The toilet, the commode, the porcelain throne . . it’s an everyday necessity but it’s also an easy, amazingly effective, and yet often overlooked labor tool.
In pregnancy, as morning (i.e. anytime) sickness and constipation set in, your relationship to the toilet may be unpleasant or frustrating. In labor, the toilet can be your best friend.
As your doula, I am going to remind you frequently to drink water. Labor is called labor for a reason; it’s hard, physical work, and staying hydrated during any physical activity is important. Even if you are laboring in bed, your body is working hard to bring your baby down. Water and other liquids are essential in labor.
Staying hydrated also means that you will have to go to the bathroom often to relieve your bladder. This is helpful in labor because:
I always ask clients when going to the bathroom to stay there for a few contractions, or as long as they can. Contractions do feel more intense on the toilet, which is good for labor but more focus is needed to deal with the intensity. Sometimes labors that have "stalled" for a length of time see renewed progress when clients utilize the toilet.
I will gladly help you labor in the bathroom, making suggestions like circling your hips, holding onto me or your partner, or straddling the toilet seat backwards so you can steady yourself on the toilet tank or against the wall. Any awkwardness about having others join you in what is usually a private place often disappears as labor progresses.
If you start to feel the urge to poop while laboring on the toilet, that can be a sign that baby is engaged in the birth canal and you might be ready to push. Some care providers are comfortable with you beginning to push or birthing your baby in the bathroom, and some would prefer you move to another location or position. Because the toilet is such an effective laboring tool, you might hear your care provider or the staff repeatedly "warn" you to let them know if you feel the need to poop when going to the bathroom.
So embrace the toilet! (Even literally).
I am a certified labor doula (birth doula) and professional postpartum doula serving clients in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, and the greater Treasure Valley.
Are you interested in doula support your birth?
I've worked in the forest, in the lab, and in an office cubicle. My favorite and most passionate work has been alongside clients as they reach inside to find their innermost strength, and give birth to their babies. Each birth is an honor to witness.