The thought of sitting on an unstable birthing ball during labor (or even pregnancy!) can be scary. But when used correctly, birthing balls (also known as stability balls and exercise balls) are an excellent tool for maintaining a healthy pregnancy and a successful birth.
In fact, birthing ball exercises can provide you with strength and stability, help speed up dilation, move the baby into the pelvis, and even manage labor and delivery pains. What's more, pregnancy balls are affordable, effective, and versatile (you can also use them well after giving birth to help with postpartum pain and breastfeeding, and kids tend to think they're fun to play with), so you can keep your A partner or friend is involved in the doula. No wonder so many midwives and midwives recommend them to their clients.
4 Ways to Use a Birth Ball During Labor
So if you're ready to take on the earth side of baby, here's how to use a birthing ball during labor for comfort and to help manage pain.
Sit on the exercise ball for pregnancy and let your pelvis rock back and forth and side to side. This will help transform the pelvis into good spinal and pelvic alignment and help ease discomfort between contractions. Simply sitting at the ball can also provide soft support to the perineum when hard surfaces are no longer comfortable.
2. Lean on the ball
If you're about to feel exhausted, lean on your birthing ball. The best way to do this is to stand up, place the ball on a bed in a hospital or birthing center, and lean forward to hang on the ball. Leaning your belly forward takes pressure off your lower back and can guide your baby deeper into your pelvis. Your labor partner or doula can massage your back for extra relief while you rest on the ball.
3. Lean on the ball, on all fours
Place the birthing ball for pregnancy on the floor and rest your knees on it. This also helps with back pain. For extra stability, wrap your arms around the exercise ball and hug it. Your partner or doula can massage your back to relieve some pain. In this position, gravity pushes the baby's head down toward the cervix, which may help speed dilation.
Light bouncing is a great way to deal with pain between contractions. You may find that you naturally feel the need to rock and bounce. Use this time to figure out what your body is trying to do instinctively, trusting that it knows exactly what to do to make you feel comfortable.
As mentioned earlier, birthing balls are versatile and these are just a few of the ways you can use them during labor and delivery. Make sure your partner or doula is nearby to support you and avoid mishaps and accidents. In the end, let your body lead the way for the safest, most comfortable birth experience: it knows what you and your baby need, and is able to use the tool intuitively.