Of all the birth positions you could choose for the birth of your baby, squatting is one of the most effective. It does take some exercise & practice (as we all discovered in class last night!) but when you understand why its good, you will see it's more than worth it. If you are hoping for a natural birth, learning how to squat is one of the ways to make that more likely...
Description: Think having a poo behind a tree whilst camping... low to the ground, tailbone lifted not tucked, private & unobserved - lets hope!
You can squat unsupported, although this may require lots of practice beforehand, or you could squat with the support of a birthing chair, or holding onto a squat bar, sometimes available in hospitals. You can also do a supported squat where you place your arms over the thighs or arms of your support person. You can be low to the ground or standing...
What you need to know:
It is best to use this position in the second stage of labour i.e. the actual pushing phase, as it can be a tiring position. This is why it helps to practice this one during pregnancy.
Squatting lengthens your gluteus muscles, your hamstrings and quadriceps (thighs) and your calf muscles – all very helpful! The tension in these muscles can actually affect the tension in your pelvis (and hence the size of your pelvis) during delivery, so being flexible in these areas can also help you! Sitting in a chair for most of the day really decreases flexibility in these areas, so a little extra practice and effort is necessary to get that flexibility back.
It is important not to tuck the tailbone under. If you squat with your weight forward on your toes, your calves and thighs - tucking your tail, your pelvic muscles are actively tightened, whereas if your weight is back on your heels these muscles can relax, and hopefully prevent tearing.
Practice squatting with a rolled towel under your heels until you can do it with your heels down.
Try holding onto a doorknob or a vary stable surface. If you are having a homebirth, you might like to use that very same spot for support when squatting in actual labour!
Make sure that the line between your ankles and knees is vertical. Your knees should not be far forward. The ideas is to eventually get your heels down.
Do not tuck the tailbone under - you want the tail lifted to increase space within the pelvis.
Make sure your spine is not rounded and that your back, especially your lower back, is straight, if not slightly concave. To achieve this you may feel as though you are really sticking your bottom out.
Squatting opens the pelvis by up to 30% compared to lying down
Squatting to give birth makes use of gravity to help your baby descend.
The above points help to shorten the 2nd (pushing phase) of labour.
This is a position your body may ask for instinctively - close to the ground.
The practice of squatting helps to lengthen and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
May be tiring, which is why it's generally a good idea to save it for the second stage (the pushing stage).
Using Mum to Bee Hypnobirthing?
Practice combining this position with your 'birth breath' your 'down stage' birth visualisations and remember to keep your face, particularly your mouth and eyes, soft and open.
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