Pregnancy and labor outcomes in squat versus western style sitting toilet users: a pilot study

Pooja Singh, Sandhya Jain, Shalini Rajaram, Vinita Rathi, Bindiya Gupta, Kanika Kalra


Background: Squatting posture may appear outdated and primitive, but in the antenatal period, it is an important resistance exercise to strengthen the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles which are believed to potentially prepare the women for a more natural delivery. No study till date has evaluated the effect of type of toilet seat regularly used during pregnancy. This was a pilot study to assess obstetric outcomes in antenatal women using squat versus western style sitting toilet seat.

Methods: In an observational prospective pilot study, low risk primigravida at 28-32 weeks gestation were recruited from the outpatient department and divided into two groups after matching baseline characteristics. Group I (n=50) included women regularly using squatting type toilet seat and group II (n=50) comprised women using western style toilet seat. Pregnancy was followed till delivery; obstetric and neonatal outcomes were noted.

Results: Squatting group, as compared to sitting type seat users, had lower incidence of vaginal discharge (10% vs 16%), urinary tract infection(12% vs. 24%), constipation (2% vs. 6%), labor induction (52% vs. 58%), shorter second-stage duration (0.60 vs. 1.24 hours) and a higher incidence of normal vaginal delivery (94% vs. 86%), albeit not statistically significant. NICU admissions (16% vs. 20%) and mean birth weight (2.83 vs. 2.97 kg) were comparable in the two groups.

Conclusions: Squatting type toilet seat users had many favourable obstetric outcomes, especially a higher incidence of normal vaginal delivery; although, the difference was not statistically significant. Large community based surveys in this regard can reveal the true effects of squatting type toilet seat on pregnancy and labour outcomes.


Squatting, Sitting, Toilet seat, Pregnancy, Labor outcomes, Delivery

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