More evidence for rebozos…

I’ve found even more evidence for rebozos in birth!

I have been amazed by the number of people who have been in touch to thank me for the two-part article that I wrote on the evidence for rebozo use. (You can read part one here and part two is here). It has been lovely to hear how many people have been delighted to have this to use in their work. It also reminded that I had been meaning to post about another paper on this topic which came out earlier this year.

The title, ‘Danish women’s experiences of the rebozo technique during labour: a qualitative study’ (Langeland et al 2017) is pretty self-explanatory.

The researchers recruited 17 women who had used a rebozo during their birth in one of two different hospitals and interviewed them about their experiences over the phone.


Why rebozos?

In about half of the women, the midwife suggested the use of a rebozo because they thought that the baby was malpositioned, and the women frequently reported that the rebozo seemed to help with this.

“Receiving rebozo was described as a harmless mediator for reducing pain because it alleviated labour pain without medication. The women expressed that rebozo contributed to bodily pleasure and drew parallels to massage:

When she [the midwife] tried gently to rub my bottom with the towel, it was as if she was massaging my back and massaging my belly, that was what I felt… (I, 16)

They attributed the pleasure to the movement in their hips and described that it made their muscles relax. The women positively articulated that they had less need of medical pain relief as a response to using the rebozo, which was in accordance with the majority’s pre-existing wishes of as little medication as possible. The women expressed a sceptical attitude towards “everything must be done on medication”; on the contrary, rebozo was seen as a healthy and natural alternative. In particular, the women articulated pain relief in relation to lower back pain.” (Langeland et al 2017) 


And the results?

So the results were very positive, and the following key points were among those drawn from the research.

  • Rebozo as a harmless, user-friendly and easy applicable labour technique.
  • Positive bodily sensations lead to a feeling of pain relief.
  • The rebozo technique affected the labour process to move forward.

If you’re looking for studies to support the use of rebozos in practice, this is definitely one to check out. This paper will also be quite useful for anyone who is interested in learning about the ‘nuts and bolts’ of carrying out this kind of qualitative research. The the researchers give a very good and not too jargon-filled description of how they went about recruiting and interviewing women and undertaking the research.


We create workshops and courses for midwives, students and birth folk to get updated on the evidence, re-imagine better practices and consider other ways of knowing. We invite you to sign up for our newsletter list, take a look at our online courses  and see Sara’s upcoming live events page too 🙂


Langeland M, Midtgaard J, Ekelin M et al (2017). Danish women’s experiences of the rebozo technique during labour: A qualitative explorative study. Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare.
photo credit: Melinda Young Stuart Mujer de Yucatán via photopin (license)