Latest posts by Rhondda Hartman (see all)
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HOW TO SQUAT AND WHY
The squat is the position you will assume to give birth. It opens the “baby door.” The pelvis is pulled as wide open as it can get. So get busy and limber up those squatting muscles! The wider apart you hold your legs during the pushing stage of labor, the sooner the baby can be born.
Squatting is healthy because it develops better circulation in the perineal area, which leads to better muscle tone and healthier tissue. One of the benefits post birth is that your tissues are healthy from the increased attention to them. After the typical stretching that childbirth creates, your tissues will more quickly resume their normal state.
- Bend your knees as you lower into a squat position.
- Keep your heels on the floor and your toes straight ahead.
- Keep weight on the outer edges of your feet as much as possible.
- Place your arms between your knees so that your shoulders and knees are close together.
- Use this position only as long as it is comfortable — actually, very short times.
- Even if you can stay in the squat position for a longer time, be careful, as you may feel “fused” into a squat position before you know it.
If you cannot balance and you keep falling back into a sitting position, here are some helpful hints.
• Hold on to a heavy object such as the bottom of a chest of drawers, a bed leg, the lower cupboards in the kitchen, the bottom of a closed door — anything that will support your weight and yet keep your hands low enough to maintain a proper squat position.
• Here is another way to learn to squat by pairing with someone else.
Each of you will act as a counter-weight to the other. Grasp your partner’s wrists then slowly lower yourselves, while at the same time pulling against the body weight of your partner. Your back remains straight and your arms are outstretched. Keep lowering yourselves to the squat position. Once you are squatting, maintain it by leaning your shoulders forward between your knees.
• My final suggestion for learning to get into a squat is to stand close to a wall with your back pressed against it. Slowly slide your back down the wall until you are in a squat. Then you need to find your balance as you lean forward.
If squatting is difficult for you, do not be discouraged. Keep trying, using all these helpful tricks, and you will be squatting with ease in no time!
GETTING UP FROM A SQUAT
To come up to a standing position, push your tailbone toward the ceiling as your legs straighten, then raise the upper portion of your body upright. Use your hands on your thighs to help push yourself up. This helps tilt the heavy uterus up and out of the pelvis.
It is a variation of the pelvic rock. Think of it as a vertical pelvic rock.
LIFTING FROM A SQUAT TO PROTECT YOUR BACK
Warning: you must not lift any weight from a squat position as you come up from the floor using your back, as described above. It is a nice pelvic rock, but you are using your back for this maneuver. Your back does not need any more weight to lift than the baby in the uterus!
Therefore, when lifting anything heavier than an article of clothing from the floor, use your legs, not your back. It is simply using good body mechanics.
HOW TO LIFT
After you are in the squat position, change your posture from the squat to a position with your feet diagonal; that is one in front of the other and shoulder width apart, which creates a much larger base and gives you better balance. Keep your back straight as you use your thigh muscles to lift yourself into a standing posture.
Since pregnancy sometimes causes slight dizziness as you change position, a chair or table nearby can be grasped with one hand to steady you. If you are lifting a heavy object, remember to use your legs, not your back. As a mother, you will be lifting often!
WHERE and WHEN:
Squat anytime you find it necessary to reach low: getting into lower cupboards, gardening, picking up laundry or light objects, caring for children, changing diapers, tying shoes, loving, hugging, or talking to a child, helping dress, buttoning, showing things, explaining … the opportunities are endless. Use it often and remember that it is getting you ready for the birth.