I have recently been asked about birth stools for use in labour and birth. Birth stools assist a woman to maintain a supported squat position and can be used during labour and birth. Birth stools have been around for centuries, and a quick google search will help you to locate many different designs of stools that have been used throughout the centuries.
In terms of labour, birth stools can be very helpful in supporting a woman in an upright position.
During birthing, birth stools can help the baby to descend (move through the pelvis) faster, making the second stage shorter. However, there is some concern that they may increase the chance of tearing and of losing too much blood after the birth of the baby. For this reason, some midwives will assist women into other positions for the actual birth, such as hands and knees and kneeling.