If you’re a client of mine, you likely have heard the word “rebozo”. No, this is not someone who repetitively does stupid things (get it? Repeat-bozo? Rebozo? Oh man…) It’s actually a long piece of woven material traditionally used in many cultures for such multipurpose activities as carrying babies and household items, as a headscarf or sarong, or as a blanket. It can also be used in childbirth with great results.

Cats are not rebozo fans. Don’t try this at home.

Why Use a Rebozo During Labour?

Being usually around nine feet long and 11-14 inches wide, the rebozo has a unique shape that can’t really be easily replicated. Some use sheets, but these need to be folded over many times and often end up being too bulky to be effective. The rebozo is purpose built for helping out with labour-intensive birth-related movements, like the double-hip squeeze, or the booty shake. And I can’t tell you how valuable that can be in longer births! When you’re using your hands and arms to provide comfort, you need every bit of energy and strength you can get. They can assist birthers during the pushing phase, acting as something for them to pull on in order to leverage their core strength.

Rebozos are Beautiful!

Aside from the utilitarian aspects of the rebozo, it has some aesthetic qualities that shouldn’t be overlooked. Traditionally woven in bright colours and complex patterns, rebozos were passed down through generations as heirlooms. They tell the stories of the families who own them. This is a wonderful thing to think about in labour – how many other women have used this tool for comfort, and what are their stories? A bright and cheerful piece of fabric can be a welcome distraction in a hospital setting, where institutional furniture and fixtures dominate. It’s also nice to know where the rebozo comes from. I keep mine in my birth bag and carefully wash them after every birth. Whereas who knows who laid in those hospital bed sheets last and what kind of bad ju-ju is attached to them?!

So now that you’re convinced of how great rebozos are, where do you get one and how, exactly, do you use it? I am pleased to inform you that there is one answer to both those questions and that is: me! I have taken training in how to use the rebozo and how best to get my clients confident using it. My rebozos are hand-made and fairly traded, so there is definitely no bad ju-ju woven into them! In prenatal visits, I go over possibilities for using the rebozo in the last weeks of pregnancy and during labour with all my clients so that they’re comfortable with it before using it. It’s a great tool that I love to share.