A few months ago, I posted on the importance of squatting. I even set a weekly goal to accumulate 10 minutes in a squat. I will admit that I still cannot hold 10 minutes continuously but I’m very close. I break it up into 4-5 minute increments, and I’ve been focusing more on my foot position and lower back position.
I instruct all my pregnant patients to practice squatting daily, especially if they have never incorporated squatting into their fitness routine.
The are numerous reasons why I instruct my pregnant women to practice squatting, but the main reason is that it will make labor so much easier. In 1969, the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the British Commonwealth found that squatting increases the available area in the birth canal by 20 to 30%. That’s a lot of room!
Think about it. Sitting on the toilet has made women incapable of prolonged squatting. You hips do not go below 90 degrees when sitting on a toilet. Driving for hours upon hours does nothing for your deep squat abilities or your low back health.
Given the aid the role of the squat plays in giving birth, why then is the conventional position for birth in America is reclined on your back? This position naturally restricts the birth canal. But, that’s nothing doctors, forceps, vacuums, and drill sergeant-like cues to, “Push!” can’t handle, right?
It isn’t uncommon for cultures to give birth in the squatting position, and their average labor times are much less than those in the U.S.. For a first-time mother, an average labor time can be 12-18 hours in the United States!
Competence in the squat can be a meaningful skill throughout pregnancy. A deep squat means weight in heels, feet at eleven o’clock and one o’clock, and chest up with an open heart. The ability to hold a deep squat will promote a quicker and more comfortable delivery.