Oh, the magical rebozo. A doula’s right (and left) hand man; an extension of a birth partner’s arms; support, balance, and relief for a birthing mom. Entire trainings and certifications have been dedicated to this simple piece of cloth that make a difference in so many ways during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum.
A rebozo is a long, woven, rectangular scarf that is used by cultures around the world, but is particularly prominent in Mexican culture. Historically Mexican women have used the rebozo as a garment, a carrying aid for transporting large bundles or babies, a support during pregnancy and labor, and even a tourniquet. There is no shortage of creative ways that women have used this beautiful tool to help solve everyday problems.
While you can find many styles of lovely, ornate rebozos in a wide range of prices, even a simple towel or sheet can help serve a similar purpose in a pinch. Below are a few ways that pregnant and laboring women use the rebozo to help them cope.
Relieving Pressure and Pain
The rebozo can be used to relieve pressure on a pregnant mother’s back. It can also help a baby engage in the pelvis during labor, and help a mom feel more supported as she works through contractions.
When a birthing mother pulls on a rebozo during pushing, it can help her push more effectively. Pulling on the tails of the rebozo sends downward pressure into the mother’s pelvic floor, helping her baby descend. It can also help the mother feel more grounded and connected to her partner.
Soothing and Promoting Relaxation
Dragging a rebozo over a mother as she rests during pregnancy, early labor, or after receiving an epidural can help her to relax and let go. Maybe she can even fall asleep! As the heavy rebozo slowly passes over her entire body, mothers find a sense of calm and being nurtured. Feeling loved and cared for can help labor hormones bring more effective contractions.
The hormone relaxin loosens a mom’s pelvis during pregnancy and can leave her feeling achy. When the rebozo is wrapped low around a mom’s hips (under her belly) a support person can squeeze the rebozo around her. This helps to relieve pressure from the baby’s head and supporting the pelvis. This technique is useful during pregnancy, labor, or postpartum.
These are just a few of many, MANY ways that a rebozo can be used by moms, partners, and doulas. Parents can learn much more about how to use the rebozo in a Birthing from Within class.
In addition to being a DONA certified doula and certified Birthing from Within mentor, Nikki is also Rebozo Certified! She enjoys usuing the rebozo at births, helping partners learn to make the rebozo part of their labor support, and helping doulas in training understand how to use this tool to support birthing families.