I.4A Generate Positions of Power During Active Labor and Delivery
Women all over the world give birth squatting, leaning or even standing. In the United States, it is customary to lie down on our backs. Not only does this prevent women from using gravity, but in that position, your uterus also compresses major blood vessels, potentially depriving the baby of oxygen and making you feel dizzy or queasy. Squatting is especially effective when you are ready to push. In fact, squatting is sometimes called the ‘midwife’s forceps’ because of its ability to work with, not against, gravity, enlarge the pelvic opening and speed the pushing phase of labor. That all being said, once a woman has received an epidural for anesthesia, she is confined to the bed, in a lying position, for safety. An epidural also prevents birthing mothers from receiving the same typical biofeedback from contracting the inferior half of their body. We need a device that allows women, especially those who are confined to bed during active labor, to activate the same muscle groups and positioning and access the same power that is generated from a squatting position.
There has been very little innovation addressing active phase labor and delivery. The only device I am aware of is a squat bar which, if the hospital has one, attaches to the hospital bed and goes above the bed and really is used just to help the laboring woman to balance if she chooses to stand on top of the bed and squat. This bar is not designed to help generate power or ideal positioning. Again, this is not an option for women who have received an epidural.
According to the CDC the number of births for the United States in 2020 was 3,605,201. One study found that first-time mothers who squatted while pushing had labors that were 23 minutes shorter on average than women who labored semi-reclining. They also required significantly less oxytocin (Pitocin) to stimulate contractions. Additionally, they had less back pressure, fewer forceps or vacuum deliveries, and fewer and less-severe perineal tears and episiotomies.