Wow, as a nurse, this is a real eye opener. I always address the poop issue at childbirth classes (poop is okay; when we see poop we are like "Yeah, mom is pushing well, baby is moving down!"). I am really surprised that it is such an issue for so many women, and that many would prefer an enema.
Enemas can stimulate contractions by irritating the intestines, which in turn irritates the uterus. I guess I have my own prejudices; I think the use of enemas during birth originated from OBs wanting that dirty area to be clean, and so I think of them as a degrading thing that was forced upon moms in labor.
I have attended over a hundred births now at our birth center, and never once has the thought even occured to me that an enema would be a good thing. Once or twice I can think of a mom who had a fairly large BM pushed out in front of the baby's head. Most moms don't pass any stool, or pass very little. We have warm compresses on the perineum anyhow at that point, so we just wipe anything off as it comes. There usually isn't even a smell, because it is covered by the cloth.
Does anyone worry about urinating while pushing? Because that happens with as least as much frequency as pooping while pushing. I hardly even mention that in my classes, just as an afterthought. Is that also something that people worry about?
Wow, this is really interesting. I guess this is just another reason why laboring and pushing on the toilet is possibly the very best place in the world! Moms make such awesome progress on the toilet, and I guess also they don't have any negative conotations with the whole fecal thing.