Say goodbye to traditional birthing methods and hello to the birthing sling.
This innovative tool has revolutionized how mothers experience labour and delivery, providing various benefits for mothers, partners and babies.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of birthing slings, exploring what they are, their benefits, how to use them, and tips for choosing the right one.
I will also talk about a few first-hand experiences from mummas and partners and how they found using the birthing sling.
Get ready to learn how the birthing sling can transform your birth experience and take you one step closer to a positive and empowering birth journey.
What is a birthing sling?
Birthing slings may sound like a modern invention, but the concept of birthing in an upright position holding onto ropes of some sort, dates back centuries.
In fact, for much of human history, women gave birth while standing, squatting, or kneeling.
The concept of dangling or hanging in labour has been used in different cultures for centuries.
It wasn’t until the 16th century that the lithotomy position (lying on the back with feet in stirrups) became popularized by male doctors who found it easier to operate this way.
Fast forward to modern times, and we’re finally realizing that maybe men shouldn’t be calling the shots when it comes to birthing positions.
This is where the birthing sling comes in, a tool designed to support a mother in various upright positions during labour and delivery.
Simply put, a birthing sling is a fabric device that wraps around the mother’s hips, upper body, or back, supporting her weight and allowing her to move comfortably into different positions.
This can help to open up the pelvis, reduce pressure on the spine and perineum, and promote relaxation during contractions.
By using a birthing sling, women are reclaiming their right to birth in a way that feels most natural and comfortable to them, and they’re seeing some incredible benefits as a result.
So, if you’re ready to join the revolution and experience a better birth, let’s dive deeper into the world of birthing slings and see what all the fuss is about.
Benefits of using a birthing sling
Whoever said that birth is supposed to be a painful and traumatic experience obviously hasn’t heard of the birthing sling.
Not only does it provide a comfortable and secure place for mothers to give birth in an upright position.
It also comes with a host of benefits that can make the entire birthing process a lot easier for mumma, partner, and baby.
#1 – Reduces pain and pressure
Have you ever hung off something and just let your body dangle?
Maybe it was a monkey bar at the park or your partner’s strong arms after a long day at work.
Whatever it was, you probably felt an immense feeling of relaxation as your muscles and joints loosened up.
Well, imagine that same feeling during labour and delivery – that’s exactly what a birthing sling can provide.
By suspending the mother’s weight, the sling takes the pressure off the pelvis and spine, allowing the mother’s body to relax and open up more easily.
This means less pain and pressure during those intense contractions, making the birthing experience more manageable and enjoyable for both the mother and partner.
Plus, the increased mobility provided by the sling allows the mother to move and change positions more easily, which can further reduce pain and pressure.
#2 – Increases mobility
Who says you have to be confined to a bed during labour and birth?
Not us! With the use of a birthing sling, you can get up and move around, promoting better mobility for both you and your baby.
Being upright and mobile during labour has been shown to help reduce the duration of labour and even decrease the likelihood of needing interventions like forceps or vacuum extraction.
And with a birthing sling, you don’t have to worry about losing your balance or feeling unsupported.
This innovative tool provides a comfortable and safe way to move and change positions, helping you and your little one have the most positive birth experience possible.
So, say goodbye to being stuck in bed and hello to the freedom and mobility of the birthing sling.
#3 – Promotes relaxation
A birthing sling can help mummas-to-be relax during labour and delivery in a number of ways.
Firstly, the sling provides support for the mother’s body, taking the pressure off the lower back and allowing her to relax fully.
Plus, being in a comfortable upright position can also help the mother feel more in control and confident, which can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
Additionally, the sling allows for easy movement and shifting of positions, which can help alleviate any discomfort and encourage relaxation.
When you’re in labour, every little bit of relaxation counts.
#4 – Helps baby get into position
Let’s get real here.
Nobody wants their baby to be in the wrong position during labour and delivery.
That’s where the birthing sling comes in handy.
By allowing mothers to stay upright and move around freely during labour, the sling helps the baby get into the optimal position for birth.
And let’s not forget about gravity, folks.
It’s a powerful force that can work wonders during childbirth.
By staying upright, you’re allowing gravity to do its thing and bring your baby down into the birth canal and out into the world to meet you.
#5 – Promotes partner involvement
During labour and birth, the partner often ends up being the “birthing sling,” with mumma hanging off them like a baby monkey.
But let’s be honest, this can get tiring for the partner and can lead to a sore back the next day.
This is where the birthing sling comes in!
It allows the partner to free up their hands to offer support and encouragement while also giving them a chance to rest their arms and back.
The partner can offer other forms of support, such as massaging the mother’s back, holding her hand, or fetching her water.
This way, the partner can stay involved in the birth experience without sacrificing their physical comfort.
It’s a win-win situation for both mumma and their partner.
Plus, with the birthing sling taking over as the support system, the partner can focus on being present in the moment and connecting with mumma.
This creates a more positive and intimate birth experience for both of them.
How to use a birthing sling
So how do you use a birthing sling?
Don’t worry, it’s not rocket science.
First, you need to set it up.
Some birthing slings come with a ceiling anchor, but the most popular and easiest to use is the over-the-door anchor.
Just make sure you use it on a door that can be locked and won’t be needed by anyone else while you’re in labour.
Once it’s set up, the fun begins!
You can try a variety of positions, like the deep squat, standing up and backward lean, forward lean, kneeling positions, and even using the birth ball with the birthing sling.
The possibilities are endless!
But, to make sure you get the most out of your birthing sling, I recommend testing it out before labour begins.
Get a feel for how to adjust it and find some positions that work for you.
And, just to be on the safe side, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions as well.
We don’t want any sling-related mishaps during labour.
Tips for choosing the right birthing sling
So, you’re sold on the idea of a birthing sling, and you want to get one for yourself.
But how do you choose the right one?
Well, there are a few factors to consider.
First off, you want to make sure the material is comfortable for you.
You don’t want to be hanging around in a scratchy fabric.
Size is also important, as you want to ensure the sling can accommodate your growing belly.
And lastly, weight capacity is a key factor.
But how do you know if a sling is the right fit for you?
Well, the best way is to test out different slings and see which one works best for you.
You can ask your doula or midwife for recommendations or even try them out at a local birthing centre or store.
There are also a number of online stores depending on where you are in the world.
The Birth Sling is one of the most popular ones on the market globally right now, made in Australia by an Osteopath and Birth doula.
Don’t be afraid to get a little hands-on and see which ones feel comfortable and easy to use.
Remember, the right birthing sling can make all the difference in your birth experience, so take the time to find the one that works best for you.
As a birth doula who has used birthing slings with clients, I can attest to the amazing benefits they provide during labour and delivery.
One mother I worked with had been labouring for hours, feeling exhausted and frustrated.
We decided to try using the birthing sling to see if it would offer her some relief.
The moment she was able to relax into the sling, she let out a huge sigh of relief.
The weight was taken off her feet, and she was able to rest in between contractions.
The sling also allowed her to move and sway in ways that would have been difficult without it.
Another mother I worked with had a long and difficult labour.
When it came time to push, she was feeling incredibly fatigued and didn’t feel like she had the strength to do it.
We used the birthing sling to support her weight and help her find a comfortable pushing position.
Within minutes of using the sling, she was able to push with more ease and energy.
Her partner was also able to get involved in the birth by supporting her from behind while she leaned into the sling.
These real-life stories are just a couple of examples of how birthing slings can enhance the birth experience for both the mother and partner.
It’s amazing to see how a simple tool like the birthing sling can make such a difference in the labour and delivery process.
It’s time to put the birthing sling to the test
To wrap it up – using a birthing sling during labour and delivery can be a game-changer for both the mother and partner.
It promotes relaxation, reduces pain and pressure, and increases mobility during labour, leading to a more positive birth experience overall.
Don’t forget about the many positions you can labour in with the help of your birthing sling.
You can birth in positions, including front and back leaning, deep squatting, and kneeling, both normal and asymmetrical.
These positions can help open up your hips and move your baby down.
The birthing sling also allows partners to be more involved in the birth experience, freeing up their hands to offer support in other ways.
From hand holding and back rubs, to acupressure, your partner can be your own personal cheerleader (without the crippling back pain).
So, if you’re pregnant and preparing for labour and delivery, consider adding a birthing sling to your birth plan and birth bag.
Remember to choose a sling that is the right size, material, and weight capacity for you and to test it out before labour begins.
It’s worth exploring the many positions and ways that you can use the sling during labour to find what works best for you.
With a birthing sling, you can step into the future of birthing and transform your birth experience into a positive and empowering journey.