Enemas used to be common protocol for hospital births. Recently however, enemas have thankfully become a choice, and are no...
Enemas used to be common protocol for hospital births. Recently however, enemas have thankfully become a choice, and are no longer standard procedure. While most hospitals have let go of standard enemas in labor, not all have. Keep in mind that procedures during labor are your choice. Even if your midwife, doctor, or nurse wants you to have an enema, you don't have to comply. There are pros and cons on both sides. Enema pros: May help to speed up labor - having a bowel movement usually boosts sluggish contractions. May make you feel more comfortable. If you feel constipated when labor starts, a warm water enema can help. If you feel worried that you might poop a little while you're pushing your baby out, an enema can help ease some of those worries. However, even with an enema you may still poop a little during the birth process - it's totally common and no big deal. Trust me, once you're in the pushing stage, you're tired, contractions are ultra intense, and it feels like half the world has seen you sans pants, you're seriously not going to care about a little poop - and neither will your birth attendants. Enema cons: Can make you feel very uncomfortable. Labor should be as relaxed as labor can be, and someone saying, "HEY let's give you an enema" may not be your idea of a good time. Enemas can be painful for some women. Old research doesn't stand up. Some old school prenatal providers believed that enemas decreased risk of infection. In theory, poop was the culprit. As in poop during labor and birth may harm your baby. This theory doesn't stand up today. Current research shows that risk to your baby due to fecal matter is slim. Some research notes that an enema may even increase risks of infection - although it's not conclusive. The bottom line (no pun intended): If you want an enema, have one. You can do one at home before heading to the hospital or birthing center or you can ask for one once you arrive. If you don't want an enema, don't have one. In most cases, bowel movements and even diarrhea are common during beginning labor, so an enema is a moot point. Thus far, research is on the fence. Enemas aren't deemed "good" or "bad" just a matter of preference. Now do you know your preference? Enemas (yes or no) are something to consider working into your birth plan, so give it some thought.

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