Props for labor pain
What is a labor prop? It's pretty much any item that helps you weather the pain of labor. For example: a shower, a tub, a birthing ball, a rocking chair, a birthing stool, or a squatting bar.
Many props can be used for laboring at home. They can also be used at a hospital or birthing center if the facility provides them or allows you to bring them with you. Ask your healthcare provider what's allowed and what's provided at the place you plan to give birth.
Many women in labor use an inflatable exercise ball, sometimes called a yoga or birthing ball.
How it works: Sit on the ball. Have someone there to spot you so you don't roll off. While sitting, try leaning forward into a stack of pillows on a bed. This position allows you to stay in a squatting position and move your hips around while most of your weight is supported. Alternatively, lean over the ball while kneeling or set the ball on a chair and lean over it while standing.
These tubs are often used for home births, but some hospitals provide them as well.
How it works: Warm water may help you relax and manage contractions better. The buoyancy of your body in water makes it easier to move around, and the gentle pressure of the water on your skin reduces the sensation of pain.
A birthing chair or stool has a U-shaped seat that's very close to the ground.
How it works: It's designed to support your weight while you're in a squatting position. Have your partner stand or kneel right behind you so you can lean back and rest between contractions. Or lean over the stool as you would over a birthing ball.
This photo features the Kaya birth stool.
Some hospitals and birthing centers have squatting bars, which arch over the bed near the foot and are anchored on each side.
How it works: When you feel a contraction coming, you lean forward, grab the bar, and pull yourself into a squatting position. Push until the contraction is over. Then, if you like, lower yourself back down so you can rest between contractions.