If you’ve had a medication-free birth with a midwife or doula, you might have had your hips squeezed.
Having “the hip squeeze” is a way to relieve pain naturally and this comfort measure is used by doulas and midwives alike. But it can also be used by any birth partner to give comfort and pain relief during the labor process.
So, what is the hip squeeze and why does it work?
The proper term is Hip Counter Pressure and it is a great way to manage pain. It acts as a sort of massage and can feel really good because it helps relieve the pain and pressure as baby moves down the birth canal. There can be pressure – especially around the sacrum.
Hip squeezing or hip counter pressure can help by relieving that pain and pressure caused by stretching – and it can give your baby more room to descend.
There are many ways to help a birthing person with a hip squeeze. The birthing person can stand or lean over a birth ball or they can sit and lean forward like on a bed or a chair.
The birth partner puts their hands on the hip bones – making sure there is a hand on each bone, and the thumbs form a “W” shape and point toward the spine.
Apply pressure and push the hipbones in and up – towards the birthing person’s shoulders.
The birthing person can tell you how much pressure and you can also change hand position based on preferences (it can be helpful to say “do you want more or less pressure” or “do you want me to move my hands up or down”).
Not every birthing person likes a hip squeeze, so make sure to back off if it isn’t working.
At Everything Birth, we love supporting birthing people and their partners!