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Is a birth stool better?

Report on "A Randomized Trial of Birthing Stool or Conventional Semirecumbent Position for Second-Stage Labor" by Ulla Waldenstrom and Karin Gottvall

In reviewing the literature, these Swedish authors found contradictory results: 3 studies found a shorter second stage when women were sitting instead of lying down or semi-sitting, while three other studies found no difference. Two studies reported more bleeding when sitting, while other studies found no difference. One study found more perineal tears in a "chair group" while another showed fewer perineal but more labial tears. Perineal swelling was also equally disputed.

When the Dutch-designed birthing stool (Birth-Mate) pictured here was introduced at the University Hospital of Uppsala, Sweden, a randomized, controlled trial was done in which the labors of 294 women were compared. One group was encouraged to push and and deliver on this stool, while the other group labored and delivered in a conventional, semirecumbent position.

There were no differences in infant outcome, length of second stage, need for pitocin or cesarean, perineal trauma, labial laceration or vulvar swelling. Mothers using the stool had a higher estimated blood loss and a greater number lost 600ml or more of blood (postpartum hemorrhage).

Women using the stool reported less pain during the second stage of labor, and they and their spouses were more satisfied with the birth position than parents in the control group. Midwives were less satisfied with their working posture in the group using the birthing stool.

--Reported in BIRTH 18:1 March 1991, pp.5+.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:better than the conventional semirecumbent position for second-state labor
Publication:Special Delivery
Date:Sep 22, 1991
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