Rebozo sifting: The natural pain relief technique many doulas and midwives in other countries use 2 years ago

Rebozo sifting: The natural pain relief technique many doulas and midwives in other countries use

Let's all agree that bringing a baby earth-side, while magical and life-changing in every way, is also very, very painful.

Having had two natural labours, I will be the first to admit that it was a pain like no other – but also, once it was all over, it was also (both times) the most powerful, amazing and elated I have ever felt. And I would do it again a million times over for that sensation alone.

However, yes, birth is painful – but there are also so many wonderful techniques to help with the pain and discomfort of labour – some of them you might not even be aware of or have heard of, even.


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Et innlegg delt av irina shlain ?☽ ☾ (@monkeymindwellness)

Take rebozo sifting – a traditional Mexican birthing technique still used by midwives and doulas today as a gentle and effective pain relief measure during pregnancy and labour.

What is it?

According to those in the know, a rebozo is a long, woven scarf-like garment popular in Mexico and used for many things, from carrying groceries and babywearing, to relaxing and repositioning mothers in childbirth.

Manteada is the Spanish name of the technique used with the rebozo, and is described as “a gentle sifting, like a rhythmic jiggle“.


The technique is also more and more frequently used by midwives in other parts of the world. For instance, in Denmark, rebozo sifting is used in around nine percent of labours where a woman has a planned vaginal delivery.

The sifting part refers to the different techniques a midwife or doula can use to help relieve the pain and discomfort the birthing mama is going through.

The most commonly used technique involves wrapping the rebozo around the woman’s belly as she kneels over an exercise ball. However, the rebozo may also be wrapped around the hips or buttocks as she leans against a wall or lies on a bed for support

A support person – either the birthing mum's partner or a midwife – holds the ends of the rebozo and uses it to gently rock the woman’s hips or belly from side to side in a rhythmic motion. These movements have been described as pelvic massage, rocking or jiggling.

Many benefits

The gentle rocking – or 'sifting' is performed to help reduce tension in the pelvic ligaments and muscles, and can actually have many different benefits for both the birthing mum and her baby:

It can reduce the need for medical pain relief

It can help a birthing woman relax better during labour

It can help a birthing mum to slow her breathing and breathe better

It can relax tight uterine ligaments and abdominal muscles

It can help the baby move into the correct position for birth

It can help a birthing mum relax into her labour and stop fighting the pain

(Feature image source: Spinning Babies)