According to the American Pregnancy Association, squatting during labor can open your pelvic outlet up to 10 percent. The theory developed that squatting also can help prompt labor by opening up your pelvic area. No conclusive testing has proved this, but with the proper precautions, such as checking with your doctor first, squatting is not likely to do any harm, either.
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The idea behind squatting to induce labor is that the position will help your baby descend toward and into the birth canal. It creates more room within your body for your baby to move, ideally into position for birth.
Squatting is a position naturally and instinctively assumed by women throughout time to ease labor. In the weeks leading up to delivery, squatting for short periods each day also can strengthen and tone your leg muscles, which will come in handy when you’re in labor and need to push. Squatting during the first stage of labor also will allow gravity to assist your baby’s way into your birth canal and can shorten your second stage of labor, when you push.
Stand with your feet no farther apart than the width of your shoulders, then lower yourself until your backside is just above the floor. Your balance probably will be a bit off as you near the end of your pregnancy, so don’t hesitate to hold onto something for support: Just make sure whatever it is will not move with your weight, such as a lightweight chair. A heavy nightstand would be ideal, or a partner also can help you. Your heels should stay flat on the floor while you lower yourself and rise again.
If your baby has not positioned himself properly for birth, squatting can be harmful. You should never attempt to begin squats as a means of inducing labor until your doctor has ascertained the position of your baby and given you the go-ahead. He must be in the anterior position, with his head down and his back facing the front of your pelvis. If he’s breached, with his head up, or in the posterior position, facing your front, you should not try to get him to descend because once he does he will be unable to move into proper position.