Can Pushing Too Hard to Poop Cause Labor?

August 23, 2023
Writen by:  
Cydney Willoughby
Debunking the age-old question: Can pushing too hard while pooping cause labor? Join us as we dissect facts from fiction and highlight potential pregnancy risks.

We understand that the time leading up to your delivery can be stressful, and you might feel anxious, especially if this is your first pregnancy. One fear some moms have is if you can induce yourself when going number two! But don’t worry; we’re here to help set the record straight and separate myths from facts!

The Connection Between Pushing During Bowel Movements and Early Labor

Let’s face it; pregnancy has its fair share of myths and misconceptions that can send your head spinning. But fear not! It’s time to separate fact from fiction and put those worries to rest. So, can pushing too hard to poop cause labor?

Long story short, pushing hard while on the toilet doesn’t usually cause labor.

According to medical researchers, even though the muscles involved in both processes are physically close by, straining to go number two doesn’t directly cause labor contractions. Your cervix, that strong little muscle at the bottom of the uterus, is pretty resilient and isn’t likely to be affected by regular bathroom visits.

So, don’t stress if you feel the urge to push hard while taking care of business – it’s not a secret sign that premature labor is right around the corner.

Now, let’s tackle a common concern: pushing to poop, triggering labor and the fear of accidentally delivering your baby on the toilet. While it might seem like a valid concern, rest assured it does not happen to pregnant women frequently.

Giving birth on the toilet requires a perfect storm of factors, including super-fast labor and insufficient time to get to a proper birthing place. So, take a deep breath and let go of any anxiety you might have about using the bathroom during pregnancy.

The Mechanics of Pushing to Poop Triggering Labor

Understanding the differences between pushing hard during a bowel movement and pushing when going into labor involves unravelling the amazing anatomical and physiological processes at work in each situation. While these actions may share a similar sensation of pushing, they serve distinct purposes and do not involve the same muscles.

Going to the bathroom is all about bidding farewell to waste from our digestive system. It relies on the contraction of muscles in the rectum and anus, and guess what? You have the power to control this process voluntarily, deciding when and how intensely to push to relieve yourself.

Pushing hard during labor, on the other hand, involves a myriad of contractions ranging from the involuntary contractions of the uterus to the voluntary efforts of your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. As your cervix fully dilates and your baby starts their journey through the birth canal, the uterus takes center stage with its powerful contractions.

Understanding these differences is key for expectant mothers, as it empowers them to differentiate between the natural urge to push during a bowel movement and the specific birth canal-related techniques employed when labor starts.

Potential Risks of Pushing Too Hard During Bowel Movements

While straining too much when you’re on the toilet may not lead to preterm labor, it can lead to a range of health issues that no one wants to deal with. Let’s take a closer look at some of the complications it can cause:

1) Hemorrhoids:

These pesky swollen veins in your lower rectum and anus can be a real pain. Hemorrhoids are a common occurrence in pregnant women because, during pregnancy, the increased intra-abdominal pressure can cause the veins in the anal region to dilate, leading to their development. Factors like constipation can further contribute to their appearance. However, it’s important to note that after giving birth, hemorrhoids typically resolve on their own. To find relief, how about indulging in a soothing 10-minute warm bath each day? You can also try over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream to calm the burning and itching sensation.

2) Anal fissures:

When the lining of the anus gets a tear, it can result in pain and bleeding during and after a bowel movement. Fortunately, most anal fissures heal on their own within 4 to 6 weeks and are not indicative of early labor. While you wait for that healing magic to happen, topical pain relievers and stool softeners can help you find some comfort.

3) Rectal prolapse:

Rectal prolapse happens when the rectum falls or protrudes through the anus. It is often caused by weakened pelvic muscles, which can be a result of multiple vaginal deliveries. Age is also a factor, as it is more commonly seen in women between the ages of 60 and 70. This condition varies in severity, but all cases and common signs require medical attention. If you spot or feel something unusual down there, it’s time to reach out to a doctor.

Tips for Healthy Bowel Movements During Pregnancy

Taking care of your digestive tract health and maintaining regular and healthy pooping patterns is super important before you go into labor! Let’s explore some practical advice to help you achieve just that:

1) Embrace a Balanced Diet

Your diet plays a significant role in promoting a healthy pooping pattern. Make sure to include a variety of fiber-rich foods in your meals, like delicious fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes.

These fiber-packed superheroes help push poop to move smoothly through your digestive system while providing nourishment for your baby. Don’t forget to add lean proteins, healthy fats, and a range of nutrients to support your overall digestive health.

2) Stay Hydrated

Upping your fluid intake and staying hydrated is vital to keeping your bowel movements on track. Water intake is a magic softener for poop, making it easier to pass through your intestines. So, aim to sip at least eight glasses of water daily.

You may need even more water intake if you’re extra active or in a warm climate. Remember that herbal teas and natural fruit juices can also count toward your fluid intake!

3) Regular Physical Activity

Regular exercise not only keeps you in great shape but also supports your digestion ad helps with easier pooping. It’s like a friendly nudge for the muscles in your digestive system, helping poop move through your intestines more efficiently.

So, it is good to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like taking brisk walks, swimming, or riding a bike. Your tummy will thank you!

4) Prioritize Fiber Intake

Fiber is your best friend for maintaining a regular pooping routine. It adds that much-needed bulk to your poop to help you push easier and relieve constipation. Fill your plate with sources of soluble fiber, like oats, apples, and legumes, packed with goodness for you and your baby.

Don’t forget the fiber found in whole grains, leafy greens, and nuts. Start increasing your fiber intake gradually to give your body time to adjust without pressure, and always drink plenty of water to keep things moving smoothly.

5) Create Regular Meal Times

Creating a regular meal schedule can do wonders for your digestion. Stick to consistent mealtimes to help regulate your pooping patterns. This way, your tummy gets into a rhythm and knows when to expect digestion and elimination.

Avoid skipping meals and try to maintain a routine. Irregular eating patterns can throw your digestive system off balance, and we want to keep everything running smoothly.

6) Manage Stress Levels

Stress hormones can wreak havoc on your digestion and mess with your bowel movement pattern. Find ways to manage stress that work for you. Yoga, deep breathing exercises, meditation, or engaging in hobbies that help you relax are fantastic options.

Take time for self-care and find activities that help you reduce stress. This also is important for your baby’s health and well-being.

7) Avoid Strain:

It’s important to be mindful of certain activities that can potentially increase the risk of complications. One topic that comes up a lot if whether heavy lifting is dangerous to pregnant women.

The impact of heavy lifting during pregnancy on the risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, or small for gestational age is uncertain, as per the CDC. While it’s possible that heavy lifting may have no effect on these outcomes, current evidence suggests a minimal increase in risk for all three.

So, to keep things on the safe side, expectant moms should make sure to prioritize their health. That means avoiding excessive straining, opting for moderate exercise and a balanced diet approved by healthcare professionals, staying properly hydrated, and, most importantly, listening to your body to avoid complications. You can learn more about reducing your risk of complications here.

When to Seek Medical Advice

If you’ve been experiencing discomfort, struggling with straining to poop or going without a bowel movement for a few days, reaching out to your doctor for some guidance is a good idea.

To make the most of your conversation with the doctor, it’s a good idea to come prepared. Think about your diet and exercise routine and be ready to talk about them. Sharing this information will give your doctor a better understanding of your situation and help them provide the most appropriate advice and treatment.

You’ll also want to mention any other symptoms you’ve noticed, like seeing blood in your poop, having hard or lumpy poop, feeling like you can’t fully relieve yourself while pooping, experiencing bloating, or feeling discomfort in your tummy or digestive tract.

Don’t stress; open communication is critical to ensuring your and your baby’s well-being before you go into labor!


In conclusion, don’t worry, mama; there’s no need to panic when nature calls. Pushing during bowel movements doesn’t have the power to kickstart those contractions and make your little one arrive before their due date. So relax, take a deep breath, and focus on your well-being before your baby arrives

Please note that the information provided here is for general educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider for personalized guidance and recommendations regarding your pregnancy, labor, and any other health concerns.

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