Among many other physical exercises effective during pregnancy, it is recommended to practice squats to induce labor. Many believe that childbirth is a natural instinct and should not frequently require medical intervention. Our modern lifestyle may have impacted the ways our bodies react, but we can still adopt certain measures that help offer relief to the body.
Pregnancy is a natural phenomenon for which all female bodies are naturally designed, but that does not make it a cakewalk. As pregnancy progresses, the increasing weight of the growing baby bump shifts the body’s center of gravity, making it difficult for a pregnant woman to balance and carry out even simple and regular tasks.
The associated aches, pains, and difficulty sleeping can make things worse, and as the gestation period nears its end, the anxiety of childbirth can overwhelm you. You may seek medical help to induce labor if you are overdue. Always check with your doctor to confirm what’s safe for you. Read on to learn how to do squats to help induce labor and its benefits.
Advantages of Doing Squats To Induce Labor
Here are some advantages of squatting:
1. The American Pregnancy Association recommends squatting during labor. According to them, squatting can open your pelvic outlet by 10 percent.
2. When you squat to induce labor, it creates more room for the baby to move down into the birth canal.
3. Squatting during the third trimester helps strengthen your leg and abdomen muscles. Strong legs and belly are a must when it comes to labor and the final push to give birth.
4. According to a study conducted by Gardosi And colleagues, squatting, the primitive style, can decrease your labor time by 11 minutes (1)! That’s a long time when you are in active labor.
Sometimes labor might be viewed as a pathological process where women need to stay tied to the stirrups. But a number of studies show that free movement during labor can make the process of giving birth shorter and easier (2). With gravity at work, your baby has a better chance of coming out to meet you faster.
How To Squat To Induce Labor?
Squatting is one of the easiest exercises you can try during pregnancy. Here’s a step by step guide to help you:
1. Stand with your feet shoulder length apart.
2. Now lower your whole body till your hip is just a few inches above the floor.
3. Take care of your balance during the final few weeks of the pregnancy. You can take support of a kettlebell or can also ask your husband to help!
4. Make sure your heels lie flat on the floor while squatting.
5. Now rise back again to the original position.
Repeat as many times as you feel comfortable. Just don’t push your body beyond its limit.
Word Of Caution
Though squatting to induce labor is harmless in most cases you need to keep some points in mind.
If your baby is in breech position, squatting can prove to be harmful. This is because squatting will force it to descend in to the birth canal without giving him or her the chance to move into proper position. So talk to your doctor to make sure your baby is head down before you try squatting.
It is also important to discuss other complications with your doctor before you take squats to induce labor.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can squatting break my water?
Squatting in the first and second trimesters is usually not a cause for concern. Squatting in the third trimester, especially in the last couple of months, is not recommended. During this phase, the baby descends into the upper pelvis, and strenuous squats may increase the risk of breaking the water (3).
2. Does squatting help contractions?
Yes. Squatting during labor promotes and intensifies the intensity of contractions, the second phase of labor (4).
3. Does squatting help dilate the cervix?
Yes. The squatting position expands the size of your pelvis during labor and uses gravity to promote your baby’s downward movement by applying pressure to the cervix for dilation (5).
The American Pregnancy Association suggests doing squats during pregnancy as it helps relax your pelvic muscles and aids in opening the birth canal. Studies have also shown that squatting before delivery will also reduce labor time. However, make sure you have proper support or take your husband’s help while doing the same. It is advised to consult your doctor about the position of your baby and the safety of performing squats to avoid any unwanted complications during the delivery.
- Jason Gardosi et al.; (1989); Squatting in the second stage of labour: a randomised controlled trial.
- Teri Shilling et al.; (2007); Care Practice #2: Freedom of Movement Throughout Labor.
- Not All Squats Are Created Equal in Labor & Birth.
- Janesh K Gupta et al.; (2017); Position in the second stage of labour for women without epidural anaesthesia.
- Birthing Positions.
Dr. Miguel Angel Razo Osorio(MD)
View Profile ›