relaxed during your labor and delivery? Was there anything about your surroundings that made you anxious?