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Birthing mothers may not be aware of the various assistive equipment out there to help ease the pain of childbirth and to help the process along as naturally as possible. Be sure to discuss these options with your obstetrician or midwife.
The Birthing Bar
The birthing bar is an upside-down U-shaped device that attaches to the bed. It is helpful during a squatting birth position. During a contraction, move forward to squat and lean on the bar.
You can also tie a sheet or towel over the top of the bar (crossbar), and then pull back on the sheet or towel as you push. This use is ideal for women who have had an epidural.
The Birthing Stool
The birthing stool is usually made of wood and shaped similar to a toilet. Some have slots cut where hands can grip on either side of the thighs.
Research has shown that mothers seem to lose more blood using this method, but it is unclear whether the amount of blood is actually more than in those births in other positions, or if it is simply that the blood is easier to collect and measure in this position.
The Birthing Ball
The birthing ball is the same kind of ball as that used in physiotherapy. As a birthing assistive device, the birthing ball:
• encourages the natural swaying or rotating motion of the pelvis, allowing the baby to travel more easily through the birth canal and alleviating pain
• supports the perineum preventing the possibility of tearing
• helps keep the baby aligned in the birth canal
• facilitates (through the squatting position) opening of the pelvis
• allows the doula or other birthing support person to massage or apply counterpressure to the back (in a sitting position)
The ball can also be placed on the bed so the mother can kneel and lean over the ball. This position is known to be effective in turning a baby and helping labor along. This is particularly helpful for back labor and with babies presenting posteriorly (facing forward).
The Birthing Pool
The birthing pool is ... well ... a pool. It can be used in home births or hospital births (if the hospital allows it).