Mantel piece, bench, exercise ball and rope

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Ulster Hospital Maternity Unit. Image by Deverra. Second Life build by Aaron Griffiths for the SLENZ project. CC By

There are a number of resources and strategies that a midwife can use to help make a woman comfortable in labour and birth. Positions that encourage women into an upright position decrease the chances of forceps birth and episiotomy, and decreases pain. Whilst there is little empirical evidence, it is believed that using supports such as a mantle piece, bench, exercise ball and rope to get into an upright position such as squat increases efficiency of labour and helps rotate baby into optimal positions for birth.

Gupta JK, Hofmeyr GJ, Smyth RMD. Position in the second stage of labour for women without epidural anaesthesia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD002006. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002006.pub2.

Simkin, P., Ancheta, R., & Myers, S. (2005). The labor progress handbook: Early interventions to prevent and treat dystocia. Wiley-Blackwell: Chichester. Accessed 30 March, 2009, at