Another Great Support Tool for Expectant Families!
I first saw and tried a CUB (Comfortable Upright Birth) support at the Irish Positive Birth Conference in 2017. A CUB is a comfortable, adjustable inflatable support tool that mums can use during their entire pregnancy and labour at home or in hospital. Using a CUB allows expectant mums to get into different labouring positions that they feel are the most comfortable for them. It also allows baby to get into an optimal position during pregnancy and as labour progresses. There are many other benefits to birthing in an upright position, including:
- Available pelvic space increases by 28-30%
- Contractions become more effective and labour is shorter
- Baby is 54% less likely to become distressed
- Emergency cesareans reduce by 29%
- Episiotomy rates lower by 21%
- 23% reduction in medical assistance and reduces need for an epidural
What I first noticed about the CUB is how stable it feels. Exercise/birth balls are another great support tool for pregnancy and labour but the CUB offered a different type of support that a birth ball cannot. While in labour, expectant mums are often trying to find a rhythm and focus on their breathing so they can "ride" the surges that are coming regularly. Having a support tool that you don't have to think about or actively try to balance on is a wonderful thing! The stability of the CUB allows mothers to switch positions, make adjustments so it is higher or lower (via a two chamber inflation system) and can accommodate more reclined positions if needed. I like to think of the CUB as another tool in one's pregnancy and birth toolkit.
My experience with the cub
I used the CUB during pregnancy and labour. During pregnancy my goal was to help open my pelvis and get baby into an optimal position while in my third trimester. Many people are spending more and more time seated and especially in reclined positions that are not supportive of their core. While allowing rest via lying down or reclining on the sofa is to be expected during pregnancy, it's not a great way to support the uterus and encourage baby into a head down, anterior position. Sitting on a CUB regularly will help strengthen the core muscles and encourage baby to work with gravity so they are in a more optimal position for labour. I used my CUB several times a week after my older kids were in bed while I watched tv and relaxed. I know other mums will use it while eating at the dinner table or while doing other activities. Everyone will find their own time that they feel best using it.
I also used the CUB during labour. I planned a home birth so all going well, I knew I would have access to the CUB support during the entirety of my labour. My labour began in the evening, around 9 PM but did not start to become more intense until 3 AM. I was in early labour during the dark hours of the morning with contractions coming on regularly. I decided to use the CUB at this time to help ease the discomfort of my surges while also helping my baby get into the best position for birth. I watched a "feel good" movie while I got into a supported hands and knees position, leaning over the CUB. It was both comfortable and stable enough for me to use while still allowing me to feel like I was being active during my labour. It also accommodated the size of my 41 + 2 week gestation pregnancy belly without putting pressure on it. Overall I enjoyed having the CUB as an additional tool and comfort measure during my labour!
If you are interested in using the CUB for your pregnancy and/or labour, they cost approximately €180. Another great option is renting a CUB Kit, which Limerick Doula Services now offers to all families in Ireland! You will receive the entire kit including the CUB support, inflation pump, information packet, etc. from 37-42 weeks of pregnancy for a fraction of the price. For more information, please see my CUB Rental page.