Birthing Balls for Pregnancy, Labor, and Beyond

by admin on January 31, 2011

This is a guest blog entry about birthing balls from Skyword for Pampers Village.

Birthing balls have become a staple in maternity care, a must for any new mom’s hospital bag. What is a birthing ball? You’ve probably seen exercise balls at the gym, where they’re used for abdominal and Pilates workouts. These balls can also be used as birthing balls. The beauty of the birthing ball is that it provides incredible support for women during pregnancy, labor, and after birth. These days, they’re available in various sizes and fashionable colors.

During pregnancy I found that the birthing ball really helped to relieve my discomfort. When a regular chair didn’t provide adequate support, the birthing ball encouraged good posture, which relieved pressure in my lower back. I would place the birthing ball against the wall and slowly move into a squat position while sliding down the wall, then maintaining that position for three to five seconds before rolling back up.

During labor the birthing ball comes in handy also. Sometimes hospitals and birthing centers provide birthing balls for mothers to use. Laboring mothers can kneel in front of the ball while draped over it to help ease back labor. Sitting on the ball while gently rocking or swaying the hips can aid in the progression of labor, as can gently bouncing. I have even encouraged mothers to sit on it in the shower if they want the comfort of the water but choose not to stand.

How to find a ball that fits you?

If you are:

Under 4′10,″ get a ball that is 16 in. or 42 cm.
4′11″ to 5′4,″ get a ball that is 21 in. or 55 cm.
5′5″ to 5′11,” get a ball that is 25 in. or 65 cm.
6′ or taller, get a ball that is 29 in. or 75 cm.

You will know that the ball is the correct size if when you sit on it, your knees bend at a 90-degree angle and remain in alignment with your hips. Your hips should not fall below your knees while sitting on the ball. For instance, I am 5’10,” so I chose the 65 cm ball that is perfect for my size.

After pregnancy, I used my birthing ball to get back into shape with modified abdominal exercises, wall squats, Pilates exercises, and push-ups. It’s a very valuable piece of equipment, yet quite  reasonably priced ($15-$25). It’s the single piece of equipment I’m gladdest to have purchased.

Carla Creech is a childbirth educator, certified personal trainer, breastfeeding consultant, birth doula and the mother of two beautiful boys. She blogs at pregnancy.pampers.com, a site where moms connect to share their thoughts about pregnancy, birth, and parenthood. Check out her latest article on Baby Names and Meaning.

Pink Apple Admin – This post is by a guest blogger. The views expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Pink Apple or PinkApple.com employees. Any medical references are opinion only. Please consult with your physician when making decisions regarding your health and pregnancy options.

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