Use your ball to the max!!
How can I use my birthing ball during pregnancy?
You can use your birthing ball to:
Sit comfortably while you're working or relaxing
You may find your ball much more comfortable, and easier to get on and off, than a hard chair or soft sofa.
Also, sitting on a birthing ball gives you a mini-workout. As you rock or bounce on it gently, your tummy and back muscles will be working hard to keep you upright.
Get some gentle exercise
Using your birthing ball is a fun way to improve your posture and balance, and to exercise your tummy muscles. This helps your body to support the weight of your pregnancy.
Sitting on the ball and rocking your pelvis from side to side and front to back. When you do this, try to keep your shoulders still so the movement comes from your waist and below.
Rotating your hips clockwise then anti-clockwise.
Leaning over your ball from a kneeling position, then rocking your hips forward and back.
You may also want to try exercising your pelvic floor while sitting on your birthing ball. It can be easier to feel what is happening and you’ll also be working your lower tummy muscles at the same time.
Help change the position of your baby in late pregnancy
If your baby is in a posterior position, adopting upright, forward-leaning positions may encourage him to switch around.
Try getting on to your knees and leaning forward over your ball. This may encourage your baby's back to swing forward so he's in an anterior position, with his back towards your bump. Although your baby may not stay that way until you goo into labor, it may give you some temporary relief from back pain.
Practice positions for labor
If you try out different positions for labor while you're still pregnant, you'll know how they feel and discover which ones are more comfortable for you.
How can I use my birthing ball during labor?
It’s best to practice using the ball before you go into labor so you feel comfortable and safe using it.
Some midwives recommend a combination of birthing ball and TENS to help women cope at home in early labor.
You may find you instinctively sway and rock in rhythm with your contractions , and a birthing ball gives great support for this.
Ways to use your birth ball during labor include:
Sitting astride the ball and rocking your pelvis from side to side or back and forth.
Leaning on your birthing ball from a kneeling position on the floor.
Getting into a hands-and-knees position by hugging your birthing ball and lifting your bottom up from a kneeling position. You can then rock your pelvis from side to side.
Leaning over your ball from a standing position, with the ball on the bed or another surface.
All these techniques can be used during first stage labor.
These positions also give your birth partner plenty of room to support you, massage you or apply pressure to your lower back during contractions.
During the pushing stage you'll want to avoid sitting, so use the leaning or hands-and-knees positions. They will take the pressure off your bottom and give your baby lots of room to descend with each contraction and to be born.
Most hospital labor wards and birthing centers have birthing balls for women to use during labor. If you're particularly attached to your own birthing ball, take it along with you. You can clean it afterwards by washing it down with warm soapy water.