What does a “labor sling”/”birth hammock” offer?
Ask any midwife, doula, or labor nurse, and they will tell you that laboring on your back leads to a slower, more painful birth. So, for years labor nurses have turned to all sorts of tools (balls, bars, rebozos) to help rotate baby in to an ideal position and help labor continue “on schedule.” The Airbella hammock replaces many of these props with one versatile, comfortable tool that makes moving, resting, and proper muscle engagement/release during the laboring stages more accessible. It frees the sacrum and supports laboring positions beneficial for baby’s repositioning and engagement. It also eliminates heavy lifting for birth partners and care providers. It can be used on a bed or on the floor and can even assist in delivery with an epidural.
Purchase Birthing HammockEducation & Use Kit Here:
Printable 10-page manual, Printable Reference Poster (11″x17″) and supplemental videos. The kit covers ideas for using the hammock during labor to assist in resting, muscle release, and assisted squatting, as well as important safety considerations. Because not all positions are appropriate at all stages of labor (or for all women), please work with your doula, mid-wife, or birth coach to determine what is best for you as your labor progresses.
It is recommended (if possible) to practice all of the positions in the 2nd trimester to establish trust and ease in the hammock. Some postures are not to be be utilized the 3rd trimester.
Why Are the Airbella Hammock & Method Used by Professionals?
HAMMOCK: The Airbella hammock is specifically designed to quickly height-adjust to the situation needed, and can be converted in to 2 baby wraps (or aerial hammock) after labor. It uses a specific (USA-made) load-tested fabric that dries quickly and is SOFT on mom’s bare skin. It also utilizes a pull-ribbon for easier maneuvering.
METHOD: The Airbella Method differs from use of a rebozo in many ways. While you can use the hammock like a rebozo, most (though not all) of the positions we teach use it lower to the ground (or bed) in order to:
– PROTECT MOM’S CONNECTIVE TISSUE. General aerial yoga curriculum and many photos of pregnant women in hammock postures found online are not at all safe given the anatomical loads of pregnancy on connective tissue.
– Achieve alignment helpful for labor and delivery
– Create more comfort, safety, and ease than is typically achieved with rebozo techniques
– Create internal space during contractions when needed
– Use with an epidural (replacing the Peanut ball)
– Offer safe and comfortable resting positions (for the “around the world” strategy)
What happens after the hammock is used in labor?
Hospitals/Birthcenters: You have the option of washing/reprocessing. Or, skip the hassle and swap out a clean replacement fabric (see pink button above) so that Mom can the fabric home to use as a babywrap.
Home-use: You can convert your fabric in to babywraps, or keep the hammock for aerial yoga or to relax in. When they’re old enough, kids love playing in them! (Do not put an infant in a labor hammock.)
How Airbella Pioneered Birthing Hammocks in Hospitals & Birthcenters
The Airbella birthing hammock and birthing system began to take shape in 2015. From 2012-2019, Aerial Yoga Online was a major supplier of aerial hammocks to the yoga and fitness industries. After a conversation between AYO’s founder and the Minnesota Birth Center in March of 2015, the center purchased 2 hammocks and began using them to assist in labor. Back then, the hammock was simply a single-point aerial hammock, awkward to adjust, with only best guesses as to how might replace rebozo and bedsheet techniques.
Word traveled and in 2017 the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital purchased several hammocks from AYO for their delivery rooms. After an article was published in 2018, a steady stream of hospitals and birth centers began purchasing gear from Aerial Yoga Online.
Becky Stella, founder:
“As of 2017, after seeing how nurses were attempting to use aerial yoga hammocks, two things became clear:
1) A different hammock design was necessary to provide fast, more versatile height-adjustments and eliminate rigging mistakes.
2) Labor nurses and assistants needed specific guidance on how to use a hammock safely and effectively. (At the time, a few homemade photos of ‘armpit hangs’ were floating around online, and these ideas did not take in to consideration the hammock’s impact on connective tissue.)
So, between 2017-2019, with the feedback of labor nurses, doulas, midwives, doctors, mothers, and aerialists, the Airbella hammock and techniques evolved in to what it is today. Every in-service hospital training I led illuminated new challenges and offered new solutions. In addition, www.Spinningbabies.com and Unnata® Aerial Yoga heavily informed the alignment and safety principles behind both the Airbella Labor techniques and the Airbella Prenatal curriculum. Since this is a newly developing area of study, it is critical that we continually question, refine, and expand our understanding of how to best use the hammock as a prop. It takes a village to create something of lasting value.”
Prenatal Aerial Yoga Videos
Prenatal Aerial Hammock Videos for each Trimester Coming soon
Use the Airbella hammock OR your existing aerial hammock for the videos.
NEED PRENATAL INFO RIGHT NOW? Read Becky’s article on AerialYoga.com for safety precautions using aerial hammocks during pregnancy.
Online Prenatal Aerial Teacher Training
Continue your Aerial Yoga/Prenatal Education Online Coming soon
This online training will be open to certified Aerial Yoga Teachers AND certified Prenatal Yoga Teachers. Graduates of this course can become licensed to teach the curriculum as an in-person course for other yoga teachers and the general public. Details to come!