Diarrhea Before Labor


images (19)If you have never had a child or underwent a pregnancy you may not be familiar with some of the main signs of labor. Even if you have had children before and have experienced labor, all labors are different each time & between each woman so you still may not know what to expect.

Although starting labor is exciting in a way, there is an array of emotions that every mother experiences and the last thing that you need is to feel nervous, doubtful, or worst ignore the symptoms that occur at the onset of labor.

From contractions that may feel like menstrual cramps to your water breaking, the signs of labor are all different for each person. One major sign that labor may be happening is having a bout with diarrhea before labor. It is often the single sign that new mothers ignore the most, but it is completely normal to have it. The cramps that may accompany diarrhea also may be confused with contractions.

Understanding all the signs and symptoms of the beginning of labor can help ease your mind and help you to have the best possible labor and birthing experience possible…

Diarrhea Before Labor: Why it Happens

The process of pregnancy up to the onset of labor is all really fascinating. Although you may think that having diarrhea before labor seems odd, it is very, very common and almost 1/2 of all women experience it before, during or after contractions begin and other signs are present. Sometimes it is the very first sign of labor as well.

Whether it is loose stools or plain water diarrhea the bowels often get prepared as the body’s hormones (prostaglandins) are produced into the blood stream to accommodate changes necessary for labor. All the muscles in your body including your uterus, bowels, rectum, joints in your hips and more naturally loosen when the body is signaling it to get ready for baby to come. It is all a process of the various stages that take place when labor begins until the baby arrives.

Although diarrhea before labor is not necessarily the nicest thing, it is not the worst. You should understand it is completely and utterly normal and it means that you will be meeting your precious baby soon!

Another good thing about experiencing the symptom of diarrhea at the onset of labor is that it will clean your system out BEFORE you have to push the baby out. Many times it spares you from being embarrassed from passing stool during the pushing stage of labor.

Other Women’s Experiences with Diarrhea Before Labor

“I had awful diarrhea just as my contractions started…I was too scared to eat afterwards so ignored the advice about eating like you’re gonna run a marathon!” Mary, The Bump

“I started having diarrhea at 2AM, water broke at 4:30 and I gave birth at 10:16. So yup – I’m a believer.” Candace, The Bump

“I woke up with diarrhea and cramps the day I went into labor.  I had no signs up until that day.” Stephanie, The Bump

“I did have diarrhea before going into labor with my first baby, like right before (we’re talking hours here), it’s your bodies way of cleaning things out before the big push” Theresa, Pregnancy Info

Signs and Symptoms that Labor is Starting

Besides just diarrhea before labor there are several other symptoms and signs that may mean that you are about to go into labor and have your baby including:

  • Bloody Show: You can lose your mucus plug right at the start of labor it looks like blood tinged phlegm. Also bloody show is a definitive sign at term that labor is occurring.
  • Flood of Energy (Nesting): Many women get a flood of energy, start cleaning, packing, working on things for the baby, and nesting right before they go into labor.
  • Water Breaking: When the amniotic sac ruptures it is imminent that labor should be starting along with or without contractions. It may be just a few minutes or a few hours before your labor actually starts, though.
  • Consistent Contractions: Consistent contractions often feel like intense cramps. When they are consistent, steady, and getting closer in time together you can feel confident it is the real deal.
  • Backache: Many women experience back labor depending on the position of the baby, the way they are carrying it, and how their uterus is shaped. This takes on the symptom of a constant backache or pain located and referred around the abdomen.

Diarrhea Before Labor: What You Can Do About it

Diarrhea can be inconvenient, however dwelling on it can make it so much worse. To better be able to cope with it, to make yourself more comfortable, and to go with the flow- here are some of the steps you can take that may help you through it:

  1. Do not take anything such as anti-diarrhea medicine- it could negatively impact labor and the baby.
  2. Make certain to stay hydrated. Sip on water, decaf herbal tea (hot or cold) and keep up the fluids to replenish what you are losing.
  3. Eat lightly or snack on foods that settle your stomach but that are not gong to reap more havoc on your digestive system. Such things as crackers, toast, broth, jello are ideal.
  4. Keep close to the bathroom so you do not have to travel far to get up and down and to prevent any accidents from occurring.

Lastly remember- its so close! Stay calm, keep your mind at ease, and just take in what is about to happen to you. Diarrhea before labor is completely normal…


    • There is no way to know for sure. Babies are notoriously difficult at arriving at the exact moment that they are supposed to. Relax, follow your doctor’s orders and your baby will be here before you know it. Good luck, Tabitha Bridegroom!

      • If you find that you want to speak with a doctor, then make an appointment. If your diarrhea continues for another day, then make an appointment. Your doctor will be able to give you advice after tests and questions. At this time, monitor the changes that you are experiences and take note. Best of luck, Amber!

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