- See also:–
• an Extended Report from a hospital midwife
• an obstetrician’s discussion of Breech Births on the BirthRite Birthing Seat
• a manual handling specialist’s perspective on relevant Occupational Health and Safety issues.
I found that by using the BirthRite I decreased my level of discomfort. I also found that the BirthRite made me be in a certain position which was conducive for me to bear down and push the baby out. I also found that being in a sitting/squatting position was more comfortable than lying or sitting on a bed or chair. When it was time to deliver my baby I was able to use the handles of the BirthRite which gave me more leverage and power to bear down. This was extremely beneficial to crown the head and then later to push out the rest of the baby’s body.
The BirthRite far excels above an inferior stool that I have used for birthing before or the toilet which is uncomfortable if you sit there for longer. The newly and well designed BirthRite gives the mother and her birth assistant excellent visibility and access, which the toilet can’t provide. I found the handles on either side great for assisting me to concentrate and push, and also for me to feel stable and safe whilst birthing.
I used the BirthRite when the contractions were fairly close together and intense. At that stage I did not feel like walking around and so the Seat offered me a very comfortable position where I still felt that I was being “active” in terms of the labour. I think this is because I felt very open and this helped me relax through the contractions and focus on dilating. The other valuable aspect of the BirthRite is that I felt myself and my partner were actively participating in the birth — the height of the Seat makes everything visible and accessible.
When I reflect on the images of Riley’s birth two thoughts come to mind: The position I was sitting on the BirthRite — leaning back and upright — allowed me to feel and focus on where my baby was sitting and where I needed to push to work with him. Being able to pull up using the handles of the Seat and push down into the shape of the Seat felt right, as my efforts and energies were being directed to the right places.
Once I got the hang of using the handles in the correct way, I found them very helpful. In the breaks between the contractions it was good to “perch”.
During the final stages of my labour, it felt completely natural and comfortable to be giving birth in the sitting position on the BirthRite. I personally believe it made my labour much simpler and easier, and I highly recommend it to every labouring woman.
More detailed stories from Women
An update on the BirthRite Floor Studio in Nagoya, Japan. We are happy to report that we have now used the Floor Studio for seven labours, and all the women liked using the Studio. We are hoping that these women will tell other women about their good experience, to increase interest in the Studio’s use.
— Fusako Nimii
Yamada Clinic, Nagoya, Japan
I enjoy the use of the BirthRite because it brings the labouring woman and myself on the same eye-level. We are all low on the floor — I usually sit on a little hospital stool — and the atmosphere in the room is calm. There is closeness between the woman, her partner and me, and the setting has something natural, earthy, about it. The labouring woman is in charge of her birthing process: she is the main player.
My favourite story is, I came on night duty one day and a woman was having her third baby. I knew no history except I was asked to go to the birth, without a report, so the night staff could go home. And I went into this woman and she was on the bed on one pillow and she was pushing and the head wasn’t coming and it looked to be really slow.
And the BirthRite — I looked over — was sitting there, so I said to her “Would you like to try the Seat?” and she said, “Yes”. She actually gave birth on the Birthing Seat and had an intact perineum.
Afterwards, she said to me: “At my first birth I had a 3rd-degree tear with a forceps, my second birth was a ventouse and I had a large 2nd-degree tear, and now I’ve had a normal birth without any stitches….” And I sort of thought later, maybe I wouldn’t have done that had I known her history, but in actual fact she had an intact perineum!
I encourage most of the labouring women to sit on the BirthRite in the later stages of labour as they seem comfortable sitting this way.
The BirthRite provides women with another valuable choice during childbirth.
I find the BirthRite very stable compared to other stools I have seen, and it is easy to deliver the baby.
The BirthRite provides us with an additional tool for the labouring woman. It provides women with a “supported squatting position”.
I find the use of the BirthRite effective for progress and head descent in second stage. The BirthRite feels like a comfortable toilet, really.
When the head is “stuck on the S-bend”, I find that, when I place the woman on the BirthRite, the head often comes free and arrives on the perineum fairly quickly. The BirthRite seems to have the perfect angle to assist baby’s descent. I have also observed that the incidence of perineal tearing is greatly reduced on the BirthRite.
I use the BirthRite when I suspect shoulder difficulties, as the woman opens her pelvis at a maximum angle and has great control over her pushing. Access to her and the baby is excellent. She can also be turned over on all fours easily, which is the next step at our hospital if we cannot free the shoulders. After the birth, the BirthRite is easy to clean.
(Read Janette’s extended report.)
The other day I looked after a primip who expected a large baby. The plan was to assist descent of the baby on the BirthRite and then help the woman onto the bed to deliver the baby with the McRoberts Manoeuvre. Every time the woman was put on the bed, baby’s head, which had been crowning on the BirthRite, disappeared back up the birth passage. Eventually the obstetrician agreed to have her push the baby out on the BirthRite. The head delivered well, and then the baby just slipped out easily. The baby weighed 4700 gm! The woman sustained only a perineal tear.
The position of the woman on the BirthRite enables her as well as the midwife to view her progress.
More comments from Midwives
I have found the BirthRite very useful in the management of women who have anticipated big babies, shoulder difficulties and breech babies. With this Seat they can achieve excellent pushing, and there is good access to the baby should manipulation be required. The McRoberts Manoeuvre is easily performed in this position. Additional suprapubic pressure is very easily and advantageously applied. The BirthRite does not cause as much congestion in the perineum as the older birth stools do.
— Dr Andrew Bisits FRACOG
(See also Dr Bisits’ discussion of breech births.)
As a general practitioner obstetrician for 17 years I have used the BirthRite for the past three years and found it to be a very useful aid for natural delivery, for both the accoucheur and the mother. My observation is that the women feel more in control when they are labouring on the BirthRite Seat, and they are able to be more effective with their bearing down. They often get more feedback from their pushing. Comparing that to being on the bed where women tend to have less stimulation on the perineum and aren’t quite in control of the situation.
You have to get down with the client for it to work. You have to be there on a stool low down. Some obstetric professionals might be uncomfortable with that. They would prefer to have everything up at a more efficient working height for them. Some are uncomfortable getting down on the floor. Some are uncomfortable responding to their women’s needs and look more to their own or the system’s needs rather than what works well for the women. I have found it comfortable sitting on a low footstool in front of the BirthRite. This allows easy assessment of the perineum and access during delivery without causing me lower back or knee strain.
I recommend the BirthRite as being functional, ergonomic and a great aid to natural birth.
— Dr Milton Sales MB, BS, Dip RACOG, FRACGP
General Practitioner Obstetrician
Many of the births I have attended have involved the use of a birth stool. At our teaching hospital I have often seen the BirthRite Seat in use. I have found it allows easy change of positions for the labouring woman and good access for the accoucheur, and it seems to optimise the effectiveness of pushing. In particular, I have seen it work very well in breech deliveries. I have not seen a better birthing seat.
— Dr Toni Saltis MB, BS, FRACGP, Dip RACOG
General Practitioner Obstetrician
If sitting or squatting is the most natural position for the woman, the BirthRite Birthing Seat can take the woman’s weight and allow better access to the perineum and the baby. It also gives the woman the chance to relax her legs more than if squatting. I have not had reports that staff or patients are being injured from working on the floor or when using the BirthRite.
It is my professional opinion that the BirthRite allows the woman to maintain a posture which is most conducive to a natural birthing position. The ergonomic design of the BirthRite enables the woman’s lumbar spine to maintain an optimum position, thus avoiding possible damage.
— Michael Schwager BSc, Grad Dip Chiro.
Recently my daughter and also my daughter-in-law gave birth to our grandchildren using the BirthRite. I was privileged to observe and assist during my daughter’s birth. The BirthRite was of enormous assistance to my daughter and allowed her greater comfort during the hours of labour pain. The BirthRite permitted her husband to sit behind her, thus supporting and comforting her during the entire birth. Both mothers express a high regard for the BirthRite.