Why don't more people talk about butt contractions? If you've never experienced labor, this question may sound nonsensical to you. If you have gone through labor, though, there's a good chance you're nodding in agreement. As a baby descends during labor, the combination of their head putting pressure on your other organs (chiefly your bowels) and the ever-strengthening contractions create a sensation that I was not warned of or prepared for: a butt contraction. But what do butt contractions actually feel like? It's difficult to describe.
The main sensation (and there are a lot when it comes to labor and delivery) is pressure. Now, nine times out of 10 I'll admit that whenever someone says, "You're going to feel pressure," that's just doctor-speak for, "This is really going to hurt but I don't want to freak you out so I'm going to tell you that you're about to feel pressure." In this case, though, pressure is accurate. But I must warn you: a baby head smooshing down on your pooper from the inside creates so much pressure that it blurs the line between "pressure" and "pain."
Butt contractions were such a huge aspect of both my labors that I'm floored more women don't talk about it and, more importantly, aren't warned about it by health care providers. When I was in labor with my first, I mentioned it to my OB-GYN who said, totally off-handedly, "That's actually a good thing, because it means your baby is descending." I stared at her, dumbfounded, because nothing about this felt like "a good thing."
And so here I stand, breaking the silence about pregnant women's asses. It is my calling. And since no one else, it seems, is willing to tell you what your butt is in for, allow me to share what butt contractions feel like:
Like The World's Worst Constipation
The pressure of a butt contraction is so localized that it feels like there's just a massive amount of poop getting bigger and bigger every second. And the bigger it gets, the more insurmountable a task passing it seems. So there you sit, tortured, despondently full of poop, only not really, because that's just what it feels like. You're actually full of baby, and you will pass it one way or another.
Like Holding Back The Biggest Poop Of Your Life
Sometimes the constipation feeling goes beyond being plugged up and there's so much pressure it feels like you're unintentionally but powerfully trying to hold back something that does not want to be held back.
Like "Do You Have More Drugs?"
My epidurals (my second one in particular) felt, at a certain point, like they were doing jack sh*t for my butt contractions. It's like, "Look, I know you have a hospital full of painkillers. You're honestly telling me you have nothing that can deal with this? Because whatever you gave me has worked wonders for the uterus. Now we need to show my ass some love."
Like "Why Isn't My Partner Having This Baby?"
That selfish son of a b*tch. Wasn't it enough that I was the one who had to be pregnant for almost 40 weeks? I have to deliver the child, too.
Next thing you know he's going to tell me he refuses to breastfeed.
Like Eating An Entire Thanksgiving Dinner & Having It All Rest Just Above Your Colon
Not a serving of a Thanksgiving dinner, mind you. The entire Thanksgiving dinner. Like, your grandma, mom, and aunties cooked for hours for all 45 guests, and then you were like, "Mine!" and locked the dining room door and ate every damn morsel by yourself.
Like You're Probably Pooping
And, I don't mean to alarm you, but there's a pretty good chance you are or have or will.
Honestly, though, it's not a bad thing. It creates a little more room which relieves a little bit of the pressure. #silverlining
Like A Shetland Pony Trying To Run Out Of Your Ass... Backwards
This, incidentally, marks the only time in the history of the world that anything involving a Shetland pony is a bad thing. Because look at those little guys! Name a cuter steed. You can't do it. What's they're competition? Miniature horses? Like, they're cute but not chubby little Shetland pony-level cute. Zebras? Come on now. Donkeys? Go home, you're drunk.
Still, after experiencing a butt contraction, you will never look at one the same way again. Why? Because you'll know what it feels like to have an entire one lodged in your digestive tract.
Like Your Butthole Is Going To Explode
I may or may not have said this to my midwife and nurse while I was pushing out my daughter.
"It's a lot of pressure," my midwife confirmed, to which I think I just replied, "And it f*cking huuuuuuuuurts!"
Like Someone Blowing Up A Balloon In Your Rectum
The more I think about it, the more I think this might be one of the most accurate descriptions I can think of. Though a contraction is, in fact, a tightening of the muscles of the uterus, a butt contraction inexplicably feels like something is expanding.
Like You're Going To Fart A Cannonball
So if you're going to go through all this anguish via butt contractions, I feel like you should at least get an amusing trick out of the deal, and farting a cannonball seems like it fits the bill. You could join an old-timey circus and charge folks two bits to see you unleash ammo from your anus.
Like An Enormous Baby Head Pressing On Your Internal Organs
Because that is, in fact, exactly what it is.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.