Ask A Doula: Can I bring a birth stool?

I’ve been reading up about birth stools and upright birth, and I would really like for this to be an option for my clients. Should I buy one and bring it to my births? How can I help the OBs to become more comfortable with them?

This can be really tricky, and a birth stool is large as both an expense and as something to carry around! My initial thoughts on this include:

If your client is interested in the option of birthing with a birth stool, they should definitely be the one to have this conversation with their care provider. Some care providers will be open to it, some will absolutely not be. This will actually give your client valuable information about the care provider.

The hospital may actually already have a birth stool stashed somewhere. The photo on the right is a client on mine on birth stool owned by the hospital. When I called the hospital just before her birth and asked if they had one, I got a confused “ummmmm……I don’t know. Don’t think so!” Fortunately her midwife knew they had one, and knew where to find it.

Know that if the client wants upright birth, there are other options that don’t involve a birth stool. Kneeling, standing, squatting and lunges can all be managed with what is already in the hospital room, and care providers and hospital staff may be more comfortable with the setup they’re familiar with.

Make sure that whatever you bring is able to be sterilized. I’ve seen birth stools of unfinished wood, which means they are porous and will absorb blood. Paint alone won’t help, it needs waterproof sealing! It’s also good to cover it with chux pads.

For out of hospital births, the care provider may already bring one. Have your client check.

Birth stools can be a very useful tool in birth, but given the large size and expense, I’d think carefully before making the investment.

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