Midwives’ Comments on the BirthRite Birthing Seat

(See also comments from Women, Obstetricians and Others.)



We did it! Our first birth on the BirthRite Seat and it was phenomenal! The mother loved it and could not imagine giving birth any other way. We arrived at the hospital to a team that was pretty slow in admitting her, but we used every moment to our advantage in continuing our breathing patterns and allow baby to descend. I could tell that she was complete, but it took about 45 minutes before it was confirmed.

The nurse allowed her to get onto the BirthRite Seat at 4:35 pm and at 5:02 pm a baby boy was born! The mom slow-breathed the entire time and chose not to use directed pushing. As she was on the Seat during two of her final contractions she said, “I feel burning”. With the next contraction, she said, “He’s out!” — just in time for the nurse to reach down and catch the baby.

Her doctor arrived 11 minutes after the birth (very apologetically) explaining that “first babies just aren’t born this quickly”. Other than a few very minor internal vaginal tears, the mom (without perineal support) did not tear at all. She was faithful over the last three weeks to massage and stretch her perineum with Arnica oil.

P.S. I have another mom due in 5 weeks (baby #2) and she was there today to see the BirthRite Seat in action and definitely wants to give birth on it!

— Mari Stewart
Pastor, Midwife
Kaneohe, Hawaii, USA

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Just wanted to let you know that I just experienced another great birth using the BirthRite Seat. This was a second pregnancy where the mom’s bag of waters broke 10 days early. She began contractions 4 hours later. I got to her home about 30 minutes after the contractions began and she had very sporadic contractions for about 2 hours. Suddenly, her contractions went to 3 minutes apart and we gathered ourselves to leave for the hospital about 5 minutes away. As we walked to the door, she was no longer able to walk and requested the BirthRite Seat. We called the paramedics as I knew she was not going to make it to the car or the hospital and would deliver as soon as she sat down. My hunch was correct and as the paramedics ran into the house she delivered her 6 lb 14-1/2 oz baby girl on the Seat. They were amazed that mom was so in control with her slow breathing and that baby delivered without complication.

Needless to say, she is the “talk” of our church, and the next 6 that are due in the next few months will be utilizing the BirthRite Seat!

— Mari Stewart
Pastor, Midwife
Kaneohe, Hawaii, USA

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Yes, it is Hawaii again with another BirthRite story...unfortunately this one does not come with as happy an ending.

I got a call from one of my pregnant mommies last Monday that she had noticed a slow-down of her baby’s movements the last three days while she was away on vacation. When she arrived home, she called the help line which instructed her to come in immediately. She got to the hospital and the nurse was not able to detect a heartbeat with the Doppler. They proceeded with an ultrasound and saw no movement, no heartbeat, and no fluid in the baby’s bladder.

It was decided, after a meal, hot shower and a nap, to induce her using Cervadil. Being her second baby, the Cervadil kicked in within 4 hours and she began regular contractions around 3 am Tuesday morning. She progressed rapidly (her first labor was 8 hours) and with walking around the room and utilizing the birth ball for most of the labor she reached 10 cm by 8 am.

When she felt pushy we moved her from the birth ball to the BirthRite for the last 30 minutes and the birth was smooth and discreet, albeit sad due to the loss of their little girl at 33 weeks.

In helping this mom, I was so grateful for the tools of the birth ball and BirthRite because, with the baby not “assisting” the mom with the birthing process, it was actually harder because mom had to do the work for two. Sparing her being strapped to the bed, the glaring lights, the stirrups, and the public exposure, kept this difficult delivery as intimate as possible during this time of crisis.

I have now used the BirthRite Seat at three different hospitals and some of the staff are beginning to ask, “What is this thing?”

Thanks for letting me share my story.

— Mari Stewart
Pastor, Midwife
Kaneohe, Hawaii, USA

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So nice to see all your new stuff. I have been meaning to write you for ages. I can’t believe I’ve had the BirthRite Seat almost a year and a half. So far almost everyone spends at least some of their labor on the Seat and about 50% of the births occur on it. My clients love it!

I was convinced after the first birth. It was a mom who had two vaginal births, then a cesarean, and this would be her first VBAC. This was a much larger baby than her two prior vaginal births (greater than 1 pound or 454 grams difference). She also had a history of back problems so it was a real challenge to get her comfortable. She started spontaneous pushing on the bed, and the head made no movement whatsoever and was still high above the pubic bone, and she was writhing with back pain as well. I put her on the Seat, her back pain improved, and with the next contraction, with mom breathing (no active pushing), the baby came right down to crowning! The head delivered easily; however, the shoulders were quite tight, and it was a simple movement to get her to hands and knees from the Seat and get the posterior shoulder to deliver. Baby and mom did great, and Mom was very happy with BirthRite! Baby weighed almost 9 pounds (4082 grams). I told my assistants that if no one ever used the Seat again it was worth having just for this one birth. I felt that as soon as I saw that head effortlessly slide down to the perineum. Over and over again we have had outstanding results with your Seat. I just delivered a 10 pound (4536 gram) baby on it with no active pushing: mom just breathed her baby out. I just love that!

We also put it in the shower. Laboring moms sit on it while showering. It’s like pain relief while squatting: it’s wonderful!

It seems to also be somewhat of a selling point for my practice. When people come to interview, I show them that laminated card with the different positions you sent with the Seat and they are always impressed. Some decide right then and there that’s how they would like to deliver! The slanted Seat that’s wide and comfortable with the stable base make it a sell every time.

My assistants love it because the cleanup is easy and it’s light weight to carry. I love the visibility and easy access to the perineum. Sorry, I could go on and on but it has worked out quite well and we are all pleased. I am so glad I picked the BirthRite as the birthing Seat I carry. Thanks for making such a great product.

Sometimes we look after very small women with very short legs. We just put pillows or whatever under their feet for adjustment.

Thanks again for your excellence!

— Lisa Block-Wieser
Registered Midwife, CNM
Tucson, Arizona, USA

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We received the BirthRite Seat in record time, within a week of the wire transfer. It is now nestled at the hosptial, ready for use at a moment’s notice. And we have used it... several times! It is awesome! I delivered a VBAC client — who had been told her contracted pelvis would NEVER accommodate even a normal size baby — on the BirthRite Seat a few weeks ago. Her baby was 9 lb 8 oz (about 4300g). She pushed the baby out in about 40 minutes on the Seat. She was so very pleased!

I love the design of the Seat. It is comfortable for the woman and provides good visibility for the midwife. The handles are wonderful for leverage. We are so pleased with our purchase.

I am delighted to have met you in Australia, and would be happy to promote the BirthRite Seat in any way in the U.S. We love it!

— Gayle Riedmann
Registered Midwife, CNM
President, West Suburban Midwife Associates
Oak Park, Illinois, USA
www.westsubmidwives.com

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The BirthRite Seat in Taihape has been a huge success. Labouring women have taken it on as part of the furniture, and we use it in almost every birth. Christened first at a homebirth, it has since been used in all stages of labour. The Seat also works well as an adjunct to the birth pool: out of the pool and onto the Seat! I love the way support people can be so closely involved, at the “armchair” end, but also catching the baby. The Seat has also proven to be of great use for a reluctant placenta, physiological or active management. I also love the way the Seat is so easy to clean and to get in and out of the car.

Your teaching film The BirthRite Experience gets used in antenatal class discussions, so all in all, a great THANK YOU!

I would be happy to be part of any research pertaining to the use of the BirthRite Seat.

— Kiwi Rowlands
Registered Midwife
Taihope, New Zealand

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I must say I love your Birthing Seat — it is without doubt the best one we have tried and is used frequently in our unit. In fact, only yesterday I assisted a fabulous birth using it. We also have another birthing stool from Canada which is nowhere near as good as yours. What I like most about the BirthRite is that it is so comfortable to sit on and it has handles!!! Most birthing stools I have tried do not have handles and women do not usually know where to put their hands when bearing down.

The BirthRite is great for women who have had epidurals and where the block has not worn off enough to allow them to stand or squat. It is also wonderful for the exhausted Mum and for the Mums who are a bit overweight.

I must say that until I tried your Seat I was not a great supporter of birthing stools. We tended to squat almost all of our women. I think your Seat is an excellent substitute and one that I’d imagine most hospitals would welcome. I am happy to share my experiences with anyone interested in using the BirthRite.

Many thanks and well done!

— Anita O’Neill
Registered Midwife
St. John & St. Elizabeth Hospital, London, UK

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The BirthRite Seat is already very popular — many of the midwives have used it with success. The series of laminated pictures serves as a good guide for those who have not seen you instructing live, as some women have a tendency to bend forwards when bearing down.

— Malene Gustafsen
Registered Midwife
Denmark

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Good news! The BirthRite Seat arrived yesterday on the ward. It was so exciting. I left it in our nurses’ station and it was amazing how many people asked about it. Our obstetrician said, “What’s that?” I answered, “A birthing seat.” She made no further comment, which is a good sign as she didn’t make a scene about it. One of our main GP/OBS even had a go on it and said he loved it...I wished I’d had a camera to get a snapshot of that!

— Tracy Starling
Registered Midwife
Geraldton, WA, Australia

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My next client is due in a month, and I will also attend a birth for a colleague due in early February. Both women are adamant about using the BirthRite Seat. I’m really excited. I think these births are going to be very empowering for these women. I received very good feedback about the Seat from other women. They all found it quite comfortable and could really feel their bottoms open up. The rolled edges make a difference, and they all thought it was much more comfortable than a toilet seat. Both my current clients are very excited about being able to use the Seat. The midwife and one of the doctors here at the hospital are all for using it. The other two doctors are extremely medically oriented and like to “take over”. I can’t wait for them to witness a birth how it should be!

— Abbie Thomas
Doula
Fortuna, California, USA

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At long last the BirthRite Seat has arrived! It is beautiful, and we are gratetful to have it. The transport pouch is very nice and will help us to protect the Seat from damage.

We used the Seat on the day it arrived, and our midwife is very pleased! Thank you for making this Birthing Seat available!

— Christine Anderson, RN
OB Coordinator, South Peninsula Hospital
Homer, Alaska, USA

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We have christened the Birthing Seat three times already! It worked well. The midwife who did the birth said, “The most surprising thing was that the Birthing Seat worked well even for the small suturing after the birth.” So we are pleased.

— Rachel Johns
Registered Midwife
Goshen, Indiana, USA

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Another lovely BirthRite Seat birth this week. P3 mum stuck in transition and very fearful despite frankincense, love, darkness etc. Holding baby up with her muscles. Complaining baby “wasn’t coming”. Wanting me to “do something”.Usual replies — “you are doing fine, baby will come, you are safe, all is well”. Had really disliked trying the Birthing Seat before birth and during early labour, said it felt very uncomfortable (unusual, eh?). I asked her if she would try just 3 contractions on the Seat. She agreed. First contraction — tried to bring her legs together, I eased them open. Second contraction — vulval parting. Third contraction — vertex visible and advancing rapidly, birthed in less than 20 seconds from that point. Big baby, well tangled in cord, straight to mum for skin to skin. This baby was her biggest at 4.2 kg, previous largest 3.5. The only birth she has managed without opiates. This baby attached itself to the breast at 3 mins of age and hasn’t looked back once. Also the first baby who hasn’t had some BF difficulties. Intact perineum. We got off the Seat for the 3rd stage as she was finding it uncomfortable. I think this woman has a funny pelvis as all her others were OP at fully; this one started LOL and came OA easily after chiropractic treatment in pregnancy.

I am blown away by speed of BirthRite births. Mum and dad both firm advocates and have agreed to give support statements for my website. Very excited!

— Liz Nightingale
Purple Walnut Midwife
UK

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Your Seat is brilliant but you have to use it to realise just how cleverly designed it is for mothers and for midwives.

I realised another benefit recently. I was attending a woman I had assisted at a previous birth. P3 now with good-sized baby on board. During previous births she lost substantial amounts of blood, difficult to determine accurately but enough to make her feel, initially, lightheaded, though not really PPH. So I was ready this time. We had planned physiological third stage with swift change to active management if needed. She gave birth in three efforts (me trying to get her to breathe the baby out, her determined it was coming out now!), babe to her arms for skin to skin — general rejoicing — then quite a brisk PV loss. Fundus quite firm. I thought, “Is this separation?” — as I have observed swift separation on the Seat — or, “Is she about to have a PPH?”. As I was alone I gave Syntometrine IM and within seconds she told me, “Something feels funny”. I asked her to bear down gently — out comes placenta. All this collected in bowl inside Seat — very neatly. A small continued trickle PV. She moved to lying down so I could examine her for injuries, in case this was the source of bleeding. Massaged fundus gently, two more small clots expelled — put into bowl. Nothing afterwards. Perineum intact. Babe 4180 gm — a lovely plump girl.

Later, I removed placenta and membranes from the bowl to examine — all fine. I then was able to measure the volume of EBL pretty efficiently and I think much more accurately than a visual assessment. She lost just over 600 mL. Having fed the baby nicely for 25 mins, she tucked into fruit smoothies and breakfast cereal (it was 0525 hours!), had a lovely bath and went to bed. She said she felt a little starry-eyed but much better resting in bed. No ill effects from her large-ish loss. Milk in day 3, mother well.

So yet again the BirthRite Seat triumphs. I was easily able to manage this situation alone without any detriment to Mum or baby. We knew EBL accurately. We were able to manage conservatively a situation that might have meant transfer to hospital in other circumstances.

I LOVE my BirthRite Seat!

Let’s get a BirthRite Seat into every UK Maternity Unit! Think big!

— Liz Nightingale
Purple Walnut Midwife
UK

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Another BirthRite advantage — multip with history of being traumatised by first birth: 2-hour second stage, cheerleading pushing (aargh!), crashing fetal distress (what a surprise — NOT!), epis, nasty midwife etc. Puerperal psychosis (sounds like, otherwise bad reactive depression with sleep loss+++ and obsessive thoughts).

This time: pregnant after much careful consideration, lovely and relaxed at birth centre. Came to Unit early but great as gave me opportunity to observe and make a connection with her and partner (who was carefully trying to suppress his own anxiety). Very smooth labour, she was riding the energy gracefully, happy it was getting stronger. Momentary wobble (at transition) re ability to “do” it. Fetal heart completely reassuring throughout. SROM at crowning but with recent meconium. I thought, shall I panic? Then I thought again: No, we have to await restitution in any case. In this short period (head good colour, FH fine), liquor of course draining down out of mouth and nasal passages due to gravity. Baby born with next urge straight into mother’s arms, father also scooped baby round mother — tears and laughter all round. Baby gave a short cry and pinked up in 10–15 seconds, breathing fine, HR fine — no worries. Yet ANOTHER selling point for the Seat. It gets better and better!

Also, its reputation is spreading among my colleagues. I was out in a restaurant and got a call from a midwife who asked if she could borrow the Seat. They were attending a primip who had a baby in an awkward position in second stage and were about to transfer to the obstetric unit for synto and assisted delivery but wanted to try BirthRite first as the midwife felt she might just shift it with the Seat. Unfortunately I was unable to assist on this occasion (too much wine on board!) but the Birthing Seat is clearly being viewed in positive light.

— Liz Nightingale
Purple Walnut Midwife
UK

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The BirthRite is a resounding success in my practice. Every woman who has tried it spontaneously says they can feel both where and how the baby needs to move down through the pelvis, and they do really well at getting it done.

— Molly Germash
Registered Midwife Practitioner
Peaster, Texas, USA

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The Floor Studio, and in particular the availability of the Midwife Seat, has enabled me to receive clearance from OH&S to continue working in the birthing suite which I love. It has helped with the rehabilitation of my knee following surgery.

— Jennifer Kenna
Registered Midwife
Alice Springs Hospital, NT, Australia



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