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Does habitual squatting ease childbirth?

This conversation was led by Gillian Bentley (Durham University), John Gorman (Independent Scholar), and Charlotte Roberts (Durham University). In this presentation based on a recent EMPH paper, the authors argue that a lifestyle of habitual squatting could have significantly improved childbirth outcomes and made labour easier for ancestral women. They apply principles derived from engineering to discuss the morphology of the pelvic anatomy and how habitual squatting could widen the pelvic outlet and increase flexion at the sacra-iliac joint. We discuss problems in attempting to assess this hypothesis given that few populations exist that still habitually squat, their accessibility for examination using suitable technologies is difficult, and the likelihood that frequent squatters would also experience nutritional deprivation affecting women’s optimal growth and development.

Image of Charlotte Roberts, John Gorman, and Gillian Bentley








Resources discussed:

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