You’ve probably seen fit balls/exercise balls in yoga classes or at the gym. These inflated balls aren’t only great for workouts – they are a great tool for use before, during and after birth (often referred to as birthing balls).
Birthing balls are essentially the same as exercise balls. They are made of durable materials that make them extremely difficult to puncture. Birthing balls tend to be larger (for comfort) and have an anti-slip finish.
Birth balls are definitely a favourite tool for many mums as they can reduce pain and help you feel more comfortable during labour and used before, during and after birth. You can use them during pregnancy for comfort as sitting on the birth ball strengthens your abdomen and lower back, and also can sometimes help lessen lower back pain. Sitting on the ball, especially in the final few weeks of pregnancy, can aid in the proper positioning of the baby.
During Birth, birthing balls are good for assisting you to get into more comfortable positions. Some positions include:
Sitting on the ball – sit with feet nice and wide and flat on the ground. Keep a straight back and good posture. Do this at home, at your birth location and even in the shower.
Kneel and lean – kneel with nice open knees and lean upper torso on the ball. This can be done on the floor or the bed.
Stand and lean – place the ball on a high surface like bed and stand with nice open legs whilst learning on the ball.
Keep moving – using the ball encourages movement. Bounce, sway & circle your hips!
After birth, another great use for birthing balls is to soothe your newborn baby – once you have mastered the ball, you can hold the baby while sitting. Soothe the baby with gentle bounces and swaying side to side. It is also natural to have pain or pressure in the area between your vagina and anus so sitting down can be uncomfortable, by deflating the birth balls a little bit it can make it softer and more comfortable for you to watch tv, relax, or breastfeed.
To be comfortable on a birthing ball it’s important to choose the right sized ball based on your size and height. It is important that your knees are lower than your pelvis when you sit on the ball.
Here is a general guideline to help pick the right size for you.
- If you’re 163cm or smaller: 55cm ball
- If you’re 164-178cm: 65cm ball
- If you’re 179cm or taller: 75cm ball
Have you also heard about ‘peanut balls’? They are oblong and peanut-shell shaped (hence the name) and dip in the centre so you can wrap your legs around them. It can be used as a support for women in labour and is even effective with an epidural. It sits snugly between the woman’s legs so that both legs are optimally positioned to increase the opening of the pelvic outlet. This can help labour to progress and provides the birthing mother with more comfort.
Overall, a birthing ball is a great tool that can provide you with a lot of comforts before and during labour, it can relieve back pain, and decrease pelvic pressure. Click here to purchase your birthing ball OR Click here to purchase a peanut ball.