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rebozo sifting spinning babies

Birth Kit Cheat Sheet

The best way to practice these techniques is with hands on practice with a certified professional. If you haven't already attended classes with Jess at Mother Moon Hypnobirthing, this is a fantastic way to practice your birth kit techniques. 

Using Your Birth Kit

Elle TENS

What is a TENS machine?

A TENS machine sends small, safe pulses of electrical current that pass through your skin and into your muscles and tissues, which distracts your brain from focusing on painful stimuli with buzzing or tingling sensations. The intensity of the pulses can be increased or decreased in relation to the discomfort being experienced - which is where the Elle TENS becomes particularly helpful in labour. The BOOST function allows you to set a low intensity background pulse for between surges, and a higher intensity pulse for during surges. 

How does a TENS machine reduce pain?

The TENS machine reduces pain perception by:

  • Reducing pain signals reaching the brain

  • Encouraging the release of Endorphins, your body’s own natural pain relievers that can be 20-40x more powerful than morphine

  • It helps you feel in control of your labour sensations

  • It offers a distraction from surges

What does TENS feel like?

Many women describe the feeling of TENS as a tingling, or buzzing sensation on the lower back where the electrodes are applied.

When used correctly the TENS should never been painful, although the device is very powerful and can be uncomfortable if set to a high setting too early. Slowly increasing the intensity of the pulses as your brain readjusts to the sensation often provides the best relief.

When can I use a TENS machine?

You can use TENS from the very beginning of your labour. You could start using it when you’re getting regular surges or backache. TENS is most likely to be effective when applied in early labour, and used throughout. Some women find they prefer to remove the TENS machine in the later stages, and others enjoy the benefits right up until birth. 

How do I use a TENS machine while in labour?

A step by step guide to using a TENS machine during labour:

  • Check the machine is turned off before placing the pads on your back. It’s best to have another person such as your birth partner place the pads on your back for you.

  • Place two of the electrode pads on either side of your spine, with the tops of the pads at about bra-strap level.

  • Place the other two lower down, with the lower edge sitting just below your underwear line. 

  • Switch the machine on, starting with the controls at the lowest setting.

  • Turn them up gradually as your surges intensify, or when back discomfort increases.

  • Press the BOOST button during surges. The BOOST function results in more intense, wave-like tingling or buzzing sensations.

  • Turn off the BOOST button again when the surge has ended.

  • Mobilising in labour helps you to feel in control and will make the relief from the TENS more effective.

  • Some women find it takes about an hour to begin feeling the benefits of the TENS. Starting early in labour will allow the Endorphins to build up before surges become more intense. But if you have applied the TENS later, be patient if you don't notice relief immediately. 

  • If the pads start to lose their stickiness, turn OFF the machine, then rub a few drops of water into the gel side of the pads before putting them back on. The more firmly the pads are stuck on, the better they’ll work.

  • If you don’t think the pads are helping you after a while, take them off. You are in control of your labour and what is working for you. All other forms of pain relief, both allopathic and pharmacological, are still open to you.
     

When shouldn’t I use a TENS Machine?

Never use a TENS machine under the following circumstances, without talking to a midwife or obstetrician first:

  • Prior to 36 weeks gestation

  • When you’re in a shower, bath, or birth pool. Water and electricity do not mix.

  • If you have broken skin or a healing scar where the pads need to be placed.

  • If you have a cardiac pacemaker or a heart rhythm problem.

  • If you have pain that you don’t think is labour pain. See your doctor or midwife if this is the case.

  • On another part of your body than your lower back as pictures in the instruction manual.
     

What are the advantages of a TENS machine?
 

  • You can mobilise freely.

  • You can use it for as long as you want to and take it off if you want or need to.

  • There are no lasting side-effects.

  • It's safe for you and your baby.

  • You don't need an anaesthetist, doctor or midwife to help you use it.

  • It can be used for a home birth, or while labouring at home.

  • It's portable and non-invasive.

  • You are in control.

  • It's easy to use.
     

What are the disadvantages of a TENS machine?
 

  • You may need help to apply the pads properly. 

  • You may find it only gives you adequate relief in the early stages of labour.

  • TENS cannot be used in water, so must be removed if you wish to use the shower, bath or birth pool. 

  • If you want your birth partner to massage your back, they will have to work around the pads.

  • You will not be able to use a heat pack on your back as it will erode the stickiness of the pads, you can use a heat pack on your lower abdomen instead.

rebozo sifting posterior baby

Rebozo

Rebozo Manteada is the Spanish name of the Rebozo technique used by Mexican midwives. Manteada is a gentle sifting technique, like a rhythmic jiggle. It is done for pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and even fertility. We acknowledge and respect the indigenous custodians of this ancient wisdom and technique. 
 

Gentle sifting or jiggling with the Rebozo aims to:

  • Relax tight uterine ligaments and abdominal muscles

  • Help a baby rotate in pregnancy or labour more easily

  • Help a birthing person relax in labour
     

When NOT to use Rebozo

  • If there has been any vaginal bleeding

  • If Mama experiences any pain or discomfort during gentle jiggling

  • Use caution and be VERY GENTLE if there is an anterior placenta

  • Prior to 20 weeks gestation or if there has been a history of recurrent pregnancy loss 

abdominal lift and tuck to engage baby in labour

Abdominal Lift and Tuck

The Abdominal Life and Tuck must be done DURING a surge. 

We recommend repeating this for TEN surges in a row for best effect.

  1. Prior to a surge, weave your Rebozo cloth over your shoulders, and under your belly as shown. 

  2. As a surge begins, pull down on your Rebozo cloth to lift your belly, about 5cm. 

  3. Bring your belly in (towards your spine). Try to be as comfortable as possible.

  4. At the same time, tuck your bottom under. Your knees should be bent gently. Bending the knees, even just a little, is necessary to do a proper Posterior Pelvic Tilt, which open the inlet of the pelvis.

  5. Hold your belly up through the entire surge. It’s okay to sway or rock a little on your legs during the surge, but hold your belly in one place to avoid causing discomfort.

  6. When the surge ends, lean forward slightly and slowly release your Rebozo to lower your belly.

  7. Repeat the Abdominal Lift and Tuck for ten surges in a row, resting in between and circling your wrists and ankles for circulation.
     

You can also use your hands, or your partners hands to perform the lift.

holding acupressure comb wooden Birth Comb with I Already Am engraved

Acupressure Comb

Squeezing an acupressure comb during surges promotes the release of pain relieving Endorphins by stimulating pressure points in the palm of the hand. L.I.4 (Hegu) is a pain relieving and labour promoting point that is stimulated when you hold the comb with teeth facing down toward your thumb as shown. Placing the teeth of the comb along the palm where your fingers meet the palm of your hand can also stimulate the release of Endorphins. Choose the position that feels most comfortable for you. 

Our acupressure combs are engraved with a little birth affirmation: "I Already Am", which is a great reminder that you CAN do it, you are Already doing it (labour, parenthood, all the things).

Once labour is over and done, these wooden combs are lovely for de-tangling hair easily (so important with postpartum hair loss), and provide a tangible memory of the incredible day that you did an incredible job, bringing a new little life into the world.

They can also be useful for "combing" your breasts - you use the comb to stroke your breasts towards the areola, which can be handy for dislodging blocked ducts (best done in the shower under the flow of warm water).

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