Find out how a birthing ball can make birth so much easier for you!
Labor and delivery, while painful, can be one of the most joyous moments of your life.
While it is different for every woman, there are things that you can do to help ensure your labor and delivery go as smooth as possible.
There are many various things you can do to assist in making your labor and delivery a wonderful experience. One of them is to use the assistance of a birthing ball or a birthing stool.
What is a Birthing Ball?
A birthing ball is very similar to an exercise/stability ball or a yoga ball. It is a large rubber type ball filled with air that women can use to assist in their pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
They generally come in a variety of sizes to accommodate women of different heights and or weights.
Birthing balls can also come in a non-slip finish to help ensure safety for mama to be and are made of PVC material rather than latex to prevent any allergic reactions. You want to be sure that you are purchasing a ball that is at least 65 to 75 centimeters in height when deflated.
One of the main advantages of a birthing ball is that it allows the mother to be the ability to rock back and forth on a soft surface.
This can be particularly helpful during intense back labor or other general labor pains to help relieve some pressure.
Birthing balls can be used during the pregnancy, leading up to labor, during active labor, to help to induce labor, as well as for postpartum exercising.
Using a birthing ball during pregnancy can help greatly to relieve back pain while sitting, either at work or at home.
The Benefits of a Birthing Ball
A birthing ball has many benefits.
- It helps to align the back and straighten the spine while sitting which helps to relieve pressure and minimize pain.
- The pelvis becomes more open in preparation for birth.
- They can help to alleviate discomfort in the spine, hips, and lower back.
- They can be used in place of a chair to create a more comfortable sitting environment for pregnant mamas.
What is a Birthing Stool?
A birthing stool is vastly different from a birthing ball.
A birthing stool is specifically used during labor and delivery for using to assist in upright deliveries. Birthing stools can be used in the hospital, at home, or during a water birth.
One of the main benefits of a birthing stool is to assist the pregnant mother in squatting, which opens up the pelvis to to help bring baby further down the birth canal.
One of the biggest advantages of a birthing ball over a birthing stool is the cost. Purchasing a birthing ball is significantly more affordable than a stool.
How to Use a Birthing Ball
There are many great exercises that you can perform on a birthing ball both while pregnant, during labor, and after delivery to relieve pain and make your delivery and recovery smoother.
If you are experiencing a lot of back pain due to sciatica then using a birthing ball to do some simple exercises can help immensely help to alleviate those pains.
Sit on the ball and rotate your pelvis/butt in a circular motion.
This will help to relive pain and get baby into the correct position for birth. Just make sure that you are changing the direction in which you are rotating.
You can also simply rock your pelvis side to side or back and forth if rotating in a circular motion is not comfortable for you.
If you are using your ball for the very first time, pregnant or not, you should place in on carpet when you are sitting on it rather than on a smooth surface. This will help to prevent any kind of slippage. Don’t go crazy the first time you use it. Simply first try sitting on it.
Then progress into moving your hips back and forth and or side to side. If you are feeling unsteady, you can always place the ball in front of a chair or other stable surface and hold onto that while using the ball.
If you are using your birthing ball to workout and stay fit during your pregnancy, then you should make sure that you do so with slow and controlled motions.
Focus on your breathing and if you feel discomfort, dizziness, or pain stop immediately.
How To Use a Birthing Ball to Induce Labor
Did you know that you can also use a birthing ball to help induce labor?
When it finally rolls around to month nine, you are more than ready to meet your little bundle of joy. Not only do pregnant mothers to be, but doulas, midwives, and birthing experts praise the benefits of using a birthing ball to help speed along the labor process.
You want to be sure that you consult with your doctor before attempting any kind of induction methods and only try during 39-41 weeks of gestation.
You can help to move baby into the proper position of birthing by gently bouncing up and down on the ball.
Simply sit on the ball with your knees level to your hips (this should be a good indicator that you have the right size ball), gently bounce up and down with your hands placed on your knees, belly, or hips.
Focus on keeping your spine straight and your shoulders back while keeping good posture. Don’t forget to focus on your breathing and make sure that you don’t fall off!
You can also try and induce labor by using a rocking motion. This is slightly different than the rocking motion used to relieve back pain as your feet are shoulder width apart and facing out. This helps to keep your balance and open up your pelvis.
If necessary, hold onto a sturdy chair and help keep your balance. Proceed to rock back and forth while placing your weight on your tailbone first then on your pelvis. This motion helps to relieve pressure on your back and tailbone while loosening up the pelvic area to help prepare for baby.
Similarly, you can do a figure 8 motion to help prepare for birth and loosen up the back muscles.
Squatting is a great way to prepare for birth. For millennia, that is how woman gave birth. There were no beds to hold your legs up, no doctors with forceps to pull the baby out, only squatting.
You can achieve an effective squatting position by standing upright, turning your feet slightly outward, then slowly lower yourself into a squatting position.
While keeping your knees shoulder-width apart, place the birthing ball in front of you use it to keep your balance.
Squatting uses gravity to help keep your pelvis open which helps baby descend into the birthing canal which can help to get labor going. The most important thing is to be patient, don’t try and force baby, he or she will come when they are ready.
Many of these exercises can also be used during labor to help move things along and to help relieve pain.
The Best Birthing Ball
The Baby Bump Birthing Ball
Want the perfect ball that you can coordinate with your nursery?
The Baby Bump Birthing Ball has the unique feature of having legs to provide stability. This also helps prevent the ball from rolling around on the ground and collecting dirt, animal hair, or other allergens.
The legs also double as handles so that you can easily carry the ball from one location to another. You can even use it like a rocking chair and bounce your little one to sleep while sitting on it.
The Birth Ball
This is a great ball to use for pregnancy, birth, and beyond. It comes to two different sizes, 65cm and 75cm, and is made with extra thick, eco-friendly, slip-proof PVC for extra support.
There are also non-slip socks, and a hand pump for inflating the ball, and an 18-page visual guide book with exercises and positions to help you get the most out of your birthing ball.
Stability Ball with Washable Cover
While not “technically” a birthing ball, this stability ball can serve the same purpose.
The great thing about this one is that it comes with a machine washable, soft cloth cover. No more sticking to your birthing ball! It also comes with a handle for easy carrying.
Stability Ball with Base
This is great if you want something to help hold you steady but still want to be able to use the ball later on as an exercise ball for post-pregnancy. Plus it also comes in a variety a bright colors!
The Peanut Shaped Birthing Ball
If you don’t feel comfortable on a round ball, perhaps you lack any kind of balance (pregnancy can do that to you) this peanut shaped birthing ball is perfect for you. While it can only roll one way, it also provides much more stability.
It also helps you to get into the squatting position easier than a traditional round ball.
Finding the Right Birthing Ball For You
There you go mamas! The ultimate guide to finding the right birth ball for you.
Let me know which birth ball you choose!
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