With the dawning of your labor you might be wondering if there is anything that can ease the pain of birth. For many women using a birth ball (also called birthing ball) can in fact ease some of the pain experienced in labor. Just a few years ago, the Cochrane Collaboration, reviewed research of maternal positions in the course of the second stage of labor. It found that sitting up or lying on one's side were far better laboring positions than lying on the back.
The birthing ball is an excellent tool for labor and delivery. It provides comfort and support all through your labor. It is comfortable to sit down on whenever you get tired,however you will still able to maintain moving your body, which is an important part of labor. Additionally, some movements on the ball actually encourage the proper positioning and passage of the infant through the birth canal. The ball is additionally helpful in the later phases of your pregnancy when there could also be lower back ache or hip discomfort.
The ball gives you more flexibility when it comes to positioning yourself throughout labor. It permits you to sit in a semi-squatting position without straining the muscles of your legs. It's also possible to support yourself on your hands and knees or even place the ball on the hospital mattress or sofa of your living room and stand up leaning over it.
Not in labor yet? You can still use a birth ball! There are two major ways to make use of it during pregnancy: for sitting on and for leaning on. When you sit on it the first time use both hands to balance or have someone help you from behind whilst you get used to how the ball moves, bounces and changes position everytime you shift your weight. Sitting on the ball at any time, however particularly during pregnancy helps relieve the pressure on your hips and lower back by forcing you to engage your stomach muscles and sit with good posture. Most women additionally find it easier to get up from a birth ball than from a sofa or deep chair because all they need to do is shift their weight and roll up onto their feet.
Because pregnant women are often unbalanced, it is recommended that whenver you have a birth ball you use a spotter. If a spotter is not available then you can purchase a birth ball base that will stabilize the ball while allowing you to keep the squatting position.
Most birth balls are simply round exercise balls however they do come in other shapes. An egg ball is oval in shaped and has more stability while giving you a deeper squat. A peanut ball is shaped like a peanut and is made to be straddled. This also gives you more stability. It's highly recommended that you start using a birth ball before labor, not just to get used to it but also for exercises that will help strengthen all the necessary muscles needed for labor. If you'd like to learn more about birth ball exercises the Essential Exercise and Birthball Handbook is a great place to start.
Remember, that while a birth ball provides comfort for many women, there will be some women for whom the ball does not help. As with anything else during your pregnancy if you feel discomfort or pain while using the ball, stop. Otherwise, using a birth ball is a great way to ease the pains of labor before and during pregnancy!