During a squatting birth, a woman squats during labor, supporting herself by holding onto her partner, the bed or a squatting bar, or by using a special stool, according to Robin Elise Weiss for About.com. Squatting works along with gravity and moves the uterus and pelvis into a position conducive to delivery.
A squatting birth decreases the amount of time a woman spends in labor, states Aleisha Fetters for Parents magazine. Using this position creates a wider pelvic opening, delivers more oxygen to the baby and the uterine muscles, aids in cervical dilation and reduces pain. Fewer interventions, such as episiotomy, forceps and vacuum, are necessary when a woman uses squatting during labor, notes Weiss. This position encourages stretching and relaxation of the muscles on the floor of the pelvis and causes stronger, more intense contractions.
Squatting creates a strain on the knees, hips and ankles, so it is best for a woman to have support from her partner or a squatting bar, advises Fetters. A birthing stool or ball also provides welcome support without straining. For best results, practice squatting prior to labor, explains Weiss. By relying on a partner or a ball for support, a woman can slowly strengthen and condition her legs in the weeks prior to labor.