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Relaxbirth Clinical Trial

Relaxbirth® research study is underway

Summa Akron City Hospital is first in the U.S. to offer the birthing device for women who are in labor

ReElaxbirthThrough its combined efforts with the BioFinland Technology Bridge/Akron Biomedical Corridor, Summa Akron City Hospital is now the first – and only – hospital in the nation offering Relaxbirth® to women in labor. Currently, the device is only being offered as part of a research study on women with low-risk pregnancies.

The Relaxbirth device was designed by a midwife in Helsinki, Finland, and a Relaxbirth, Ltd. team. Relaxbirth, Ltd. chose Summa Akron City Hospital to use the device based on Summa’s reputation for innovation and evidence-based practice.

The device is designed  to help women change positions during labor, and can be used for standing, sitting, and side-lying during the first stage of labor (before pushing) and/or second stage of labor (pushing). The purpose of the birthing device is to help women achieve upright positioning (sitting, standing) during the labor process. 

Upright positioning during labor is preferred for a number of reasons:

  • It maximizes the diameter of the pelvis; by sitting or standing the diameter is increased by almost 30 percent as compared to other positions.
  • Gravity is a woman’s friend during labor; upright positions maximize the gravitational forces and help the baby descend through the birth canal.
  • Being upright during the second stage of labor has been associated with fewer pushes, less trauma to the birth canal and fewer vaginal births using forceps and vacuum extractors.

The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) endorses upright positioning as an ‘evidence-based practice’.

The basic cornerstones of Relaxbirth are based on the premise of upright positioning:

  • Leaning against Relaxbirth and movements by the woman during the first stage of labor increase relaxation and help the baby to descend
  • The position maximizes the natural pushing power; in addition, pushing handles and ideal support points for the woman also contribute to the mother feeling less exhausted after delivery

The purpose of the Summa research study is for patients and Summa health care providers to rate the Relaxbirth birthing chair in helping women in labor achieve upright or side lying positions when compared to a regular birthing bed.

Women who have low-risk pregnancies and are planning to deliver at Summa Akron City Hospital can request to use the Relaxbirth device during labor. Only women enrolled in the research study can use Relaxbirth.  Participating in the study does not alter the level of care our maternity patients receive from the physicians and staff at Summa Akron City Hospital.

For more details about how to become a participant in the Relaxbirth study, download the information sheet.

Would you be interested in using the Relaxbirth device? Talk to your doctor or certified nurse midwife to determine if you qualify for the research study.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Doyle, Principal Investigator, at (330) 375-3718 or