The Birth Ball, and why you should have one.
A birth ball most recognized as an exercise ball is an amazing tool for laboring women to use.
There are several ways in which the birth ball can be used and we will discuss just a few of the ways in which this tool can be used to your advantage.
Birth balls can be used during pregnancy, labor, and the 4th trimester. The birth ball also can double as a pretty cool play thing if you have small children.
Most area hospitals in Grand Rapids and birth centers will stock a supply of birthing balls for women to use once they are in labor, however if you are planning a home birth you may find the need to purchase your own ball or have a doula who can provide this tool for your use.
There are height recommendations when selecting a birth ball that a skilled doula can assist in providing information on. General rule of thumb is that your knees should be aligned with your hips, not above or below.
Most women report that sitting on the birth ball is comforting, especially during times you want to move continually or chairs may no longer be so comfy.
Naturally many expecting mothers sway or bounce on the birthing ball this aids in a more relaxed pelvic area and some comfort for mom.
Here’s two things we want you to take away about how using a birth ball helps during labor?
· Provide comfort and relaxation
· Helps for a more efficient and shorter labor
Your next question probably is so how can a birth ball shorten labor and make it more efficient?
Using the birth ball helps to open and widen the pelvis and by using gravity helps the baby to descend or come down further into the birth canal which is more effective than laboring on the back. These two things, a widen pelvis and gravity shortens the length of labor.
So what positions can you use while using the birth ball?
1. Sit on the ball. Sit, rock, or sway. As mentioned above this will help the baby to move down further in the pelvis. This is a great position to be in to have your partner or doula massage your back. Another option while sitting on the ball is to lean against the bed, partner, or doula.
2. Kneel and leaning over the birth ball. This position allows the weight of the baby to fall forward and greatly reduce pressure on the back.
3. Stand and lean over the birth ball. Similar to the kneel and leaning position however the ball is typically placed on a bed in which you’d lean over the ball while in an upright position. Adding a rhythmic sway is a comfort technique we at Bump to Birth Doula Services recommends for our clients when in this position.
Did you use a birth ball during your labor? We’d love to hear what positions you tried and your experience. Tell us in the comments below.