There are many birthing devices since more than millennia to aid the women in labor. But the beginning of birth chair use during labor turned out to be a brilliant aid for women and a clever resource for midwives. Here is everything you need to know about birth stool and its benefits.
What is birth stool?
A birth stool (also called as birth chair) is a device which assists women to be in physiological upright position during childbirth. Women have always found physical support and comfort from friend’s or relative’s laps during childbirth. The birth stool is a replacement and a practical enhancement of it. It gives balance or support to mothers during childbirth procedure.
Birthing chairs support the bottom of the women in labor and usually have a slender, sloped back to provide comfort to the laboring mother and to allow birth assistants or partner or any other supportive person, who is positioned behind the mother, to support her or massage her. Birth chairs also have armrests or handholds for the mother to grip during labor and this provides extra leverage during delivery. Birth stools are generally 20 to 25 cm (8 to 10 inch) off the ground. This helps the mother in labor to brace her feet against the ground to help in pushing.
How to use the birth stool?
Different positions and various movements using birth stool can help with progress and comfort during labor. Here are some tips to use birth stool:
1. With a supportive person
The supportive person could sit behind you or kneel in front or back of the stool to provide support for a comfortable birthing position. A birth stool also helps you to be in an ideal position for the supportive person to massage or apply the heat pack to reduce discomfort during labor.
Squatting during birth helps in increasing the pelvic opening and descents the baby further down. Practicing squatting using birth stool during pregnancy strengthens your legs for squatting during childbirth.
In the first stage of labor, many women find that kneeling reduces pain during birthing. Birth stool can be used as a support in kneeling position or could be used to rest in between the contractions. In the second stage of labor, kneeling with upper body leaning forward on to the birth stool could help in the progression of labor. Also, kneeling provide easy access to your back for a back massage or heat pack application or to provide counter pressure during contractions.
Rocking helps in the progression of labor and dilation of the cervix using gravity. Movements such as swaying, walking during labour are effective ways of coping up with the pain and discomfort. Birth stool could support rocking or swaying motion in a number of orientations.
In the first stage of labor, Standing or lunging with one foot on the birth stool could be useful in increasing the efficiency of contractions and progressing labor.
Benefits of birth stool:
1. Gravity plays a major role
By being in an upright position using birth stool during labor and childbirth, you could work with gravity and your body’s natural functions. This assists in baby’s descent and pelvic opening.
2. Fewer interventions
The birth stool aids childbirth using gravity and more effectively your muscles. This reduces the need for interventions such as forceps or episiotomies
3. Efficient Contractions
Rocking or swaying motions using birth stool works with the gravity. This helps in efficient contractions and shortens the labor period.
4. Less pain
Since lying down could have all the weight on your back and make you push against the gravity causing more pain during delivery. In case of birth stool, the birthing procedure is of less pain as it works with the gravity.
5. Increases pelvic space
Lying down reduces the pelvic diameter by about 30%. Being upright opens up pelvis whereas lying down closes it. Hence, using birth stool during birthing could make childbirth easier.