The Surprise About Birth Tools & Accessibility
When it comes to birth tools and comfort measures, most hospitals and midwives have access to or provide a few options during birth such as a birth ball, peanut ball or birth stool. Your midwife may also have their own TENS machine they have on hand for births. But did you know many birthing persons will not have access to other valuable and helpful tools that can be used for comfort measure options, unless they hire a Doula?
As a Doula this blows my mind!
One of the things that I am passionate about is making sure that my clients know all the options they have available to them during birth as well as ALL of the comfort measure tools and techniques that can help their overall birth experience.
Several months ago I connected with different birth professional in our surrounding communities; Obstetricians, Midwives, Labour & Delivery Nurses and Doulas. When I asked them about comfort measure options, this is what I found.
Obstetricians knew of different comfort measure options but due to them only being present during the delivery they explained that they relied on the L & D nurses and they were restricted to whatever the hospital had on hand. Midwives knew of the comfort measure options and some even provided some of the tools themselves and often put them into practice. Similar to doctors relying on nurses, midwives and Doulas work together to be able to provide a full scope of comfort measure options. To my surprise though, many L & D nurses didn’t know what a TENS machine or a rebozo was. The few who did know what the tools were, had unfortunately never used them or didn’t know how to use them. The L & D nurses explained the main forms of comfort measures in their hospitals consist of a birth ball, peanut ball, birth stool, a bar for the bed or an epidural. Sounds like great options right?
But what does this mean for the labouring person?
This means that there are many birth tools and techniques that patients simply don’t have access to unless they have a Doula present. But does this really matter? A birth ball, peanut ball, birth stool and epidural seem like plenty of options, right? So I began to ask myself, do things like a TENS machine or a rebozo and other tools that the hospitals or midwives may not have on hand, really make a difference?
The answer is yes!
These tools allow the labouring person to cope with the sensations of labour in different ways. It allows them to maximize their options and helps reduced and decrease the risk of interventions and the rate of cesarean births. I mean, who doesn’t want that!? Birth is so different for everyone which is why having options during your birth experience is so important! Options. Options. Options.
Here are a few of the tools I have available for my clients and the benefits of each tool.
The Rebozo is a hand woven scarf that has been used for centuries to help women in labour, used to carry babies or in some cultures used to carry food. This hand woven scarf can be used in a variety of ways to help the labouring person manage the pains of labour and achieve positions that allow they to be supported and reserve their energy.
A TENS machine also known as Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, is a machine that is a battery operated device that send electric pulses to the nerve endings in your lower back. It is used to help with labour and often acts as a great distraction and comfort measure option.
The CUB is an upright birthing stool that is made of vinyl and inflates to provide maximum comfort during labour. It can be used in many different positions and has many benefits!
A birth ball is also a great tool for labour. It allows the birthing person to remain upright during birth and allows them to accomplish positions during labour that keeps the hips and pelvis open.
The peanut ball is another great too which is known for speeding up the labour process. It is very versatile and allows the labouring person to rest in a side laying position while still maximizing the space in the pelvis. It also works great with an epidural!
Your Doula is your comfort measure option!
Not only does your Doula bring an entire bag of tools, your Doula also comes with the knowledge of how to use these tools and tips and tricks for various situations that may arise in labour.
Labour slowing down? There’s a tool for that! Baby in a posterior position and need help rotating? There’s tools and tricks for that! Back labour? There’s tool and tricks for that too! What about longer labours? There’s tools and tricks for quicker labours too!
When I think back to my own labour, I remember having options. I had the option of a birth pool, a birth stool, a TENS machine, a rebozo, a peanut ball and more. In the end I decided that the birth ball and TENS machine were what worked best for me. We had the birth pool all set up and ready and in the end I decided to stick with the TENS machine and birth ball and delivered on the birth stool. But through it all, I always had a wide variety of options. You may not use all of these tools at your birth but at least you had options!
Talk with your Doula about the options you have available to you when it comes to pain management and comfort measure options.
Hey there, my name is Kayla. I am your Niagara Region Certified Doula & Birth Photographer. I live on the beautiful escarpment in Beamsville on our family owned and run farm.
I am a mama of two and absolutely love birth and babies!! I love the journey into parenthood and the transition along the way. I love how our hearts seem to quadruple in size the second we lay eyes on our baby and how we get to see the world from a whole new perspective as our kids grow and change.
As your Doula & Birth Photographer my goal is to help you have a positive birth experience. My goal is to eliminate any fears or worries going into birth and help you feel confident and empowered when birthing your baby.