Are enemas safe during all points of pregnancy? Safety risks? Volume issues? Recommendations?
My mother told me that she had to did enemas when she was preggers with me.
I don't know what started the talk but I think I was four or five.
It clearly was the “start of something big”.
I think a lot depends on how far into your pregnancy you are, if there are any complications, what’s in the enema, etc. Anything that causes the intestines to cramp has the potential to make the uterus contract as well. That’s typically something to avoid for most of the pregnancy but often something people try to cause closer to the due date. All the usual old wives tales for starting labor are things that cause cramping, castor oil, nipple stim, etc. Similarly, you’d want to avoid anything like alcohol, or coffee as a solution, because anything that gets in your blood stream has the potential to get in the baby’s. A small, gentle plain water enema might be fine, but something that causes heavy cramping should be avoided, but again, trimester, underlying health issues, etc can make a huge difference in what’s safe or not.
It’s definitely something each woman should discuss with her doctor before trying!
I'm no doctor so this is personal experience.
I took small enemas throughout both of my pregnancies with no problems. I had already developed a dislike for laxatives years before. The mild ones were unpredictable, the effective ones were harsh, so I much preferred enemas over laxatives. While pregnant I used only small volumes of plain warm water. Only enough to get a bowel movement without straining and pushing. It worked well for me.
30 years ago (and maybe now) a woman that was in labor (at least the early stages) was given an enema to encourage the labor to get going. Suggestion: be cautions of them at least in the later stages. Well, in all stages.
For both of my pregnancies I used enemas to keep myself cleaned out. My system just shut down so there was no voluntary pooping happening. My sub was a bit happy to put a nozzle in me, though it wasn't for kinky reasons. It was a needed thing to have to do for my and my babies health.
The purpose of an enema before delivery was so you wouldn't poop when pushing the baby
That would have violated every sanitation rule the hospitals had during the 1950s through early 1980s
New knowledge gained since then helps us understand that it happens fairly frequently in non-hospital births and it's sure not the end of the world if it happens. That's why it's optional now, and some hospitals don't really push too hard on it.
Some insurance plans are balking at covering it anyway.
As I recall, those enemas before delivery had two purposes:
One - as Lisa said, was to empty the bowel to minimize poop coming out while pushing. But as most of us know, if the enema was not given a sufficient time before delivery, there could be a messy residual coming out some time later. Is watery, poopy, enema water being pushed out not worse than a couple of hard turds if no enema?
Second - I believe it was thought the cramping from a strong enema would speed the delivery process.
My experience in the 70s was I got a Fleet for my first child, quite early during a six hour labor. For my second child, there was no time. She was born within fifteen minutes of me arriving at the hospital. Did I wait too long? LOL Anyway, when I packed up to go home the nurse put a Fleet in my bag saying I paid for it as part of the labor room kit, so I could take it home to use later if I needed it.
My mom delivered my younger sisters several years after myself, and older sister. We were quite curious as to the process by then. I recall my mom telling us about getting an enema upon arrival at the hospital. She had also told us about hospital enemas prior to surgery and other tests or procedures. I often believed she had used the opportunity to let us know that it wasn't extraordinary that my sister and I got enemas as well.
My mom seemed to believe enemas were a necessary and beneficial procedure for many things and expected to get one prior to delivery. I know that she never expressed any negativity concerning enemas and took them herself and gave them to dad also.
I was present for two of three pre-delivery enemas when my kids were born. They weren't pleasant affairs for their mom at the time, and likely were responsible for a lifetime of disdain for the procedure.
Enemas are very out of favor with the medical community for childbirth. They will still give one on request but are generally looked at with disfavor. I've also read that they can be used occasionally for constipation but can induce contraction near due date.
To keep the baby away from any risk, I would recommend the woman to ask always to her doctor.
However in case of constipation during pregnancy, I think micro-enemas like the Microlax (european market) or similar are safe.
For the more powerful Fleet enema I have found this advice: "FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Do not use this medicine within the advice of a doctor if you are pregnant.".
During pregnancy you really need to talk to your doctor before taking ANYTHING!
Even the most seemingly innocent vitamins
My wife used glycerine suppositories during her pregnancies for constipation, we stopped enemas during that time completely. The only one she got in those 9 months was at the hospital before the childbirth.
The enemas are fairly good, mainly right before birth. I remember that before the birth of my daugther, in the maternity room of the pregnant women, I saw 10 enemas given to women before having birth. Before my childbirth I also received one enema in in front of all the pregnant women in the maternity room of the hospital.
Enemas are not safe during pregnancy. My doctor told me no enemas . I had constipation issues and there was a fear of impaction I was given a mineral oil enema in the ER. Suppositories and diet were the controlling orders.
There is probably not much data/ research into if it is safe or not so really like anything in pregnancy if not sure don't unless your OBGYN or family Dr says to.
Personally I can't imagine it being a major issue, certainly in earlier pregnancy.
We used them rarely and had two very straight forward pregnancies and healthy babies.
I think mild enemas can be given during any stage of an uncomplicated pregnancy. That being said, I would probably avoid any harsh enemas that cause much cramping, ie. Soapsuds, milk and molasses, etc.
It seems to be in the "we don't really know" area, so the recommendations are to play it safe. While the stuff I've found say to be cautious in pregnancy because you don't want to bring on labor early, they also have studies showing enemas are ineffective to start or enhance labor when you're trying to so... go figure, I guess. If my wife were constipated (or if I was pregnant and constipated), I probably would risk a mild enema.
In pregnancy the safety of the child COMES FIRST!
If you can't deal with that don't have it!
I can't see a problem with plain soap and water. It was common practice to have an enema before birthing so as to not shit all over the table.
It would be safer than taking a laxative or having dangerous gases from constipation in your bloodstream going through the baby. Constipation makes you sick. If it makes you sick it makes the baby sick.
Never ever take an enema during pregnancy. It can cause early labor
Our next-door neighbor is in her late 30s and pregnant with her second, due mid-December. She said she takes Colace which is a softener. This works for her. More a preventative than waiting until she's tied up. Used suppositories with her first. Colace is better, gets ahead of the problem. Girl talk, you know.
There’s never any repercussions when saying “No”, so doctors today tend to be ultra conservative with advice. Not so thirty plus years ago when wifey was pregnant. Her doctor advised soap enemas for constipation when we asked. She had many enemas during her nine months without complications.
We had discussed doing the delivery enema at home but circumstances prevented that from occurring. The nurse at the hospital poked her hemorrhoids when giving the enema which annoyed wifey no end.
As was mentioned - two reasons; 1) prevent a mess while pushing out, 2) strong enema cramps would help speed delivery. For some reason my mom liked to talk about this.
As I posted before, I took small enemas during both of my pregnancies with no problems. I have always preferred enemas over laxatives so I asked my doctor about enemas and he said use only enough warm water to get a bowel movement without straining and pushing. Not more than a pint or so during the last trimester. It worked well for me. I don't think I would get the same answer today.
I got lucky!
Got through two pregnancies without constipation. From the time I found out I was pregnant, until i was finished nursing, I suspended my enema taking entirely.
Constipation is common in pregnancy.
My reply here will be that of repetition but my mother shared with me much after the fact that her mom gave her very small volume enemas which were just enough to initiate a prompt for a bowel movement while she was pregnant with me . Later on when my wife was pregnant , I gave her very small volume enemas as well to address her often constipation issues . There were no complications as to my mom and wife receiving the small volume enemas while pregnant as per above . When both of my ‘ girls ’ arrived at the hospital for delivery , both shared with me that a ‘ large volume enema ’ was prepared and administered as per the birthing protocol of the day . For them it was ‘ enemas ’ during pregnancy , before delivery and when back home post-delivery as required .
Read here more information what is bonus group membership.