What is a Birthing Ball?
Very simply it’s an exercise ball that you can find at any department store. We call them birthing balls because we use them for birth, but you don’t have to go seek out any sort of specialty “birthing ball.” They’re pretty inexpensive and definately invaluable.
1) Using the Birthing Ball During The Early Stages of Birth
When you first start to feel your rushes coming on using your birthing ball is a great way to ease into the process. The best way to use your birthing ball in the beginning is to simply sit on it and begin spiraling your hips in a circular motion. Having your birth partner standing in front of you holding your hands or being available for you to rest your head on between rushes can help you feel more supported.
Don’t think too much, don’t worry about the direction your going, or counting your spirals. You can just follow the natural flow and rhythm that you feel in your body. Remember to trust your body and allow it to lead you. This spiraling movement is one of those essential keys to moving the rushes through without allowing them to compound and become painful. The birthing ball makes it easy to move without a ton of effort allowing you to just relax and merge that connection between the rhythm and movement of your body and the flow of the birth. While simultaneously it is opening up your pelvis creating space for your baby to move down.
Using Spirals on the Birthing Ball to Get into Active Labor
Now this one is similar to the first one but is used to get your birthing rushes started. Perhaps your water has broken but it’s taking a while to progress to the point of contractions yet, so to get things rolling you can sit on the ball and do smooth but active circles (perhaps to the same flow as salsa music) for 20 minute alternating directions periodically during that time. This will bring your babies head right down onto your cervix and some nice juicy rushes (contractions) should start flowing.
2) Rocking and Spiraling on Hands and Knees Over the Birthing Ball
Great to use any time throughout your birth. It’s a good way to maintain that hands and knees position without putting any extra strain on your wrists. And the birthing ball is a fabulous support for your upper body allowing you to relax while your body does the work. In this position you can lean over the birthing ball and rock or sway your hips from side to side or from front to back. This movement feels really nice, and can be very soothing. Or even better spiral your hips in this position.
3) Using the Birthing Ball When Mama gets Tired and Needs A Little Extra Support
Another great reason to have a birthing ball on hand is because there may be times during your birth that you get really tired and movement may become challenging. This is when the birthing ball comes in handy. With the help of your birth partners you can sit on the ball and they can easily help to move rock and spiral your hips while your on the ball. Since balls move around easily it is a way to keep your body moving and flowing with the birth without exerting a lot of effort. Also if you’d like to lean over the birthing ball as in the previous position while your birth partners rub your back or apply warm compresses it can help you to relax and release your muscles.
4) Using Birthing Ball to Progress Labor or Get Baby into Favorable Position
This is a position to use if birth has slowed for some reason and you need to get it going again. Sometimes when birth has slowed it is because the baby has moved into an unfavorable position. This one will help to correct this and get your baby properly aligned. You sit and bend your knees touching the soles of your feet together. The birthing ball is placed in the space between your knees and you lean forward to hug the ball. Now you have two trusted people at either side of you.You vigorously rocks side to side as your support team holds your arms and shoulders to hold your weight when you lean towards them preventing you from falling. This is a vigorous movement that shifts the asynclitic (the baby’s head is tipped as if listening). It may correct the angle of the baby’s head and allow it to descend if it was in an unfavorable position.
5) Deep Squatting with the Birthing Ball
Squatting is a great position to be in during birth, because you are upright and working with the pull of gravity to move the baby down, it also creates a wide opening in your pelvis. The arch of the ball can help to support your upper body while in this position. This is a great one to use during all phases of birth and may even be a good possiblity during the pushing phase.
So go out and get yourself a birthing ball! You can practice doing some of these moves while your pregnant such as leaning over the ball (which is awesome to help with back strain) or doing the comfortable spirals on the ball. I used my birthing ball through my whole pregnancy, which relieved a ton of the discomfort and pressure especially the further along I got, and I used it some during the birth. If you already have a birthing ball and have any tips that you’d like to share or if you have any questions please leave me a comment below