I'm worried that I'll need to go to the bathroom during labor. What happens if I have to go?
Answer From Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D.
Most women are able to use the bathroom during labor — to urinate and to have a bowel movement. Your health care provider will probably encourage you to do so because it's possible that a full bladder might slow down your baby's descent.
However, women who get epidurals often have numbness from the abdomen down. Given the increased risk of falling, your doctor will recommend inserting a small tube (Foley catheter) into your bladder to drain urine.
Occasionally, a small amount of stool is expelled during labor while you're pushing. Keep in mind that this is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.
Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D.
Feb. 14, 2018
- Wilson BL, et al. Bladder management with epidural anesthesia during labor: A randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing. 2015;40:234.
- Butler Tobah Y (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 18, 2017.