Using the "squat" bar in the hospital - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 04-05-2011, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm definitely going to the hospital and definitely attempting a natural labor.

I'm not having a water birth and I don't want to hear anything about homebirths or midwives or anything...

 

I know they like to control you BUT I am intent on squatting or kneeling to deliver this time, not lying down in bed...

 

If you have used a birthing stool, or the squat bar in the hospital or just squatted on the floor (I can imagine they would never allow) please give me some details of the mechanics involved and anything you can think of that would help...like persuading them to let you do it, how it actually works, if the bar is actually useful or not, if you can just squat on the bed ...


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#2 of 20 Old 04-05-2011, 08:30 AM
 
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I birthed in what is called in the Bradley book a sitting squat (Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way..excellent book, please consider getting it, it has great advice on how to achieve a natural birth in a hospital).  It is "actually a full squat, except that you are tipped back on your bottom to make it a sitting squat."  There are pictures of it in the book.   The hospital I was in didn't mind it at all, probably because I was in the bed and it looks similar to their usual lying position.  I held back my own legs, and pushed on my own (self directed pushing) without someone telling me. I also declined the IV and monitor belt.   You just have to be brave and firm about what you want.

 

Ultimately, how well your desires/requests are taken and implemented depends on who your provider is.  Ideally, you'll be able to talk to them ahead of time and they'll know how you feel and respect it. If you're not as familiar with who's on call when you go in, then once again, just be polite, but firm about your requests!   You'll be happy you did when the birth of over and you were able to achieve to some degree the birth experience you wanted. I say to some degree because birth is unpredictable, there will be something that won't go as planned, but don't worry about that. Just do the best you can! 

 

One other small tip....if you feel pressure from folks around you or feel overwhelmed and need some privacy......ask to go to the bathroom, whether you need to or not (hopefully there will be a bathroom in your birthing room) and stay in there as long as you like.  Lock the door!   My sil did it and it really energized her. She came out when she was good and ready and then proceeded to have a great birth!


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#3 of 20 Old 04-05-2011, 08:35 AM
 
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My first suggestion is, unless you have actually had personal, first hand experience with giving birth in the hospital you have chosen to go to, I am going to suggest that don't go in with the assumption that they will try to control you or that they are going to force you to lie down on the bed to give birth.  It's true there are hospitals like that, but going into the situation with that sort of preconceived notion has the potential to make things more difficult and stressful for you.

 

In the hospital I used my last two births, there was no "persuading them to let me do" anything.  I didn't use a squat bar, but neither did I give birth lying down.  I did use a birth ball...and all I had to do was ask-"Could you go get me one of the birth balls?"  And it appeared.  I spent most of my labor last time either standing/walking, or sitting on the birth ball.  And, when I got to be like 12 hours in, I had to sit on something with some more support because I was exhausted.  So, I sat on the end of the bed.  They broke down the bottom part, raised up the top part so that it acted like a chair basically.  And never once suggested lying down.  When I got the urge to push, it was sudden and I simply couldn't move from that position.  I just told them I couldn't move, they said no problem, raised the bed up some...and that's exactly how I gave birth, sitting straight up on the end of the bed.  My feet were sitting in the stirrups, but exactly like they would be if I was riding a horse, not up and spread out like you see in the movies.  They were to support my feet so my legs weren't just hanging off the bed. 

 

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#4 of 20 Old 04-05-2011, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Was your butt right on the edge kind of similar to a birthing stool and the baby was delivered in open space (not on a bed)?


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#5 of 20 Old 04-05-2011, 08:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by workingmom2011 View Post

Was your butt right on the edge kind of similar to a birthing stool and the baby was delivered in open space (not on a bed)?


Yeah, they had broken down the bottom half of the bed, just like they would break it away if you were laying down.  So I was right there at the very edge, almost hanging off even.  I tried, at one point, to lean back against the top part of the bed that was like the high back of a chair, but that just wasn't working for me and I had to sit right back up again.  I can't for the life of me remember what I did with my hands.  I might have been holding and squeezing DH's hand with one of them, but I can't clearly remember. 
 

 

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#6 of 20 Old 04-05-2011, 09:43 AM
 
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In "Natural Hospital Birth" by Cynthia Gabriel she explains how often women are asked to get on the bed when they are in transition...or in a mental place where it's hard to say "no" or even "I'd rather stay here."  She says to ask your birth team (DH, doula, whomever) to ask you "would you rather stay here?" when that happens, and you can nod if you want to.  I know two moms who were birthing in their own positions and were asked to get on the bed at a critical moment, and both just did it.  It can be hard to think of anything else but pushing that baby out!


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#7 of 20 Old 04-05-2011, 10:48 AM
 
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I used the squat bar in the hospital with my first baby, although it was the midwives who suggested it and got it brought in for me.  I was way, way out of it so I don't remember that much except that it attaches to the bed and you hold onto it with your arms to pull yourself up into a squatting position.  I think it helps you get good leverage for pushing.  I don't remember whether my feet were on the bed pushing down or not -- I guess they must have been.  One thing I have heard is that if you think you might be interested in using the squat bar, to ask for it when you get to the hospital because they might have to go get it out of a closet or something.  (Depends how often it is used at that hospital).  And I suppose in the same vein it might be helpful to ask during the tour to make sure that they have one (if you haven't already).  Another position that might work for you if you want to be upright is to kneel on the bed.  I think a lot of providers have a hard time with being asked to catch a baby somewhere other than the bed, but you definitely have several options on the bed, including some that PPs have mentioned.  Just make sure to discuss it with your provider beforehand -- it will be helpful for him or her to know ahead of time that this is something you want and to sign off on it so that you don't have to argue about it in the moment.  

 


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#8 of 20 Old 04-05-2011, 06:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post

My first suggestion is, unless you have actually had personal, first hand experience with giving birth in the hospital you have chosen to go to, I am going to suggest that don't go in with the assumption that they will try to control you or that they are going to force you to lie down on the bed to give birth.  It's true there are hospitals like that, but going into the situation with that sort of preconceived notion has the potential to make things more difficult and stressful for you.

 

In the hospital I used my last two births, there was no "persuading them to let me do" anything.  I didn't use a squat bar, but neither did I give birth lying down.  I did use a birth ball...and all I had to do was ask-"Could you go get me one of the birth balls?"  And it appeared.  I spent most of my labor last time either standing/walking, or sitting on the birth ball.  And, when I got to be like 12 hours in, I had to sit on something with some more support because I was exhausted.  So, I sat on the end of the bed.  They broke down the bottom part, raised up the top part so that it acted like a chair basically.  And never once suggested lying down.  When I got the urge to push, it was sudden and I simply couldn't move from that position.  I just told them I couldn't move, they said no problem, raised the bed up some...and that's exactly how I gave birth, sitting straight up on the end of the bed.  My feet were sitting in the stirrups, but exactly like they would be if I was riding a horse, not up and spread out like you see in the movies.  They were to support my feet so my legs weren't just hanging off the bed. 

 



this^^^^^  !!!!!

don't assume they'll be trying to call the shots...this actually hasn't been my experience at all

my first go around I was too naive to make my preferences known, or to even have preferences honestly...

second and third..I did what I wanted and no one even hinted at stopping me

I delivered my last two in the same fashion at the end of the bed broken down with my feet on the lower part like the platform area, not even stirrups

no one asked me to lay back...and I had no urge to birth anywhere else...I don't think it would have been denied if I had asked

my second I labored for quite a while on all fours on the floor because thats where I wanted to be

the monitoring belts never bothered me...if I wanted to go somewhere Id unplug em and take the cords with me, belts and all

 

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#9 of 20 Old 04-05-2011, 06:50 PM
 
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I used a squat bar on the hospital bed to deliver my first baby.  During the tour, I asked the nurse to set it up so I could see how it works.  I was advised to ask for a nurse who knew how to do it when I got into my room because it was used infrequently and not all of them were skilled (or quick) at getting it into place.  I was laying on my side and when it was time to push I couldn't really get up into the position I needed to be in.  I tried to sit up as best I could and then my husband and my mom got on either side of me and hoisted me up onto my feet.  A few days later, I noticed handprint bruises on the backs of both of my arms!  My doctor noted that it was a very productive position for me to push in.  The problem, however, was that it was SO effective and I turned into some powerful amazon woman and pushed that baby out SO fast....he'd been trying to get me to lay back on my side and slow the pushing so he could aid my perineum.  Unfortunately, I was not being very cooperative or rational and I just kept pushing.  I had a 4th degree tear!  It healed up just fine and I didn't even realize the seriousness of it until I read about tears months and months later (by then my tear was a healed and distant memory) so don't let that scare you.  But, of course, it's nice to avoid a tear so I would just caution that you not push too quickly if the squat bar is working really well for you.

 

Oh, and also, if you write in your birth plan that you will need to have the freedom to change positions and to push in whatever position is comfortable and effective and then have your doctor sign and initial it all - then you shouldn't have any problem.  You (or your birth support person) can just inform them of what you are going to do right then and there and if they give you resistance, just throw them a copy of your birth plan and ask them to contact the doctor if they feel the need to discuss it while you just carry on getting into the position you need. (If you've asked for a nurse who knows how to do the birth bar ahead of time, I can't imagain that he/she would give you any grief about that one).

 

I agree that you don't have to assume they'll try to call the shots.  I had a sign on the door instructing everyone to come in very quietly and to keep the lights low because I'd be using self hypnosis.  They were actually very respectful of that and didn't question anything on my birth plan.  And this is a hospital in an area where natural birth is not so popular and the c-section rate is 37%.  Good luck!

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#10 of 20 Old 04-06-2011, 07:21 PM
 
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or just squatted on the floor (I can imagine they would never allow)  

I actually got to squat on the floor! It was as busy night. Baby was coming and they didn't have time to argue with me since I hadn't been in that bed for the 3 1/2 hours I'd been there.  I'd declared originally that the baby would be born on the toilet and I guess the floor at the foot of the hospital bed sounded a little better to them :)

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#11 of 20 Old 04-08-2011, 09:48 PM
 
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I've had two natural births in hospitals. The second time at transition I remember saying that I felt like I wanted to squat or something. When they started setting up a bar that went up and over the end of the bed I was mortified! It seemed like the most humiliating way I could think of to give birth. (I just googled pictures and the bars all look a lot lower than the way I remember it.) The nurse said something like "Did you think you could just squat on your knees or something? We couldn't get to the baby then." I just ended up on my back like with my first born.

 

I would agree with Dot-to-Dot in asking to see how the bar works during a tour. I didn't think of that as I'd never heard of a squating bar and never would have guessed I'd have the desire to squat.

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#12 of 20 Old 04-09-2011, 03:42 PM
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The hospital where I had the boys didn't have a squat bar when I had Carter (but did when I had Holden).  

 

For Carter, I wanted to squat, so they raised the head of the bed completely vertical (90* to the floor, like the back of a chair) and broke down the end of bed.  I faced the head of the bed, held on to the bed rails, and squated.  Easy access for my care providers, comfortable for me.  

 

Ironically, I didn't want to squat with Holden.  I just wanted to be on my hands and knees, so I was.  


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#13 of 20 Old 04-09-2011, 05:49 PM
 
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I've never even heard of one!

 

That said, I had two wonderful hospital births, where I was very supported with whatever I wanted to do. The midwives/nurses encouraged me to try all kinds of positions (including hands and knees and squatting) and if I remember correctly the used a combination of breaking down the bed into different shapes etc and pillows and human assistance (I always had 3-4 adults with me OTHER than the nurse and midwife/OB) in the end I felt most comfortable laying on the bed to actually push the baby out - it was like I needed all my energy just to push..but, I don't think they would have minded me delivering in the other positions - I just got too tired.

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#14 of 20 Old 04-09-2011, 06:32 PM
 
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I used a squat bar during late labor but not pushing.  I had a malpositioned babe who we were trying to get to descend, and I had a light epidural.  The bottom of the bed was broken down, and my feet were on it.  My butt was on the edge of the middle part of the bed, and I was able to use the squat bar to pull myself into a yoga-type full squat during each contraction.  I liked it.  It gave me something on which to focus and also allowed the energy to move downward even though I was "confined" to the bed (I didn't really want to be anywhere else).

 

I actually spent the whole pushing phase and delivered DS on my side.


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#15 of 20 Old 04-09-2011, 07:44 PM
 
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I *tried* to use the squat bar this time around (January), but was so exhausted from 5 days of prodromal labor that I didn't have the energy to hold myself up.  I pushed on my back some (my choice), my side, and on my hands and knees.

 

First time around (11/08), in the same hospital, I pushed on my back, sitting on the toilet, and while kneeling and hanging over the back of the bed.

 

Like PP, don't automatically assume you won't be able to push how you want.

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#16 of 20 Old 04-09-2011, 07:51 PM
 
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I attended one of my sister's births where she used a squat bar.  The nurses actually suggested it, and I believe it was used while she was pushing but not once the baby was crowning - at that point it was the typically seen legs pulled back while laying on her back. 

 

I'd definitely mention it to your care provider so they can give you any info about how to make sure you have access to it if you want it.

 

I've also seen a position where they lower the foot part of the bed and bring the back of it upright, so it's like a sit/squat... but I am not sure how effective that actually is.  The times I've seen it, it seemed to work, but I couldn't say if it was as good as a real squat.


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#17 of 20 Old 04-12-2011, 11:15 PM
 
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I've had a few births where my clients used the squat bar. The hospital I've attended most of my births in has one in each room, even though their natural birth figures are abysmal. My last client birthed kneeling and facing the back of the bed in a semi-squat, which worked quite well.


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#18 of 20 Old 04-16-2011, 05:50 PM
 
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The squat bar works well, but another technique to consider is playing tug of war.  The nurse knots up a sheet.  You pull and she resists.  It's a nice option too.


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#19 of 20 Old 04-17-2011, 05:50 AM
 
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not sure why you are oppossed to midwives, I am having a hospital delivery with a CNM? Unless you have some complications not mentioned...I haven't had that all natural birth yet, but with ds I attempted natural birth in the hospital for 12 hours before getting the meds. I was able to use the birthing ball, go to the hot tub room as much as i desired and pretty much do whatever i wanted, of course i was still monitored and hooked up to the machines which was cumbersome, but there still was plenty of freedom. My current CNM actually suggested I could birth hanging off the side of the bed or whatever i want, so while I am not sure about birthing stools, as long as I don't take meds this time, (which i don't plan on) then I will more than likely be able to birth which ever way i want to.


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#20 of 20 Old 04-17-2011, 10:36 PM
 
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I birthed in a hospital with a midwife with my 3rd baby. I labored on the floor until I was pushing hard, then climbed up on the bed & used the squat bar. The bar had been explained during my hospital tour & I knew I was going to use it. It was awesome to have something to pull on while I was pushing. My MW still had me lie down at the last minute before the baby came out.

 

The 2 babies I've had since then were born at home. I naturally (as opposed to how I labor when I'm being guided by midwives or OBs/nurses) labor in a squat on the floor, then pull HARD on the edge of the sink when pushing. I deliver in a sitting squat as a PP mentioned, pulling the sink the whole time. I know it is different for every woman, but WOW laboring & delivering like this are such a world of difference for me compared to my 1st two births that were with OBs in the hospital. They made me lie down, didn't allow food or water, wouldn't let me move at all..... etc. I pushed for 2.5 hours with my 2nd baby, lying flat on my back in the hospital!! I so wish I'd known better. I've pushed for 13-20 minutes with each baby since that one, in a squat.

 

Squat bars are great, being upright in labor & delivery is great!! :)


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