Does Squatting Help Induce Labor?

So, you’re pregnant, maybe close to your due date and you’re wondering, “what can I do to help induce labor?”

You know all the cliches, the obvious ways that you hear in film and TV to help induce labor. But what if they don’t work? There are plenty of things to try.

You’d probably think us mad to suggest a work-out during your third trimester. But, we aren’t mad and it can really help. 

It is beneficial for a lot of reasons, but it is advised that if you are feeling huge in your third trimester and you are struggling a bit, have someone there to help you, even if you use them as a balancing weight or as a work-out supervisor. 

Let us talk you through, the advantages, how to do it properly, how to use this technique for preparation of birth, and everything else you need to know about using this technique to help get your baby moving down that birth canal. 

The Advantages

  • Squatting can open your pelvic floor by an extra 10%.
  • Squatting can help to create more room for the baby to descend down your birth canal.
  • During your third trimester, squatting can help you to strengthen your legs will help you with this exhausting time, with labor itself, and with that final push.
  • Can help reduce labor time by over ten minutes if it is done primitively.
  • Can help to decrease the need for intervention such as vacuum deliveries.
  • Gravity helps the baby descend.
  • Eases constipation and pressures on the pelvic floor- which is an absolute god-send in the final trimester.  

How To Squat Properly For Labor

If you intend on squatting to help induce labor, or to help relieve the pressures of your final trimester and birth, you need to make sure you do it correctly.

Some may assume that exercise squats are simply just like crouching down to see something on the bottom shelf at the store.

They aren’t and you need to make sure that you do it properly to best benefit you and also to avoid doing any damage or hurting yourself by doing it wrong.

Here is how to do squats properly to help induce labor. 

- Stand straight with your feet at shoulder-width apart, no more, no less.

- Lower your body until your hips and bum are inches from the floor. 

(Be mindful of your balance, especially if you are in your final weeks and may feel a bit front heavy- if you need help with your balance you can use a kettlebell or ask someone for some assistance either as a supervisor or as a counterweight.) 

- Keep your heels on the floor.

Do not balance on your toes or on the ball of your foot. Your foot should be fully flat on the floor and your weight should be focused more on your heels as to get the best result and strengthen the muscles you want.

- Raise up slowly and carefully back to your starting position.

Do this on repeat for as many times as you feel comfortable doing. Do not over-exert yourself, especially in the latter stages of pregnancy. Take it slowly and have someone to supervise you if you are struggling. 

Squats as Labor Prep

Squatting is beneficial in labor preparation, pregnancy, and birthing because it tilts the uterus and pelvis forwards which will help to place the baby in proper alignment for birth.

It encourages and strengthens the intensity of contractions to help reduce labor time and can also relieve back pain and pressure. 

(Note that aside from pregnancy squatting can be very good for back health and muscle strengthening in your legs, glutes, and your back and core muscles- in certain conditions as well they can be done post-partum also to ease pain and help return your body to normal)

Squats can also reduce your need for an episiotomy because the position can help to relax and strengthen your pelvic floor. Some women may squat throughout labor while other may choose to reserve it for actual birthing, there is no right or wrong way to do this, just listen to your body. 

If you do want to squat during labor you should inform your provider in advance as they can give you tips, advice and make sure that you understand and know any of the safety precautions that may need to be taken. 

When Can’t You Squat?

While squatting is very good for both you and your baby during pregnancy, labor, and birth, there are some times when it is not advisable to do so. Remember that everyone and every birth is different. 

While squatting in the later stages of labor is often preferred, sometimes the baby’s position may not be suitable for this, if the baby is not in optimal position is can be inadvisable for you to squat. 

It is also not advisable for you to squat if you are having an epidural, as it may be unsafe or even impossible for you to do so. However, sometimes a seated squat can be done. 

As birthing and labor both involve strong physical movement, squats are a great strategy to encourage labor and birth naturally. They can make it easier on both mother and baby and some may recommend doing squats as long as you feel able to help make the birthing process easier. 

One time that squatting is a major no-go zone is if your baby is breach. Do NOT squat if your baby is breach, as this would force the baby to descend without giving time or chance to move into the proper optimal position. If you want to squat be patient wait for your baby to move head down before you squat. 

Squatting is a great way to make birth a little easier for you and your baby, it helps labor, discomfort, and strengthens those muscles that you will need when your baby is ready to come, it can make the whole process much less strenuous by moving your pelvis into the correct position.

Birthing via squatting is also a very natural way to give birth and can also be much easier as your pelvis and spine are correctly aligned to enable the baby to move through the birth canal with ease.

Make sure that if you decide to squat during labor or birth (or both) that you do so safely and only when you are safe and comfortable doing so.