What a Pooping Unicorn taught me about birth

Have you seen the video for the Squatty Potty?  It features a unicorn pooping rainbow ice cream and a lot of talk about your sphincter.

My 7-year-old daughter LOVES this video (Poops + unicorns = hilarity).  Shout out to my dad for sending it to us.  I've now had to listen to my daughter talking about unicorn poops for a week.

Did you know that our bodies were designed to squat?  And not just for pooping.

My 94-year-old grandmother squats when gardening and sometimes just to hang out.  She was born in Indonesia, and like many other Asian countries, squatting is considered a normal part of everyday life.  

When I took my yoga teacher training, squatting was an essential part of our practice.  Poses like Garland (Malasana) encourage the hips to open and is always taught in my prenatal yoga classes.

How does this relate to birth?

According to Evidence Based Birth, "For women without an epidural, pushing in an upright position is associated with a decrease in the risk of episiotomies, vacuum and forceps-assisted deliveries, and fetal heart rate abnormalities, an increase in the risk of second-degree tears, and a possible increase in the risk of having blood loss more than 500 mL"

That's pretty great news!  But it's not just for pushing.  Squatting lengthens the pelvic muscles and can actually provide some relief while labouring.  

What about if you have an epidural?

The great news about epidurals is that it numbs pain and sensation and allows mothers to rest.  The not so great news is that it restricts movement (since it's not safe to rely on your legs due to loss of sensation).  So during labour, rest, and when it comes to pushing, your partner and/or doula can help you into an assisted squat using a rebozo or squatting bar (if the facility you are giving birth in has one).  And studies have shown that women with epidurals who remain upright in the second stage of labour can shorten labour (ask us about the Queen of Sheba throne!)

As birth doulas, we know squat.  And now, I'm going to get some ice cream.

What position did you use to birth?  Tell us in the comments below!