Do most births really involve "accidental dookie"?

Was watching Scrubs and got to wondering this.

Well, pushing is pushing. If something is still in there after however many hours you’ve been in labor, it’s going to come out. However, for most hospital births, women are not allowed to consume solid food during active labor, due to the possibility of emergency surgery.

They used to given enemas and probably would still do so if the woman requested one. If you’re wondering whether this is embarrassing, the answer, is “What?! I’m havin’ a baby over here!”

(Any woman who gets embarrassed at the though of an accident during the birth needs to rethink her guest list.)

I’ve heard about this (for other kinds of surgery, too)…what exactly happens if you’ve consumed food and you go in for surgery?

The reason they tell you not to eat before surgery is the risk that you’ll vomit during surgery. And then the vomit gets into your respiratory system and fucks up your lungs. If you come into the ER needing immediate surgery they’re not going to stop because you have a full stomach, but if you’re scheduling the surgery asking you not to eat beforehand is one simple thing they can do to reduce risk.

Actually, if you’ve eaten and need immediate surgery, you get a tube through your nose to you stomach. Then as much of the contents as possible is sucked out.

What if they’re supposed to operate on your nose?

Thanks, Lemur and picunurse. That is good to know. And comforting. You never know when you’re going to need emergency surgery.

Both of my kids being born involved pooping on the part of my wife. Nobody cared.

a.k.a. “oopsie poopsie”

I think I did during my son’s birth. When I went into labor with my daughter, I made a pit stop before heading to the hospital.

You don’t care. You’re in pain, there’s about forty people in the room, the position is not very dignified, and all you can think is “Get this thing out of me!”

Emergency surgery on your nose would be done under a local. If you de-gloved your face, the tube would gently go into your mouth.
In fact, with most head injuries, it should go through the mouth, anyway, in case there’s a basilar skull fracture. The tube could end up in your brain instead of stomach… Yes, it has happened. I tried to find a picture, but they were all pay sites.


I’m not sure about “most” but lots do, yes. Eating recently doesn’t really enter into it - the stool in your rectum is yesterday’s food at best.

Some midwives think that this could be avoided if we knew how to push better. One midwife friend of mine claims that with practice, anyone can push the uterine/vaginal muscles without releasing the anal sphincters or squeezing the intestines, but it’s pretty hard to teach in a short childbirth class. She says she can squeeze out a tampon without moving her bowels, and move her bowels without losing her tampon, and she’s not defecated through four of her own childbirths. But for most of us, they say “push!” and we just push everything south of the navel.

[continued hijack]
I’ve never seen a nasogastric tube placed before intubation simply to empty the stomach of gastric contents to avoid aspiration. We certainly don’t do this when we intubate patients in the ER, we use rapid sequence intubation protocols.

That being said, my experience is largely limited to the time the patient is actually in the ER and not once they head to the OR. Perhaps once you are under and intubated you may get an NG or OG to help reduce the risk of aspiration. Is there an anesthesiologist or anesthetist that can comment on OR protocols for intubating prior to emergent surgery?

Enemas are no longer recommended because they can lead to dehydration and premature labor. However, there are some things that mothers-to-be ask for and receive that aren’t necessarily medically recommended.

I was present at the birth of all three of my kids, and it never happened to my wife. (Or to me, for that matter)

I can say, I’ve placed dozens in prep for emergency surgery. Many were people intubated in ER, then transferred to ICU awaiting a room in OR.

Prior to or following intubation?

Sorry, I meant I worked in ICU, where they came, intubated from ER.

I friend of mine once described her childbirth experience as “trying to poop a wateremelon”.
It’s an image that stuck…