Looking to try drug-free labour but concerned about the pain? We feel ya! The good news is there are a few great natural labour pain relief techniques out there, including something called Rebozo sifting.

Never heard of it? Neither had we. But it’s supposed to be a miracle worker when it comes to relieving labour pain. And all you need? A strong piece of fabric.

rebozo sifting natural pain relief labour
Source: Instagram

Rebozo sifting – what is this? 

Let’s break it down, shall we? ‘Rebozo’ is a long scarf-like garment popular in Mexico. It’s used for all sorts of things like carrying groceries to wearing baby. It’s also used in pregnancy.

‘Sifting’ is a rhythm jiggle-like movement. Together, this technique can do all sorts of wonders for heavily pregnant mummas including:

  • relaxing muscles and ligaments around the adnominal and pelvic region
  • helping breech babies turn around
  • assisting in getting bub in the optimal position for birth
  • and relieving pain during labour

Check it out in action in the video below:


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REBOZO SIFTING . . . “Manteada is a gentle sifting, like a rhythmic jiggle. This way of using the Rebozo aims to: Relax tight uterine ligaments and abdominal muscles. Help a baby rotate in pregnancy or labor more easily. Help a birthing person to relax into their labour.” Spinning babies. . . . I learnt this very rhythmic tool from @smessager and I use it ALL THE TIME. Feedback is always positive as the person feels weightless, can help baby turn into optimal position, and is generally just nice. In labour it can be really effective at keeping baby in an optimal position, comforting the birthing person and can bring on stronger surges as babies head comes back down onto the cervix after being rocked. I find it’s just magic! . . . Something I teach in ALL my antenatal classes whether it be @thelittlebirthcompany hypnobirthing, @nctcharity classes or even during a post dates massage session to try and start the labour dance ❤️ . . . 🎥 of one of my beautiful doula clients @talintasil #rebozo #rebozosifting #birthwisdom #spinningbabies #knowledgeispower #empoweredbirth #pregnant #birthknowledge #antenatalteacher #nctteacher #doula #birthdoula #hypnobirthing #hertfordshire #hertford #mumtobe #due2020 #azeetanielsen

A post shared by Azeeta Nielsen (@azeetanielsen.doula) on

The rebozo sifting technique is popular in Mexico but is becoming more and more popular in other countries, including America and Australia. Essentially, a doula or partner holds the scarf-like garment around mum’s tum and gently moves it back and forth.

Spinning Babies has an excellent guide on how to use it in both early and active labour.

Using rebozo sifting in early labour: 

According to Spinning Babies,

  • Wrap the Rebozo around your abdomen like a hammock around the baby.
  • Kneel in front of a chair, couch, or birth ball. Drape your arms over the ball, chair or couch rather than resting your weight on your hands. Relax the upper body without collapsing the back.
  • The birth partner stands behind the mum and hold the ends of the material like reigns of a horse. They lift the weight of your belly off your back, snug but not uncomfortable.
  • The helper lifts the belly enough to lift the weight of the womb from the mother’s back. Short movements are made slowly at first, and then with increasing speed. Not larger or wilder movements, just faster.
  • With a gradual increase in speed (but not vigour), your belly is being vibrated. Breathe freely, slowly and let your belly hang into it.
  • After 2-5 minutes, slow down gradually for several seconds before stopping. Then the weight of the belly is released.”
rebozo sifting natural pain relief labour
Source: Instagram

Using rebozo in active labour:

  • The Mother is on hands and knees, sitting
  • The Rebozo is wrapped over the buttocks and the ends are gathered tightly on each side of the hips.
  • The helper shakes the hips so the entire buttocks vibrates and shakes.  “Shaking the Apple Tree can be somewhat vigorous but should give a relaxing feeling.

It looks simple enough and apparently it works a treat! So, mums, will you be giving it a go?

What to read next

Looking for other natural pain relief options during labour? Check out:


Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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