Courtesy of Maureen Shaw

No One Wants To Talk About Queefing During Labor — So I Will

The day I went into labor with my daughter started out like any other day during my pregnancy—with a pint of ice cream balanced on my belly. But it ended with a bang — or perhaps I should say a bloody pop, courtesy of the world's most embarrassing emission during childbirth. Yes, I queefed during labor, and I know I'm not the only one who has.

Your body does some incredible and disgusting things during labor and delivery. We’re warned about many of them, like pooping on the table, but there’s one phenomenon that’s noticeably absent from most L&D discussions: queefing. And with good reason; it’s absolutely humiliating. Believe me, I know. I mastered the art of it in the final stages of labor.

For a first-time birth, my labor progressed relatively quickly—10 hours in total. A lot of gross sh*t happened in that timeframe. I was basically a sixth-grade boy's sense of humor incarnate: I farted (I didn't poop though, to my credit!), I bled, and yes, I queefed. While I was prepared for the blood and the farts, I was completely caught off guard by the queefs.

As luck would have it, I was the only woman on the floor delivering that night, so I had the maternity ward staff mostly to myself. I didn’t have to wait for my epidural, and my OB-GYN and nurse spent a decent amount of time with me while I labored. We chatted for hours, which made an otherwise scary experience rather pleasant.

Then it happened.

Courtesy of Maureen Shaw

I was mid-conversation with my lovely nurse when my body suddenly began unleashing wet farting noises. I was numb from the waist down, so I couldn’t pinpoint where they were coming from, but I could hear them loud and clear, as could my husband.

I became very flustered and apologized for what I assumed was a series of farts. My nurse assured me that she’d seen and heard it all, and told me not to apologize. We resumed talking and bless my husband, he pretended like nothing had happened.

It’s fair to say I was more terrified of pooping myself than I was of pushing a human being out of my vagina.

Not five minutes later, it happened again, only this time it sounded much wetter. I wanted to die from embarrassment and I began to panic, wondering if this was the prelude to me pooping the bed. I’d heard so much about the notorious labor poops, and I was terrified it was about to happen. It’s fair to say I was more terrified of pooping myself than I was of pushing a human being out of my vagina.

The noises came fast and furious, and were now accompanied with a loud popping sound. This caught my nurse’s attention and she decided to investigate.

Never in a million years will I forget what happened next.

Courtesy of Maureen Shaw

With her head between my legs, the nurse said, “Oh my, your vagina is blowing blood bubbles!” Yes, that's right. Massive air bubbles were exploding out of my vagina, and they were bloody because my birth canal was bloody from, ya know, labor.

I was shocked. Those sounds were not coming from my butt; they were queefs! She must have noticed the look of horror on my face, because she quickly explained that my baby’s head was descending, forcing trapped air —and blood — to escape my vaginal canal. It was a good thing; I was fully dilated and ready to push.

Queefs during labor and postpartum are actually quite common. It's really just Mother Nature's way of lightening the mood during a tense time.

Thankfully, I didn’t have enough time to fully process the humiliation of my vagina’s new parlor trick. I had a baby girl to deliver.

After thirty minutes of pushing, my beloved was here. The doctor laid her on my chest and she stared at me, wide eyed, not making a peep. Looking back, I guess my vagina made all the noise for her; there was no need for my daughter to announce her arrival with cries.

I've spent a long time feeling sheepish about this experience, but as it turns out, queefs during labor and postpartum are actually quite common. We really need to talk more openly about this fun fact, so women don't get freaked out—like I did—when it happens. It's really just Mother Nature's way of lightening the mood during a tense time. Because really, who doesn't find fart sounds funny?