rebozo sifting

Rebozo For Pregnancy and Labor

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How is a Mexican shawl (rebozo) helpful for pregnancy and labor?

A rebozo is one of the more underutilized birth items that doulas rave about. This thing single-handedly has changed many people’s birth so drastically that they won’t even try going into birth without one. You’re going to want to bookmark this on your computer for later.

A rebozo traditionally is a beautiful Mexican shawl, but more recently has been used for pregnant women everywhere. You can easily use a folded sheet or long scarf as a replacement, just know that the rebozo should be about 8 feet long.



    If you have been told you have a breech baby, or just that the baby is not in optimal position for that point in your pregnancy, you can begin doing what is called rebozo sifting.

You can do this is many positions. An easy position would be to get on all fours or to rest on a birthing ball and have your partner wrap the rebozo around your waist (make sure you go the full width of the waist from below breasts to the hips). Once you are wrapped and feel comfortable, your partner would grab both ends, taking the weight of your belly off of you and GENTLY shifting back and forth. Once you get the hang of it, try it in different positions and see which one feels the best for you.

You can’t rebozo too often. Twice a day is ideal if you’re in a hurry to get that baby in position, but you can do as little as once a week if you’re still several months out.

What is great about this is you can only move the baby into a better position. You can’t rebozo the baby into a bad spot.

Another reason to use this in pregnancy is to prepare for the labor, so even if your baby is in a great spot, you might just get comfortable with this practice so you both can jump into the routine on delivery day!

And mom, you’re going to love doing this if your pregnancy has been rough on your back. It’s going to feel like your dessert at the end of the day to get some of that weight pulled off of you.


Rebozo sifting in labor is used for the same main purpose of positioning the baby ever so slightly to the least painful, most optimal location. Many times women go through the excruciating pain that is unnecessary; the baby was not quite at the right angle and hitting at the cervix. This doesn’t have to be a part of your labor. Rebozo sifting can definitely help, but also it’s not a cure-all for the pain in labor. Labor is still usually painful regardless.

The other use of a rebozo in labor is just to relieve the mom of back pain. If you really take the time to learn about all the positions you can do with a rebozo, it can help alleviate many different areas of pain throughout labor.

Now, if you’re having a homebirth this will be a really easy transition, as you’ve had all the practice and the locations for positioning yourself. A hospital birth can still be done! I would advise you to bring your birthing ball and don’t expect them to have unlimited pillows for your knees. If you don’t have access to a birthing ball, just lean in on the edge of the bed using whatever you brought or whatever is around for your knee cushioning. You can cradle it under your armpits as you crouch to the ground and your doula or partner would stand above you in front carrying all of your weight (don’t worry partner, it sounds harder than it is). You can also try it on all fours in the hospital bed with your partner or doula standing above you sifting. You will probably get weird looks from the nurses and doctors. That’s ok!

The situations you would NOT use a rebozo in.

  • High-risk pregnancy. If you are having complications or you are in danger of having a high-risk pregnancy, you absolutely need to speak with your care provider first and foremost and make sure that the rebozo will be not a problem.
  • If you have seen any signs of the possibility of a miscarriage, you should not be using the rebozo.
  • If you do not think you can be very gentle, don’t use it or try it. Being rough with the rebozo could jerk around the baby and/or the placenta or cause other problems. But when used gently it is considered safe.

If you’re still unsure of positions or what exactly to do, there are a ton of youtube videos that can help walk you through. Remember practice, practice, practice! Good luck on your rebozo journey, I hope it works amazingly for you!  

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Written by Gloria Hines