Birthing Ball for Labor and Pregnancy
A birthing ball, also known as an exercise ball, is a popular tool used during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum to provide comfort, pain relief, and aid in delivery. Made from anti-burst material, it is a durable and versatile option that can be used in various positions and techniques. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using a birthing ball during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum, as well as how to choose the right size and cover, and exercises for inducing labor.
Using Birthing Ball to Break Water
If you are past 39 weeks of pregnancy, bouncing on a birthing ball may help break your water. This technique helped Krystal, who bounced on a ball every night before her water broke during her hospital birth. It is important to cover the ball with a chuck pad in case the water breaks. Other methods like nipple stimulation, sex, membrane stripping, or amniotomy may also help, but it is essential to consult a medical professional first, as they involve some risks.
Benefits of Using Birthing Ball During Pregnancy
Using a birthing ball during pregnancy can help with various issues and relieve pain. It is a low-cost tool that can significantly reduce discomfort and aid in dilation of the cervix. Here are some benefits of using a birthing ball during pregnancy:
- Encourages the baby to move into the proper position for birth
- Promotes natural swaying and movement when placed on a bed or table
- Takes the pressure off the mother’s back when leaning over on all fours with the ball
- Significantly reduces pain and discomfort, especially in the back, stress, pelvis, and abdominal areas
- Great for postpartum use as well to lull babies to sleep
- Can help induce labor by creating balance in the pelvis and encouraging the baby into an ideal position
Birthing Ball Exercises for Inducing Labor
While the effectiveness of using an exercise ball to induce labor is not determined, it can be a great tool to encourage contractions and assist the process. Here are some exercises to try:
- Rocking movement
- Squat position
- Figure eight movement
Stretching with the ball can also open up pelvic muscles to help induce labor. Other exercises recommended for inducing labor include tilting back and forward, hip circles, exercise ball squats, engaged breathing, butterfly pose, supported forward bend, and slow dance.
Birthing Ball Techniques for Labor
A birthing ball can be an effective tool during labor to reduce pain, maintain upright positions, encourage open breathing, and assist in optimal fetal positioning. Here are some techniques:
- Rocking and swaying to contractions
- Support when squatting or kneeling on the ball to assist baby into good birthing position
- Relieve pressure on tailbone and loosen pelvic muscles through rocking
- Improve breathing and pelvic mobility to move the baby into an optimal position
Choosing the right size birthing ball is crucial for correct posture, comfort, and support. The ball should be selected based on height and pressure-tested to support weight up to 300kg. A peanut-shaped ball may be used during labor for moms who need to remain in the bed for an epidural. Moreover, if you are using a hospital or birth center’s ball, wash it before use or wrap it in a gown or chuck pad.
Birthing Ball Postpartum Use and Other Benefits
A birthing ball is an excellent tool to help pregnant women cope with pain, discomfort, and induce labor, as well as provide comfort and relief during postpartum. Before trying any techniques, always consult with a medical professional to ensure safety and effectiveness.