Sifting, or jiggling, the entire abdomen can relax tight ligaments and may help a baby rotate in pregnancy or labor more easily, and help a birthing woman relax into her labor.
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There are more ways than one to relax!
Try the Rebozo sifting daily or weekly in pregnancy, and between contractions during early and early active labor.
Watch this video of a couple using the Rebozo in a labor induced with Pitocin. This is a couple for whom I was their doula.
She was induced at 42 weeks and 2 days. Her baby was born healthy and bright - her mom chose no pain reducing drugs. She was content with only the rebozo, freedom of movement and the use of light massage on her arms, soft talk and dim lighting for comfort.
How to do Rebozo Sifting
Use a wide, woven shawl or folded thin t-shirt style sheet or such. It has to be about 5-7 feet long.
Kneel in front of a chair, couch, or birth ball. The helper helps you to wrap the rebozo around your abdomen like a hammock around the baby.
Rest belly down, lean onto a chair. Use pillows for knees and chest for comfort as needed. Drape your arms over the ball, chair or couch rather than resting your weight on your hands.
Now the mother is in position to start. Here's what the helper does:
Have a trusted friend stand behind you and hold the ends of the material like reigns of a horse--Sorry, just helping you picture this. They lift the weight of your belly off your back, snug but not uncomfortable. Mothers sigh in relief at this point.
The helper lifts the belly enough to lift the weight of the womb from the mother's back. When the helper begins to sift the material won’t slide along the belly. Short movements are made slowly at first, and then with increasing speed. Not larger or wilder movements, just faster.
In several seconds, your belly is jiggling like you are being vibrated. Breathe freely, slowly and let your belly hang into it. It’s enjoyable. If not, tell the helper to adjust the speed or pressure of the rebozo.
Give your friend feedback so that they are not too broad with their movements or too mild, don’t lift too high or too little.
After about 2 minutes your friend’s arms will be tired and they should slow down gradually for several seconds before stopping.
When to do the rebozo sifting:
That varies !
- Weekly would be lovely.
- Each prenatal or pregnancy appointment with your helper, doula, bodyworker, friend, midwife, or cool and hip doctor (humor).
- In early labor, between contractions
- At 4 cm dilation in labor, when things are slow (between contractions)
- Begin any series of Spinning Babies techniques with Rebozo sifting for 2 minutes (til your arms are tired, longer is fine)
- Try this twice a day if you are in a time crunch to get baby repositioned.
When NOT to do the Rebozo
Done gently there is no danger.
Done vigorously with abandon to caution then there are times you shouldn't do it.
Done correctly, a useful rebozo session in pregnancy is moderately vigorous, but WITH caution and sensitivity to the mother and baby! The helpers slightly bent (soft) knees help them perceive the connection between the rebozo and the mother's body more sensitively than if the helper's knees are straight.
Never use the rebozo when their is a threat of miscarriage. For instance, history of more than one miscarriage in the past, or signs of bleeding or low cramping in early pregnancy.
When the round ligaments are tight or cramping in mid or late pregnancy, the rebozo wouldn't be dangerous to the baby, but could make the mother's round ligament spasm. So do only a lift and very gentle and slight rocking. Otherwise you might "set off" a round ligament spasm which hurts. If the mother isn't getting these spasms, you are not likely to set them off with the rebozo.
Do not perform vigorous or even moderate sifting with the rebozo or a rebozo substitute against an anterior placenta. This warning is intuitive, I know of no research on this. Early in pregnancy we wouldn't know and I think it would be ok if done gently without jerking, but late in pregnancy I want people to be extra careful!
Alternative ways of balancing the relaxation of the broad ligament will be
- Forward leaning inversion
- Diaphragmatic release
- Standing sacral release, and the
- Sidelying release (Pelvic Floor release)
- Maya Massage
- More Myofascial releases in general
- Craniosacral therapy
Just for fun, here is a short clip of women practicing the sifting technique with rebozo scarves at a birth doula workshop. They each have a different rhythm. Due to the workshop nature, the doulas are distracted. But this clip is shown for fun. If I had reminded them to "tune-in" to the "mothers" they would have been more attentive!
Before using the rebozo
Ask the mother if she is having frequent round ligament pain, in the abdomen above the pubic bone off to the sides, either side. Right where the midwife or doctor reaches to check for a head in a head-down baby. If she doesn't have pain or "zinging" there at times, she is not having round ligament pain.
The helper should slow themselves down, get calm, and "tune into" the mother and the calm mood desired to be achieved by this rhythmic technique.
After the rebozo, A pregnant or laboring woman can do a series of balancing exercises, Spinning Babies techniques, or simply rest, depending on the goal of the day.
A co-venture video experience with Spinning Babies and Blooma Yoga! Coming Soon!
Spinning Babies; Daily Essentials For Pregnancy Video.
Together Sarah Longacre, international prenatal yoga instructor and birth doula, and Gail Tully, yours truly, created a unique instructional video for flexibility and comfort in pregnancy and to support better fetal positioning in time for birth.
Here are daily activities for stretching and balancing a pregnant body. Start early in pregnancy to prepare to make the most space for baby's best birth position and the most ease for mother's opening during the birth process.
We begin the program for women of average flexibility (or just plain stiff to start with) and beginner tips. But soon, you'll be ready to move freely! That's when Sarah brings the stretches all together into her easy to follow, playful, sensual, and flowing "Blooma Style" daily routine.
Sarah's "dance of opening," moves joints and ligaments to come alive under the delightful melody and percussions of Carin Vagle. This isn't about core strength; its about freedom of movement and creating space in the body.
Sarah plays along with Gail's little game of "Flashlight" to show pregnant women how to evaluate their own posture and positions. Smart Maternal Positioning helps baby snuggle their backs into the front of the womb for Optimal Fetal Positioning.
The Daily Essentials For Pregnancy includes tips for using Maternal Positioning around the house. Actual scenes in the bedroom, living room -and even the bathroom- gives practical instruction like no other video. You will be sleeping more comfortably immediately when using these tips. Within a week or two many pregnancy discomforts of the pelvis and lower back may be reduced when all these nurturing techniques are integrated into your daily lifestyle. Spinning Babies and Blooma Yoga-- a natural collaborative!
Spinning Babies Childbirth Preparation Class.
Soon pregnant parents around the world can take a Spinning Babies class from their own monitor! Join six couples as they learn the reason why Spinning Babies works and how it can enhance your labor and birth.
See techniques to do daily or weekly. Actual, real consultations with two couples right at our class location, one with a breech baby (head up) and one with a baby in a transverse lie (lying sideways).
Couples do the techniques together and show you how to do these at home.
Used alone or with the Daily Essentials, Spinning Babies Childbirth Preparation Class goes beyond the basics. Simple props show complex concepts sweetly. Little-known anatomy is linked to childbirth and the role of fetal positioning.
The section on labor discusses two labor patterns- the one "promised" in other books and the unexpected one associated with the posterior labor. Learn the common causes of long labor and techniques to help baby through the pelvis.
Be empowered; be prepared. After using this video throughout your pregnancy, while we can't promise, of course, you may not need the tips for labor progress. You can use that knowledge to help your neighbor. This video is all Spinning Babies.
Blooma Yoga Prenatal Yoga for AM and PM.
Warm up in the morning and cool down in the evening in two 30-minute sequences. Sarah Longacre shares her own blossoming pregnancy, Blooma style, to the exquisite music of Carin Vagle. Sarah's affirmations will carry you through labor with emotional strength and encouragement. Play this video when the others become too basic and you just want to dance and have fun. Wait, dance? Isn't this yoga? With Blooma and Carin Vagle, your spirit won't know the difference. Soar to greater freedom of movement. Bring your hormones into harmony with the day. Begin your day with serious play. Cool down at night with a sleep enhancing stretch before bed. This video is all Blooma!
Sarah's video is ready for you now! Get Blooma's AM/PM Yoga here
All three videos are professionally produced by Melissa Koch of Grey Duck Productions, with stills by Tanya Villano Photography, each of these three videos are dynamic on their own. Together they will enhance your pregnancy and labor experience with fun and empowerment in the most practical manner. Feel hope for your birth abilities, this is support for your journey. Gain the confidence and flexibility to fully bloom. I believe these videos carry the potential to bring your best birth dreams into the gentle reality.
Compassionately priced. Estimated Due Date for Daily Essentials March 2014; for Spinning Babies Parent Class, Fall 2014.