How birthing balls help with pregnancy and delivery

Shutterstock: New Africa

When you’re pregnant, the physical, mental, and emotional journey can be intense. Pregnancy pains, nausea, and other symptoms can take a toll on your body, making it hard at times to get out of the bed. Believe it or not, carrying the baby is typically the easiest part. Labor, or when the mother gives birth, is exactly as the name says, labor. Luckily, there are ways to make both the pregnancy journey and the delivery process easier. One of those ways is using a birthing ball.

Birthing balls are just exercise balls used during pregnancy. They slightly differ based on the material used (birthing balls have anti-burst materials that are not easily penetrated) but have similar uses. They also have a non-slip feature to help pregnant women balance without falling and potentially hurting herself or the baby. Birthing balls are a great tool for pregnant women for many reasons. For instance, depending on the baby’s position, it can add lots of pressure to the back. Using a birthing ball relieves the pain and pressure put on the back and also helps the hips during labor. If the baby isn’t in the right position for delivery, sitting on a birthing ball also helps get the baby into the right position for birth. If the baby isn’t positioned properly for birth, also known as a breech baby, the mother will be forced to get a cesarean as a vaginal birth would not be safe. To avoid having to get a cesarean, use a birthing ball.

In addition to positioning the baby for labor and easing pressure, birthing balls also stimulates blood flow to the pelvic area and the placenta. The placenta is important for making sure the baby gets adequate amounts of oxygen and nutrients while in the womb. Without proper blood flow, the mother develops placental insufficiency, which leads to low birth rate, minimal oxygen, premature birth, and even birth defects. The placenta is also integral in making sure the baby is safe from harmful bacteria and prevents infections that can be fatal for underdeveloped fetuses.

When purchasing a birthing ball, it is not a “one size fits all” process. Be sure to consider your weight and height when buying your ball. For instance, when you sit on the ball, make sure your feet are firmly planted on the ground. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing your balance, which can lead to a fall. Getting used to your birthing ball prior to labor to get comfortable. Be sure to inflate the ball at least a few weeks prior to your due date, as blowing up a birthing ball during labor can discourage using it.

Using your birthing ball with your partner helping you is also beneficial. Preparing for labor with your partner can double as bonding time and practicing positions for delivery day. Even after labor, birthing balls are great for both rocking your little one to sleep and getting off that remaining baby weight.