The Birthing Balls - Making Pregnancy Easier
While the idea of a birthing ball may sound a little strange, they have been being used for many
years. Birthing balls were originally developed for use as a physical therapy tool to help treat various
physiological problems and some neurological issues. They are also used in exercise programs in many health clubs
to assist obese people begin to get the exercise they need without placing undue stress on their spine and legs
until their level of fitness is such that they can move on to more strenuous exercises.
One of the added bonuses of the birthing ball is that it is lightweight and easy to clean; many
hospitals now count a birth ball as part of their standard equipment and are actually recommending the use of
birthing balls during pregnancy to help make the process of giving birth much easier for the expectant mother.
One of the most important uses of a birthing ball is actually during pregnancy is to help the
expectant mother with getting plenty of healthy exercises. Birthing ball exercises are used to help stimulate good
postural reflexes and ensure that the supportive muscles around the spine are kept strong and in good working
condition. Many women also find that as they enter their third trimester that the birthing ball makes a hand piece
At this stage of pregnancy many women find that sitting in a regular chair can be excessively
uncomfortable and that getting up and down out of a chair can become very difficult and often painful to do. A
birth ball provides an easy seat that the expectant mother can roll herself up to a standing position far more
easily than getting out of a chair.
Exercises with a Birthing Ball
One of the key uses of a birthing ball is as an exercise tool while you are pregnant; to start
with you need to choose the right size birth ball. Birthing balls come in a range of sizes from 55 cm to 75 cm in
diameter and are made of professional grade materials that are designed to deflate slowly if punctured so as not to
rupture and cause injury. You should choose a ball that when properly inflated allows you to sit with your knees at
bent at a 90° angle.
Because your body develops the hormone known as "relaxin", that causes problems with balance
during pregnancy, you may want to use a spotter while you are sitting and exercising. Remember to breathe properly
while you are exercising. Birthing ball exercises are an important part of mothecare while you are pregnant and are
designed to make the birthing process far less painful and more relaxed by toning up the muscles of the back and
the pelvic area as well as the legs.
Once the time has come for you to have your baby, you can bring your own birthing ball with you
or use on that is supplied by the hospital. As you enter labour you will find that birthing ball exercises can become your best friend especially once you are
attached to the IV and various other tethers that stop you from being able to move around freely such as a fetal
monitor. If your labour is going to continue for several hours, as most do, you are likely to find one of
these exercise balls a great alternative to spending the entire time lying in
When you sit on the ball you will find that it encourages a very natural rotating or swaying
motion of your hips which will encourage the descent of your baby through the birth canal. Using the ball will help
to support the perineal area without applying a lot of pressure and will help keep your baby properly aligned for
delivery in the pelvis. The sitting position on the ball, which is similar to a squat, has also been shown to open
the pelvis and speed up the labor and delivery process. If you can rock gently back and forth on the ball, it may
help to ease the pain of your contractions.
If you need to stand for a period of time you can place the ball on the bed to provide a soft
place to lean against which will also aid in pelvic swaying. On the floor you can kneel and lay on the ball which
has been shown to help posterior positioned babies to turn to the correct position making the birth process much
smoother. This is a great position for the moms who are suffering back labor pains caused by the baby's position.
When in this position the doula or other attendant has easy access for massage and counter pressure to help ease
After a full battery of studies it was found that most women who used a birthing ball
experienced shorter second stage labour along with less need for assistance with delivery. The need for
episiotomies and tearing were was pronounced. After the birth of your baby, you may find that sitting on the ball
helps you with your posture and your baby will enjoy being gently bounced while being breast fed. All the way
around the use of birthing balls has been found to be an excellent addition to your pregnancy and post delivery
health and well being.