Connie Banack holding the rebozo as her client Maureen McMorrow demonstrates how to pull on it as she pushes in the now common semi-sit position of delivery.
During the pushing or second stage of labour it has been proven that pulling on something helps bring the baby down through the birth canal. The muscles used to pull with are the same ones that assist the uterus in pushing the baby down and out. This can be done various ways, such as hanging from a rope secured to the ceiling, pulling the handles of a birthing bed or pulling on the hands of another person. The "rebozo technique" uses this principal with a length of material, called a rebozo, where the labouring mother pulls on one end and an assistant pulls the other.
Sometimes when a woman goes into labour her baby is in the posterior position, or her baby is facing the front rather than towards the mother's backbone. This can prolong labour and make labour more painful. Here is a technique that has worked great when positioning and other methods have not worked.
Dr. Josť Luis using a rebozo to turn a posterior baby on a labouring mother with her husband looking on. Photo courtesy of Joni Nichols, the photographer. Used with permission.
"Besides requesting the woman to rest her head on the bed with her behind high in the air we pass a long piece of light fabric under her belly as low as possible. One of us then stands straddling her or slightly behind her (we are then facing her bottom) and holding each end of the fabric we gently rock the baby encouraging his/her forward movement (out of the pelvis) and rotation. The only "documentation" I have is the photo above of us doing this maneuver and the rotation and home vaginal birth that ensued! I would love to be able to say that at the time I have made a calculated determination of which way I am supposedly rotating the baby but it simply isn't so. I trust the baby to figure out which way s/he is going.... my job is to help him/her leave the confines of the pelvis long enough to find the space to do the job!"
We were at a birth for a client of mine who has had difficulty dilating in the past. Our technique of pushing the baby out of her pelvis manually and then giving a little turn had worked very well. The same thing happened at this birth and Kaye suggested we try the Rebozo technique. I was skeptical. Insisting that I "feel" what was going on while she manipulated the fabric, I inserted my fingers into the client's cervix and felt the baby lift right out of her pelvis as Kaye provided the muscle. And then (this is the cool part) Kaye rocked the baby back and forth in the fabric sling and I could easily feel the baby's head rotate and correct itself. It was truly amazing! We went one step further and slung another piece of fabric under the belly and I rocked it in a direction counter to the direction Kaye was moving. This was all very gentle and seemed unobtrusive. The baby was born an hour later. The best part was that it didn't seem as uncomfortable to the lady as the manual technique. I may be a pompous fool but I know when I am wrong and I was wrong! This technique works!! Thank you so much for sending it to us.
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