Birthing balls (exercise balls) may be one of the most underused tools during labor. Whether you decide to go natural for your delivery or plan on using medications, it should be one of your initial go to comfort measures during labor. Some hospitals do provide birthing balls on their labor and delivery units, but I recommend that you bring your own with a ball cover, to ensure its available. Safety is key, so be certain to have someone present when you are using the birth ball.
Birth balls can be used from early labor up to complete dilation or opening of the cervix.
Here are some great reasons to use a birth ball:
- It encourages the baby to come down into the pelvis via gravity
- Facilitates optimal position of baby in pelvis
- It acts as a shock absorber versus laboring while sitting on a hard chair and/or other surface
- Helps relieve spinal pressure and takes pressure off of the ankles and legs during labor
- Provides counter pressure against perineum, which can help open cervix and speed your labor
- Can be used in a squat position, which can open your pelvis ~30% !!!!!!!!
- Gives you the freedom to shift your weight for comfort
- Can be used with electronic fetal monitoring
- Can be used in all four position to relieve back pain
Safety is key, so be certain to have someone present when you are using the birth ball.
*** Birth balls are super useful, easy to find and can truly make your labor a shorter and a more comfortable experience