squatting during birth - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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Birth and Beyond > squatting during birth
ShineliketheSon's Avatar ShineliketheSon 03:04 PM 02-16-2009
I always envisioned squatting for DD birth. But I ended up in the tub for an hour till it was time to push and then when I got to the bed (hospital policy) I tried hands and knees and it wasn't working so my midwife suggested on back with legs up to help the pressure on my perenium and that's where I stayed. I pushed for an hour. Now thinking back maybe I should have tried some other positions and it may not have been so long...my doula will hopefully remind me of that this time! My body just took over and I couldn't even think! I need to practice my squats though or I'll never make it that way! I'm hoping the birth stool is available for me and I'm brining my birth ball but I know in hospital here you have to actually deliever in the bed.

MamaMonica's Avatar MamaMonica 03:10 PM 02-16-2009
Moved to Birth and Beyond.
mckittre's Avatar mckittre 03:18 PM 02-16-2009
I just had my first two days ago, and I had a long hard time pushing him out. Over 3 hours. My midwife had to keep coaxing me back and forth into different positions to help him along. I think I must have spent about an hour of that time with the squatting bar on the hospital bed. I sat back on the bed between contractions, and pulled myself into the squat to push, which let me do it for longer while keeping my leg strength up.
ilovebabies's Avatar ilovebabies 03:29 PM 02-16-2009
I squatted on the bed with #4 and loved it as I already posted, but I remember with #3 at one point I sat backwards on the toilet seat and it felt soooo good! I said, "Can I just birth here?" My midwife said, "That's probably not a good idea!"

I ended up delivering her on my back. Tried sqatting on the bed but hated it. Funny how it's different with all babies. Whatever your body is telling you to do, then do it! I just wish I could have stayed on the toilet!
barefootpoetry's Avatar barefootpoetry 03:30 PM 02-16-2009
I squatted for my HBAC. It was awesome. It was the most effective position I tried, and it enabled me to birth my son into my own hands. It also used the force of gravity to snap my tailbone out of the way so he could make it through my narrow pelvis!
Jilian's Avatar Jilian 04:07 PM 02-16-2009
I didn't read all of the replies but DS2 was born in a squat and I didn't plan it that way. I planned a waterbirth but then he started crowning and I felt the intense need to get out of the tub. I made my way over to the bed and a contraction started and I instinctively squatted and he literally popped right out! It was quite funny because I wasn't expecting it and really just wanted to get to the bed. Squatting is an awesome way to use gravity and widen your pelvis to help the baby out! I'll use it again this time around.
rumismom's Avatar rumismom 04:18 PM 02-16-2009
In my prenatal class I'd heard that they have what's called a push bar... attached to the hospital bed.

During my labour I 'had to' stand for every contraction, sitting or laying down was unbearable to me. (only later I reflected that standing makes them stronger... no wonder my LO was born in 2 hours! And I wanted a break ! - Duh!)

When I started pushing I still wanted to be upright so asked for the bar. The nurse didn't even know if they had one or where it would be but quickly found it in the room and fixed it onto the bed - I climbed up and with a solid bar to hold onto (at chest height when I'm squatting) it took the pressure off my legs and was awesome. Probably nice for the MW to have me not on the floor too. Fourteen minutes of pushing (felt like 5) and he was here. (Big head and no tearing.)

Reading the other posts it seems that our bodies do just take over when in labour so trust that you'll find what's best for you... and know your options. Good luck!
Kati's Avatar Kati 04:37 PM 02-16-2009
Really interesting thread.
mamatoady's Avatar mamatoady 04:38 PM 02-16-2009
I read somewhere online that if you use a birthing stool too long that you have a higher possibility of deep tearing. It's not because of squatting, but because of the birth stool. That's upsetting to read, I wonder what my midwife will say about that.

rere's Avatar rere 05:00 PM 02-16-2009
I squated while my husband helped support me and then sat on the birthing stool where my daughter was born.I definitely found it helpful to be in that position.
Carlyn's Avatar Carlyn 12:31 AM 02-18-2009
I squatted a lot throughout my labours, but never for the births themselves. I think if I had been "allowed" to, I would have squatted for my first birth, which was breech. I did deliver him vaginally, but I was at hospital, up on an operating table, "just in case". It really was a great birth, and all went well, but I wasn't given the chance to try other positions once I was pushing. I did move around a lot throughout my labour in the hospital. I even squatted on the toilet each time I had to pee, which was about every other contraction! In between I squatted while holding on to my husband's legs, he was sitting.

I really do think that your body often tells you what the best position is, and you might need to try several at different times.
saharasky's Avatar saharasky 12:41 AM 02-18-2009
When my DS was born I dropped into a squat to push all on my own (some instinctive birthing primal thing) and went from being 4cm to him crowning immediately. I would have loved to have stayed there and caught him myself but the midwife hadn't arrived yet and my mom the nurse FREAKED and had my husband and doula pretty much throw me up on the bed on my side. At that point I lost focus and everything went nuts. Midwife ran in the door and caught him JUST. The total time for the whole event from squat to baby out took 10 minutes.

The squatting was really wonderful ... I can still remember how powerful it felt.
kitkat5505's Avatar kitkat5505 01:56 AM 02-18-2009
I tried squatting with my last one, but only lasted about 2 pushes, my legs were too weak to hold me in that position.
bobandjess99's Avatar bobandjess99 02:25 AM 02-18-2009
I too practiced squats during pregnancy, and when the time came, was able to squat just fine for teh pushing stage with dd..granted, it was all of 15 minutes or so.
With ds, I was ready to, ansd started off trying to push that way, but my body took over and just.....F.L.U.N.G. itself into a hand and knees position-there ios no way I could have possibly resisted, as it was, I only narrowly escaped craking my face on the wall i was using to help support my squat, because I had NO control, my body just flung itself into h&k like an invisible giant had just grabbd me and forced me into that position...
*MamaJen*'s Avatar *MamaJen* 02:40 AM 02-18-2009
I wasn't quite squatting, I did more a hands and knees thing. I was on my knees in the tub, leaning against the side. I didn't really think about the position, it's just how I ended up. It felt really good and I didn't tear at all.
Luv2bemommy's Avatar Luv2bemommy 02:55 AM 02-18-2009
I delivered my last baby standing.. It was AMAZING.. I highly recommend it.. I didn't tear, and wasn't even sore the next day! It was the easiest by far compared to pushing in the semi sitting position I've delivered my other four in.. It was just amazing, I can't explain it..

I can't imagine squatting either, I remember my legs being real shaky right there at the end so I was holding on to something but I know I couldnt do it completely squatting.
emaye_to_2's Avatar emaye_to_2 03:34 AM 02-18-2009
I think squatting during your pregnancy is great preparation for labor & delivery. I did low squats and tailor sitting as often as I could during my pregnancy.. I think it stretched things out a bit. I too thought it would be an excellent idea to push squatting but that never happened. I was on my hands and knees when she was born quickly.
erin_brycesmom's Avatar erin_brycesmom 03:35 AM 02-18-2009
I thought I was going to love squatting for birth. I tried it and I absolutely hated it. Even though I practiced during the pregnancy, I could not squat unassisted during the actual pushing. For one thing, I was 42 weeks pregnant with a 9.6lb baby aka HUGE belly and I simply could not balance anymore. Also, the labor was really long (over 48hrs with no sleep) and I was completely exhausted. I had almost no energy left. I had dh holding me up on one side and my doula holding me up on the other side to help me into a supported squat. I pushed like that for a long time and baby was not coming out like that. The next day I had horrible bruises under my arms from being held up.

What worked for me was kneeling and slightly leaning forward into the back of the inclined bed for complete support. I didn't have to hold myself up at all and it felt like heaven. I had my legs spread pretty wide...I felt like a frog, lol. Pushing was so much more effective that way and I did not tear despite ds having a 15 inch head. I absolutely loved pushing in that position.
mommyfied's Avatar mommyfied 06:54 AM 02-18-2009
Squatting makes more sense than lying on your back with your feet in stirrups, that's for sure. How many women go into that position instinctively?

I only felt comfortable in the hands/knees position both times. Any other position put too much pressure on my back. I think you have to listen to your body and do what feels best. They may want you on the bed in a reclined position for the sake of convenience in the hospital so just be prepared to refuse if that happens. I had mistakenly trusted my OB when she told me I could push in whatever position I wanted... it boiled down to what the on-call nurse and OB encouraged me to do. I wasn't prepared to fight and was coaxed into a different position to 'slow down' so I wouldn't 'tear'. (Actually, the OB wasn't there and when they spoke with her on the phone she told them she didn't want to stand on her head to deliver. GRR) That's ridiculous, but I couldn't think it through - I just heard "I don't want you to tear" and agreed. It was painful, I felt completely out of control, and I tore.

I gave birth at home the second time on my hands and knees with no tears... I felt amazing afterwards.

If you are interested, here are two excellent articles about pushing that I wished I would have seen before I gave birth...

Midwife's Guide to an Intact Perineum

Second Stage Labor: You Don't Have To Push
wombatclay's Avatar wombatclay 09:10 PM 02-18-2009
DD2 arrived while I was squatting. I tore badly and (in mdc threads specifically dealing with tearing) it seems that many women have had similar experiences since the gravity that is helping the babe down in a squat can also lead to the babe "popping out" a bit more forcefully than would be best for mama. However, that's no reason not to squat, and a supported squat (partner or squat bar) is actually pretty comfortable in terms of not wearing you out since you can kind of dangle.

With this babe the midwife I have will actively remind me to not squat for the actual delivery. But that is mostly due to me history of tearing...
barefootpoetry's Avatar barefootpoetry 10:18 PM 02-18-2009
To add on to my earleir post, the way I achieved a good squat was to clamp myself onto the side of the birth pool. I pressed my knees against the inside and hung onto the side with my arms on the outside. This way, the pool held me up and I was able to maintain that position without getting tired or sore.
gcgirl's Avatar gcgirl 12:53 AM 02-19-2009
I used the squat bar at the hospital. When the pushing stage started, I started out on hands and knees, but the hospital staff were freaked out by that position, so I switched to the squat bar. It was GREAT! It felt so good to stand up between urges to push, then squat down just for the active pushing. I highly recommend trying it.

ETA: I did have a bad second degree tear, but I would squat again. I had Pitocin and did the whole "count to ten while pushing" thing, which may have contributed to the tear.
rixafreeze's Avatar rixafreeze 12:58 AM 02-19-2009
One thing to keep in mind is that while squatting opens the pelvic outlet, it narrows the pelvic inlet. In other words, it can be fantastic for getting out a baby that is already quite low, but it can hinder things if it's done when the baby is up higher. If you read barefootpoetrty's HBAC story, you'll see that she squatted at the very end, when the baby was beginning to crown but seemed stuck--a perfect time and place to do it, as it opened up the bottom (outlet) of the pelvis.

Anyway, I definitely think it's one of many positions to keep in mind. Just don't get yourself fixed into an either-or mentality with birth positions: either lying in bed or squatting. Remember there are tons of positions for pushing and laboring, and that it's quite normal for women to move constantly from one to another, especially if no one is telling her what to do. The best thing is to be aware of all of the different kinds of positions and perhaps try them out so your body is used to being in various postures. Doing so will give you a vocabulary, so to speak, to draw from on your birthing day. Next, ensure that your hospital and CPs aren't going to force (or "gently" require) you to be in any one fixed position. (And if they try to, ignore them!) Let them know well ahead of time that you will be laboring and birthing in whatever position feels good, and that you will likely be moving around a lot and that you want them to expect that and not ask you to be in a certain position.
Limabean1975's Avatar Limabean1975 01:12 AM 02-19-2009
Thank you, rixafreeze, for noting that! My understanding of the anatomy has had me thinking about that. My hope is of course to just do whatever feels right at the time and not let my brain be involved, but getting these academic thoughts out of the way ahead of time is great.
wbg's Avatar wbg 02:20 AM 02-19-2009
I really wanted to squat to deliver my third. Not sure why, but I was convinced this was the way to go. I told my OB this was important to me, so when I was in transition she reminded me that I had wanted to try squatting, so I shifted into a squat and my body screamed no!! I landed up delivering in a semi recline, because it felt so right!! Who would have guessed! So i say just listen to your body and be open to trying a change of position! My 4th arrived in water and I thought I was in a great position. MW suggested a change that sounded ABSURD to me, but thought I would do it just to prove her wrong and get back to birthing my way! I changed and in a heartbeat pushed out my LO!! Your body will tell you which way to go, and a supportive caregiver might sometimes be able to help you follow your body's cues! Wishing you a wonderful birth.
azjen43's Avatar azjen43 05:25 PM 02-19-2009
With DD1 (my second birth) I pushed for several hours in several different positions: side lying, hands & knees, standing, sitting on the toilet. Finally ended up on a birthing stool, but baby's HR was getting funky so the MW cut a fairly large epi. The stool did feel perfect, though, in regard to position. (This baby was persistant posterior, born completely face up and weighing 9 pounds.)

With my next baby, eighteen years later , I pushed lying on my side for a few contractions and then got into a squat using the squat bar. I pushed maybe 5 pushes before DD2 came out. Between pushes, I either leaned on the bar or on my best friend's lap, who was on the bed behind me, kneeling. No tears, just a small skid-mark.

I will say that I practiced squatting a LOT during my last pregnancy. It just felt good and natural to sit in that position, so I did. (still do, actually) I agree with all the PPs who said to practice several positions, so you have some ideas, and then go with whatever works for you at the time. Also, If you're birthing in the hospital, have your nurse or even your doula locate the squat bar as soon as you get to your room, so it's easily accessible when and if you decide to use it.
theboodges's Avatar theboodges 01:41 PM 02-20-2009
Originally Posted by heatherweh View Post
Honestly when it gets that far I feel like I want to write instructions and arrows on my thighs with eye liner or something as a reminder- no episiotomy- massage and compress here- exit only urethra- no fingers on distended perineum...
Too funny!!!

I had envisioned squatting with my last birth, but it didn't happen! I was in the tub and my water broke, and my body just took over. Somehow my OB convinced me to move to the bed, with several people helping, and I barely managed to get rolled onto my side before DD was born! At first I was a little bummed that I didn't remember to try squatting, but the fetal ejection reflex (just learned this term - so describes what happened!) was so intense I don't think I could have squatted had I tried. I was literally just holding onto the railing of the bed once I made it there, because it felt like if I didn't the force of contractions would lift me right off it! And since it was so fast, I think the side lying helped slow things down, which was good, as I had no tearing!

I did get onto my knees in the tub for a few contractions before my water broke though. I didn't like the way it felt to be reclined back in the tub all of the sudden. I think I had a few contractions that way, a few more that I kind of rocked through which felt even better, then my water broke with a huge pop - and the whole fetal ejection reflex started! It is interesting how your body can tell you what to do. I also really appreciated my OB stepping in to apply some pressure to my lower back, having me roll onto my side with my leg up to push, etc. Although I knew these things were helpful, in the moment they didn't occur to me, and when DH asked if he could do anything several times I couldn't think of anything to tell him. So it was really nice having my OB be able to read the situation and step in with support or suggestions!
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