Crazyhippiemom’s Weblog

Just an urban hippie with a kid in tow, sharing a little eco-friendly, holistic info with the world.

The Squatting Birth April 9, 2008

I’ve heard it described as “the most beautiful moment in life”.  I’ve seen grown men cry just reliving the memory.  But, for those of us who truly know, childbirth ain’t no walk in the park!  This natural life occurrence has got some blood, sweat and tears associated with it – and they’re not all tears of joy either. The last thing in the world any mother wants is a prolonged labor and/or delivery.  Some women opt for planned births (scheduled C-Sections), others choose managed deliveries (epidurals & other drugs) while others go for the au naturale.  Which coincidentally, will be part of our discussion today.

When choosing an all-natural birth (pregnancy, labor & delivery), pregos must plan, plan, plan. Planning and preparation for your all-natural delivery is more than important, it’s vital! Extended labors and deliveries are, in part, due to lack of planning for and understanding of the birthing process.  Gravity is your friend and it’s best to use it wisely.  

The squatting birthing technique is something that may seem a little… well, un-everything you were told birthing should be.  We’ve been fed the hospital scene where mom is rushed in on a stretcher, hubby is right by her side, holding her hand and the stretcher is rushed into the delivery room… where she lays on her back pushing and pushing, breathing and breathing… hubby is doing his best to help her remember her lamaze class instruction – 3 quick breaths and hold, 3 quick breaths and hold.  Then, miraculously, after about 5 minutes of breathing, pushing, anguished glances, and a commercial break, the beautiful, cooing baby emerges from moms forcepped legs.  Did you get all that?  Well forget it!  It’s all wrong… not really, not in every situation, but for chicks who want to get in and get out, squatting is the way to go.

The history of squatting goes back hundreds of years, maybe thousands.  There have been ancient art created to depict women squatting during birth.  Artfully crafted birthing stools and chairs have been built to assist mothers.  Where are they now?  Why haven’t we heard of them until now?  IDK.  Ask modern medicine  and Big Pharma- but that’s not what this post is about.  Let’s get ready for our squatting birth…

First, the benefits of squatting include:

  • shortened second stage of labor (the pushing phase)
  • Reduced need for forceps during delivery
  • Reduced need for episiotomy
  • Shortens the depth of the birth canal
  • Increased pelvic diameter

Preparation During Pregnancy:

 

  • Walk daily (low-intensity 30 minute walk)
  • Squat often – this will strengthen your legs for when you need to squat during birth.  A 30 minute daily squat session in intervals of 5 squats for 6 minutes each seems reasonable to me.
  • Seek out and employ chiropractic care (see my post Chiropractic Care – A Must for Babies & Moms-to-Be )

Now, let’s discuss what to do once in labor.  Squatting should be exercised during contractions.  Once the contraction begins, the mother should be helped into the squatting position for the duration of the contraction.  When the contraction ends, she should resume the most comfortable position for her, giving her time to relax before the next round of contractions start – usually 2 minutes of contractions to 5 minutes of relaxation.

It is important to know your options when utilizing the squatting technique.  Some hospitals or birth centers provide squat bars (to support the mother’s weight to give her legs a rest), birthing stool (also supports the mother in a squatting position… it’s U-shaped stool the mother sits on), there are also specially made beds with attachments that extend and retract for a more comfortable squatting “experience”.

The squatting technique has been shown to truly reduce the length of the birthing process, and who wouldn’t want that??? Besides Big Pharma who wants to drug the hell out of you to get bigger payouts for the drugs they poison you with (do you sense a little animosity?) We all want shorter, healthier, less dramatic births and squatting is by far, the best way to get there.  Seek out doulas or birthing coaches who can provide you with more in-depth information with regard to squatting during birth.  Trust me on this one, you’ll be so glad you did.

For more information on squatting births check out birthingnaturally.net.

I’d like some feedback on this post if you don’t mind.  Whether you love it or hate it or in-between, send me a comment.  

Thanks.

 

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7 Responses to “The Squatting Birth”

  1. dropofkim Says:

    Your post is wonderful, I wish I had sought more birth options for my delivery. I just thought what the dr said was how it was supposed to go. I wish I had known more and maybe your post will reach someone like me that didn’t understand her options. Thank you. Now I’m off to explore your archives!
    http://www.dropofkim.wordpress.com

  2. hbacmama Says:

    I squatted throughout all three pregnancies in preparation for the birth… First ended in a c/s for him turning to a funky breech-ish position.
    Second I was so exhausted (REST DURING EARLY LABOUR PEOPLE!!!!!) and babe came so fast (apparently vbac moms don’t know how to push?! HA!) that I was still on my back and broke my tail bone.
    18 months later I squatted/leaned over my couch and ended up with one leg kneeling and one leg squatting when babes head came out.
    Fastest pushing phase EVER! four minutes start to finish.
    gravity is your friend, so is hollering you don’t know how to push when your babes shoulders are coming out. that provided much humour to everyone in the room. 😉
    I second the motion of CHIROPRACTIC CARE!!!!!

  3. Sara Says:

    This is a wonderful entry, I hope many pregnant women read it and get a bit more informed!
    I fully intend on keeping OFF my back when I give birth! I’d like to use the squatting position but I plan on catching my baby myself and the best position for that, it seems, is on my knees. I don’t have access to a birthing stool and a bar wouldn’t leave my hands free to catch unfortunately… any advice you have would be great 🙂

  4. Madelyn Says:

    I’ve been reading Ina May Gaskin’s book on Childbirth (not Spiritual Midwifery, the other one.) I am preparing myself to give birth in mid-June (3 weeks or so.) We’ve retained a doula to assist and though I am going to be in a hospital situation, I am very comfortable that I can do this without drugs or intervention. I was really astounded to learn that Kaiser is very doula friendly, and that they immediately put the baby to breast, taking the vital signs of the baby while skin-to-skin contact and bonding occur for an hour. Not only that, they have lactation consultants on staff and don’t put formula in the going home bag. I have been walking, but haven’t been practicing the squat. Thanks for the advice, I’m going to go do one right now.

  5. Great affair, I didn’t thought it was going to be so cool when I read your link!

  6. Aimee Says:

    I am 37 weeks prego with my 2nd and ready to do a natural delivery again. I am encouraged by the information on squatting and the benefits and have been practicing squatting a lot! One thing that scares me is that i hear I may be more likely to tear do to having such a fast second stage and not giving the muscles to stretch slowly. That concerns me! Good info. Did you squat during your labor(s)?

  7. Kelly Says:

    This was awesome. Very straitforward and informative. I am having my first child in August with a midwife in a hospital, but I intend on squatting. I also heard that massaging vitamin E oil into the pareneam helps reduce tearing. While everything written is beneficial, you were the only one to give a squat routine-THANK YOU! I was about to go home and squat for the entire night lol! Glad you gave a more logical plan:-)

    Stay blessed and thanks again!


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