A cohort study was designed to assess the effects of maternal squatting position for the second stage of labor on the evolution and progress of labor, and on maternal and fetal well-being. Outcomes from 200 squatting births, randomly selected from a sample of 1000, were compared with 100 semirecumbent births, randomly selected from a sample of 300. Data collection was by chart review. The two groups were similar with respect to most antepartal, intrapartal, and socioeconomic variables likely to affect labor outcomes. The mean length of the second stage of labor was 23 minutes shorter in squatting primiparas and 13 minutes shorter in squatting multiparas than in semirecumbent women. Squatting women required significantly less labor stimulation by oxytocin during second stage (P = 0.0016), and they showed a trend toward fewer mechanically assisted deliveries. Significantly fewer and less severe perineal lacerations occurred, and fewer episiotomies were performed in the squatting group (P = 0.0001). No statistically significant differences were found between groups for third-stage complications and infant complications.