Oh, the magical rebozo. A doula’s aid; an extension of a birth partner’s arms; support, balance, and relief for a birthing parent; and a beautiful symbol of Mexican culture. Entire trainings and certifications have been dedicated to this simple piece of cloth that make a difference in so many ways during pregnancy, labor, postpartum, and beyond.
A rebozo is a long, woven, rectangular scarf that is used in Mexico. Historically Mexicans 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 this beautiful tool to has been used help solve everyday problems, and served different roles and purposes throughout Mexican history, be they religious, practical, or rebellious. Below are a few ways that pregnant and laboring parents can use the rebozo for support.
Relieving Pressure and Pain
The rebozo can be used to relieve pressure on a pregnant person’s back. It can also help a baby engage in the pelvis during labor, and help a parent feel more supported as they work through contractions.
When a birthing parent pulls on a rebozo during pushing, it can help them push more effectively. Pulling on the tails of the rebozo sends downward pressure into the pelvic floor, helping the baby descend. It can also help the laboring person feel more grounded and connected to their partner.
Soothing and Promoting Relaxation
Dragging a rebozo over a person who is resting during pregnancy, early labor, or after receiving an epidural can help them to relax and let go. Maybe they can even fall asleep! As the heavy rebozo slowly passes over the entire body, parents 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 the pelvis during pregnancy and can leave pregnant parents feeling achy. When the rebozo is wrapped low around the hips (under the belly) a support person can squeeze the rebozo to create counter pressure on the hips. This helps to relieve pressure from the baby’s head and support 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 parents, birth partners, and support people. 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.