A Midwife’s Inflatable Device Could Save Lives Worldwide

A Midwife's Inflatable Device Could Save Lives Worldwide

A Scottish midwife’s invention is grabbing healthcare attention around the world, with a product that has potential to save women’s lives.

Her invention has even reached desperate women in the hellish conditions of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

While it won’t treat Ebola, it offers safety and dignity as affected women gave birth, providing a glimmer of hope during a very dark time.

Women in other developing countries often face birth complications without access to the latest obstetrical care and recommendations.

Women in countries such as India and China often give birth strapped to a bed, legs in stirrups and without the ability to follow their natural birthing instincts. Some Indian women are even slapped during childbirth, which goes to show just how desperately these countries need help humanising birth.

Being on your back during labour creates complications, including reducing available pelvic space by up to 30%, which can prolong labour and birth. It can be more painful and difficult for baby to manoeuvre through the pelvis.

In an attempt to help improve the birth experience for women, experienced midwife Cass McNamara created a portable birthing aid called the CUB, which is short for Comfortable Upright Birthing.

This inflatable device can be used as a birthing stool and encourages laboring in an upright position. In her 19 years as a midwife it is clear she learned the importance of positioning during birth.

A Midwife's Inflatable Device Could Save Lives Worldwide

Source: https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk

Why Birthing Positions Matter

Wondering how an inflatable birthing stool could save lives? After all, it doesn’t seem high tech or like other typical medical equipment.

Research shows that giving birth in an upright position facilitates more space for a baby to rotate and descend which can reduce the length of labour.

Being upright is associated with a 54% decreased incidence of fetal heart rate issues, a 23% reduced incidence of assisted birth and a 29% reduced incidence of emergency c-section. These are big statistics every birthing woman should know.

The leading cause of neonatal mortality and morbidity are obstructed or prolonged labors. If birthing in an upright position reduces these risks, then it’s realistic that encouraging upright birth will reduce neonatal mortality and morbidity.

For women giving birth in developing countries, these statistics can be life changing. Vacuum, forceps and c-section births are not without risks, even in the most modern hospitals. The CUB can help facilitate and support women giving birth in an upright position, whether in a rural developing country or a bustling metropolitan city.

Educating and Changing Birth

The CUB only went on sale last year and has already made its way to hospitals and individuals in Australia, the US, the UK, Norway, Iceland, South Africa, China, India and more.

McNamara has had the opportunity to not only develop a useful birthing tool — she’s also been able to help spread the midwifery model of care for hospital based births. Hospitals in India, China and other countries are beginning to get on board with the midwifery model of care, which is a huge improvement from the non-evidenced based practice of confining women to their beds during labour.

McNamara has also been involved in sending teams of midwives to Chinese hospitals. These midwives spend three to six months training nurses in midwifery skills and how to use the CUB to facilitate upright birth. As China’s new two-child policy unfolds, the subsequent rise in births means the arrival of midwifery training will be very timely and valuable.

A privately funded hospital in Hyderabad, India, is using the CUB to transform lives as it trains local women to provide midwifery care. Current obstetric practices in some Indian hospitals have left women feeling less than human during their birthing experience. Birthing women are known to be strapped down and even slapped during labour. McNamara’s invention and the midwifery training program have the potential to save and transform the lives of these birthing women.

What Makes The CUB Different From A Traditional Birthing Stool?

Most traditional birthing stools are made from wood, making them heavy and extremely comfortable. Birthing women may appreciate the support and positioning while on the stool, but they may also find it too hard or uninviting. They can also only be used by women who are not experiencing any birthing complications or interventions.

The CUB is inflatable, making it light, easily portable and comfortable to sit on. In addition to using it as a birthing stool, it can be leaned on similarly to a birthing ball. Women can use the CUB to sit on, lean on, be on all fours and other upright positions. The multipurpose CUB birthing support can be used by women needing to labour in bed due to their health, or the choice to have an epidural. While a birthing woman’s mobility is still greatly affected by an epidural, the CUB may still help women adopt a more optimal position.

Whether a mother is giving birth in a major university hospital with the latest in technology, giving birth at home or in a developed country, access to the CUB can help facilitate an upright birth, with the potential to greatly improve her birth experience.

For more information, see the CUB website.

You need the BellyBelly Birth & Early Parenting Immersion!
MAXIMISE your chances of getting the birth you want… MINIMISE your chances of a disappointing or traumatic birth experience. Feel MORE CONFIDENT heading into birth… GUARANTEED.
  • 270


Maria Silver Pyanov is a mama of four energetic boys and one unique little girl. She is also a doula and childbirth educator. She's an advocate for birth options, and adequate prenatal care and support. She believes in the importance of rebuilding the village so no parent feels unsupported.


  1. … and I have not, over 40 years of life here, seen a woman in India being strapped down or slapped during childbirth.

  2. You ignorant fraud! You think that India is just now adopting the midwifery model of care because of goodness of westerners like you? The art of midwifery was invented and developed in India over the course of the last 6,000 years. Ever a heard of a “Dai” or the Charika Samhita, written records over 4,000 old documenting midwife practices? How is it possible that you are a doula and childbirth educator? Are you really spreading this misinformation to your unfortunate clients? If you want to understand how to rebuild the village, get on a plane to India where most people still live in villages, and every village has at least one widwife.

    You should really not be in this profession.

    1. You sound very angry there Parvati. The inventor is not claming to have started the midwifery model of care in India at all. What was meant was she’s helping to grow the midwifery model of care IN hospitals.

    2. I have birthed 6 babies on 3 different continents and 3 different countries. By far the worst was Germany. The best birth experience was India. One of the worst births I have ever witnessed was my daughter’s birth in India. This was a situation where I know I had PTSD afterwards. As far as slapping goes, I have heard of it from Mexico, the Philippines, Russia. From eye witnesses who I have no reason to doubt the truthfulness of what they said. Than being said, a physical slap is a physical manifestation of the spirit behind it of the person who has the power to do it. The only place in the hospital where doctors in America hold women hostage is in labor and delivery. The can’t slap a woman because of fear of litigation, but they can beat them with words like: “Are you trying to kill your wife and baby?” “You don’t want a dead baby do you?” “If you were my wife or daughter” “Do what you will with your body, but we’ll call CPS if you don’t agree to…” Many women in America are experiencing PTSD from their births. It’s the loss of control over their bodies by someone in “power” or what is happening around them that is as serious as slapping. And it’s not being done just in poor countries. I am an American (thankful I was born here, but not necessarily proud of it). I am also a midwife.

  3. WHY have you NOT Answered the Questions above??? WHERE can You BUY this ‘Birthing Stool? If you can’t provide this info then why do the story that TEASES people by telling about something NOBODY can GET?

  4. This article has a bit of headline issue and I did not expect this from Belly AU. This is a problem when promotion of a product isasked through a health information article. It’s not a device but being upright that is important during birth. Anything that helps being upright a birth ball, stool , on all fours on the bed is also very useful.

    Also I think due care must be taken when generalising about a country in this instance India. Obstetric violence exists all over the world including US, UK. Yes Physical abuse is rampant in many public hospitals in India and should be addressed but the CUB is not going to solve that. More education, enough resources, respectful maternity care by implementing midwifery practice models in hospitals are important steps.

Leave a Reply

Please note: in order to prevent spam and inappropriate language, all comments are moderated before they appear. We appreciate your patience awaiting approval. BellyBelly receives many comments every day, and we are unable to approve them all as soon as they are posted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

loaded font roboto