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On the ball!



I know what you’re thinking: Where does a large plastic ball fit into the labor and delivery scene? Actually, the birthing ball (which was first used in Germany) is a very comfortable way to go through labor. The ball is ribbed so that it won’t slip while you are sitting on it, and it will hold up to 350 pounds. Many women who deliver without the assistance of medications say they never could have made it without the birthing ball

. Although resting on a bed or in a rocking chair may ease your discomfort while you are in labor, it’s helpful to have many different position options available–and the birthing ball is simply another alternative.
What can the birthing ball do for me?
The birthing ball offers several benefits to mothers-to-be. Among them:

  • Many women find that swaying their hips back and forth or lightly bouncing on the ball can help relieve the discomfort of contractions.
  • You can place the ball close to your bed and lean over the mattress. This allows for pelvic mobility and gives you a chance to rest between contractions.
  • The ball works especially well if you are experiencing back labor.
  • If your baby is positioned so that he is facing up toward your pubic bone (also known as occiput posterior position), the birthing ball may help the baby to rotate before delivery. When a baby is in this position, it’s beneficial for the mother to position herself on her hands and knees and rock her hips back and forth to try to rotate the baby into the best position for delivery. Unfortunately, pregnant women can’t maintain this position for long because of discomfort in their wrists and hands. However, by leaning over the birthing ball, the mother-to-be can stay in this position and do this motion for an extended period of time because her weight is totally supported by the ball.
  • By sitting up straight on the ball, you can use gravity to help the fetus descend into your pelvis, which can speed up labor.
  • Sitting on a birthing ball allows your support person to rub your back or give counter pressure more easily.
  • Sitting on the ball also gives extra support to your pelvic muscles. In addition, you can place warm compresses between the ball and your bottom to facilitate the relaxation of your perineum, which may help diminish the pain of the baby’s descent.
  • When pushing in the squatting position to widen the pelvic outlet, you can place the ball against the wall and lean into it with the upper part of your back, instead of leaning on your support person. This frees him up to help you in other ways.

Still not convinced the birthing ball’s worth using? Try sitting on one in our classes or at the store. If you were skeptical before, you’ll be a believer after you sample one!

Try it….you’ll like it!  Baby will too!



One Response

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