Birthing balls, also known as swiss balls, exercise balls or labour balls, are versatile tools that have gained popularity among expectant mothers and healthcare professionals as a beneficial aid during pregnancy, labour and delivery. These inflatable exercise balls provide support, comfort, and various therapeutic benefits during childbirth.
What are Birthing Balls?
Birthing balls are large, inflatable exercise balls designed specifically for expectant mothers to use during labour and childbirth. These balls are made from durable, anti-burst material and come in various sizes, typically ranging from 55 cm to 75 cm in diameter. The size can be chosen based on the mother’s height and comfort level.
How Do Birthing Balls Work?
Birthing balls work by utilising the principles of movement, positioning, and relaxation. The gentle bouncing, swaying, or rocking motions on the ball help stimulate the body’s natural relaxation response, release tension, and ease discomfort during labour. Additionally, the upright and forward-leaning positions facilitated by the ball help promote optimal alignment of the pelvis, encouraging efficient contractions and effective pushing during delivery.
Why are Birthing Balls Used?
- Pain Relief: Birthing balls are used to alleviate pain and discomfort during labour. The gentle bouncing or rocking motions on the ball can help distract from labour pains and provide a sense of relief.
- Promote Optimal Foetal Positioning: Sitting or kneeling on a birthing ball can encourage proper alignment of the baby’s head and pelvis, which may facilitate labour progress.
- Encourage Movement and Position Changes: Birthing balls allow for freedom of movement, making it easier for mothers to change positions and find the most comfortable and effective positions for labour and delivery.
- Increase Pelvic Opening: Sitting or leaning forward on a birthing ball helps open up the pelvic outlet, providing more room for the baby to descend during labour.
- Relaxation and Stress Reduction: The gentle movements on the ball can promote relaxation and help reduce stress and anxiety during labour.
- Supportive and Comfortable Seating Option: Birthing balls provide a cushioned and comfortable surface for mothers to sit or lean on during labour, reducing strain on the back and hips.
What are Birthing Balls Suitable for?
Birthing balls are suitable for various purposes during pregnancy, labour and delivery, including:
Early Labour: Sitting or rocking on the ball during early labour can help promote relaxation and provide pain relief.
Active Labour: Using the ball during active labour allows mothers to adopt different positions, such as kneeling, squatting, or leaning forward, which can aid in pain management and labour progress.
Labour Positioning: Birthing balls can assist in finding the most comfortable and effective positions for labour, including upright positions that promote optimal foetal positioning.
Pushing Phase: Sitting or leaning on the ball during the pushing phase can enhance comfort, provide support, and encourage effective contractions and pushing efforts.
Post-Delivery Recovery: Birthing balls can also be used post-delivery to aid in recovery exercises, such as gentle stretching, strengthening, and pelvic floor exercises.
When to Use a Birthing Ball:
Birthing balls can be used at various stages of labour and delivery. Consider using a birthing ball:
- During early labour to promote relaxation and pain relief.
- As labour progresses, when the contractions become more intense, to find comfortable positions and provide support.
- During active labour to aid in pain management, encourage movement, and facilitate optimal foetal positioning.
- When preparing for the pushing phase, to maintain an upright position and encourage effective contractions and pushing efforts.
- During the post-delivery period, for recovery exercises and gentle movements to aid in postpartum healing.
Additional Information about Birthing Balls
Safety Precautions: Ensure that the birthing ball is properly inflated and on a non-slip surface to prevent accidents or falls. Use the ball under the guidance and supervision of a healthcare professional.
Personal Comfort: Experiment with different positions and movements on the ball to find what feels most comfortable and effective for you during labour.
Partner Support: Birthing balls can also be used by birth partners or support persons to provide physical support, such as back or hip counter-pressure, to the labouring mother.
Hospital and Home Births: Birthing balls can be used in various birth settings, including hospitals, birthing centres, or home births. Check with your healthcare provider or birthing facility about the availability and guidelines for using a birthing ball.
Consultation with Healthcare Provider: Discuss the use of a birthing ball with your healthcare provider or midwife during your prenatal care visits. They can provide guidance, answer questions, and help determine the suitability of using a birthing ball based on your unique circumstances.
Birthing balls are valuable tools that offer support, comfort, and therapeutic benefits during labour and childbirth. Their ability to promote movement, encourage optimal foetal positioning, provide pain relief, and enhance relaxation makes them a popular choice among expectant mothers and healthcare professionals. By incorporating a birthing ball into your labour and delivery experience, you can enhance your comfort, actively participate in your birthing process, and facilitate a positive birth experience.
Remember to consult with your healthcare provider or midwife, follow safety guidelines, and embrace the benefits of using a birthing ball as a supportive aid during this transformative journey of bringing new life into the world.
Birthing balls Australia is being searched more and more as people learn about their benefits. Here at Fitball Australia, the birthing ball is one of our best sellers. Please do not hesitate to contact our team on [email protected] if you have any questions we can help you with.