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Lessons I learnt from my first birth: 2. 'When baby does a poo in labour'

So hopefully you’ve read my introductory ‘lessons I’ve learned from my first birth’ blog post , which sets the scene of how my first labour started with my waters breaking at 10 days past my due date. I got checked out, sent back home & had a beautiful start to my labour by boosting my oxytocin doing lots of my favourite things (huge bowl of popcorn on my bump, ferris Bueller’s day off on the telly, walk in the sunshine) & utilising all my hypnobirthing techniques when my contractions started to ramp back up.

Breathing techniques, side lying in a bubble bath with my favourite Jo Malone candle on, resting in bed with cuddles from my husband - it was perfect and exactly the start to labour I’d wished and hoped for.

Then I went for a wee, wiped, and noticed that my waters had changed colour. Cue panic, and I thought ‘shit, this is not good’. And I knew from that moment my labour and plans would change entirely. I got very upset and I told my husband to speak to the midwives on the phone and get all the info we needed. I knew id be heading into hospital imminently so got dressed and felt totally disheartened. Of course my contractions completelyyy stopped. Hello fight or flight.

My waters changing to a greeny colour meant that baby had done a poo, and I knew that this ‘could’ indicate baby was stressed for some reason.

I was told to head into the birth centre, alone (thanks covid), to be assessed, and was quite swiftly told, ‘you can no longer birth on the birth centre we need to take you straight to labour ward as your waters have changed colour and it indicates baby may be distressed ’. I was absolutely gutted and of course got really upset and concerned. I had suddenly changed from being ‘low risk’ to ‘high risk’.

I was on my own for a few hours before my husband was allowed to come into the labour ward room when I was considered to be in ‘active labour’.

Here is where I will pause on the birth story, and ask so in retrospect, what lessons did I learn here?

LEARN about what meconium (baby’s first poo) in waters means, incase it happens to you.

As I was 12 days past my due date, and no other signs of fetal distress, the meconium in my waters was a normal sign of a mature baby just passing a bowel movement. It’s a very different story to if I had a 37 week old baby with thick, fresh meconium which yes, may indicate baby is in some kind of distress. Had I known this, I wouldn’t have had such a fight or flight reaction and hopefully my labour wouldn’t have been stalled quite so much & caused such a cascade of interventions to follow.

My top resources for learning about meconium in waters are:

Dr Rachel Reed Midwife Thinking

S7 Ep 14 - Meconium with midwife Kelly Sawyer

Stayed tuned for part 3 of my birth story coming up! In the meantime...

Other blog posts of mine you may find interesting include:

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