Have you ever heard of a rebozo? Even if you haven't, chances are that you've seen one in use before. It is basically a piece of cloth that is usually around 4-5 feet long and 2-3 feet wide. They are usually made of cotton, linen, or another sturdy natural fiber. The word 'rebozo' translates into a long scarf. The word originated in Mexico. Traditionally mothers would use a rebozo throughout pregnancy, and after the baby arrived as well. It is considered a piece of a traditional Mexican garment, and although it is widely used in the perinatal period, many women wear one outside of this time as well. The infamous painter Frieda Kahlo can be seen wearing a rebozo in many of her pictures and self-portraits.
In pregnancy, the rebozo can be used to support a growing belly. When your belly gets big, it can really feel good to support it with the fabric spread out wide and tied in the back. You want it fully around your middle not too tight, but snug enough to feel your belly being supported. Try it out and see if you like how this feels-many women do. Also, with the assistance of a partner, you can use the rebozo to gently sway your belly. Get on all fours, and drape your rebozo underneath your belly, being careful to encompass the whole thing. Your partner stands up over you and holds onto the ends of the rebozo and gently pulls one end up, then the other, in a rhythmic manner. Here's a great link that goes into more detail on this technique, called "sifting".
I had never heard of a rebozo until I took my doula training. We learned how to do the previously mentioned position with the rebozo tucked snugly around the mama's belly while she's on all fours. This position can be very relaxing prenatally as it gently moves that little babe around, and in labor it can be an awesome position to have in your tool belt. You never know what positions are going to feel good for your labor, so the more options you have, the better.
A suitable substitute if you don't have a dedicated rebozo is a hospital sheet. The only downside to using a sheet is it sometimes is too wide but not long enough, and the fabric may not be as nice and soft as a rebozo.
After baby arrives, your rebozo can come in handy as a baby carrier. Simply tie it into a sturdy loop shape and put that little munchkin in there. You can experiment with different ways of tying it, and I have also seen it be used to support older kids on hips. Although babywearing is gaining in popularity in America, it is far from a new idea. Like previously mentioned, the rebozo comes to us from Mexico, where women there have been using the rebozo to carry their babies on them for a long time.
Does the idea of having a nice, beautiful, soft, and functional rebozo sound appealing to you? If so, you may want to invest in your own rebozo. Here's a great shop where you can buy one online. It will serve you throughout your pregnancy, labor, and postpartum as well. You can also use it as a cover up for breastfeeding or a swimsuit cover-up after baby's bigger.