Enema During Labor – Is it Recommended or Not?

5 min read

Written by Suma rp

Suma rp

enema during labor

Enema provided during labor is an ancient practice in obstetric care, which aims to prevent fecal contamination during childbirth. Although, the efficiency and usage of this method have been a little confusing till now among healthcare professionals.

Many hospitals still administer enema during labor to ensure a smooth transition of the fetus through the birth canal. Here, we provide a brief introduction to mothers of the historical context, rationale, potential benefits, and drawbacks associated with enema use during labor.

In This Article

What is Enema?

Enema is a medical procedure where liquid is put into the bottom to help empty the bowels. It is usually done before labor or childbirth to lower the risk of poop getting mixed up during delivery. Emptying the bowels can prevent accidental poop during labor, which can cause infections.

Enemas in pregnancy are done with the help of a doctor to make sure it’s safe and done correctly. In reality, Enema is usually given to pregnant women just before childbirth to clean the birth canal and prepare the body for labor. It may be needed because some women have intestinal issues before delivery.

pregnant woman belly

Enema these days is not recommended before labor because there isn’t much evidence that shows it is helpful. In the past, it is normally used to prevent poop during childbirth, but now hospitals do not depend on this as they have better cleanliness practices. Enemas can be uncomfortable and disturb the body’s natural processes. Enemas can also sometimes lead to rectal bleeding. 

They can also cause dehydration and imbalances if done wrong. Nowadays, healthcare providers focus on keeping a clean and sterile delivery environment using hygiene, sterile draping, and careful perineal care. It’s best to talk to your healthcare provider for advice about Enemas before labor.

Why is Enema Still Given to Some Women During Labour?

Enemas may be given to women during labor to prevent fecal incontinence during the pushing stage and reduce the risk of contamination. By emptying the bowels beforehand, it maintained a cleaner delivery environment for both the mother and the medical team. This is achieved by introducing a liquid solution into the rectum, stimulating bowel movement, and clearing fecal matter from the body. Emptying the bowels can also help the baby move through the birth canal without hindrance.

The primary goal is to create a more hygienic setting, facilitating easier access for medical professionals and minimizing the risk of infection. The decision to administer an Enema depends on individual factors and the healthcare provider’s judgment. Alternative methods may also be considered. Overall, the health and well-being of both the mother and the baby remain paramount throughout the birthing process.

[Read : 6 Different Types of Delivery Methods You Must Know]

Benefits of Administering Enema During Labor

pregnant woman in labor

Here are a few advantages of administering an enema during labor

  • By delivering a liquid solution into the rectum, an Enema aids in the emptying of the bowels.
  • An Enema improves the removal of waste material from the body by improving bowel function and giving comfort, especially during labor.
  • Administering enema before labor can help the women stay away from embarrassment and have a comfortable pushing stage during the labor and delivery.
  • With this, it can also reduce and shorten the time of delivery.
  • Enemas are also useful and avoid the pressure that can hurt an episiotomy stitch or a C-Section scar after the delivery. 

It is important to note that while Enemas can offer these advantages, they should be used judiciously and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. The frequency and appropriateness of Enema use may vary depending on individual needs and underlying health conditions. Before using any kind of medical intervention, always consult a health provider.

[Read : Pushing (Bearing Down) The Baby]

Risks of Administering Enema During Labor

pregnant woman in labor

Although administering enema during labor or before labor can help stay away from fecal contamination and other bowel-related discomforts for pregnant women, there are some potential risks like

1. Discomfort or Pain

Some people may experience discomfort or soreness during the enema. Injection of fluid into the rectum can cause cramping or a feeling of fullness in some people, which can be painful. Also, inserting the enema tube or nozzle may cause some discomfort or irritation.

2. Potential For Injury

An incorrectly given enema can injure or damage rectal tissue. It is important to make sure that the enema fluid is given slowly and at the proper temperature. Injuries such as rectal lacerations or abrasions can result from using too much force during insertion or using too much force.

3. Risk of Infection

There is a risk of harmful microbes or other pathogens entering the rectum and colon if the enema is not given with adequately cleaned and disinfected equipment. It can increase the risk of infections, such as urinary tract infections or gastrointestinal diseases.

Enema during labor is provided to prevent fecal contamination although its usage is not suggested before labor as there is no strong evidence of effectiveness and drawbacks. Modern health care advice cleanliness through other means but in specific cases to lower the risk of bowel movements and maintain a clean delivery environment, it is provided. This has some advantages and disadvantages therefore use of enemas during labour is recommended by consulting with healthcare professionals.


1. Is Enema Given in Normal Delivery?

Enema is not routinely given during normal delivery. It is typically reserved for specific situations or if there is a medical need to keep the delivery area clean.

2. How Long After Enema Does Labor Start?

The timing of when labor starts after an Enema can vary. There is no fixed duration or guarantee that labor will start immediately after an Enema. Each woman’s body is different, and labor can begin anywhere from a few hours to a few days after the Enema.

Read Also: Labor And What It Involves

Suma rp,M.Sc (Organic Chemistry) Rayalaseema University B.Sc (Biotechnology) Sri Krishna Devaraya University.

Suma is a passionate content writer with a strong keenness to understand the miracle of pregnancy, birth, and parenting. Suma has successfully transitioned into a full-time content writer and a key contributor at Being The Parent. She leverages on her experimental background in chemistry and experience in writing to come up with well-researched content that helps parents struggling to deal with various medical conditions of their children.Read more.

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