What is a Birth Ball?
What Is A Birth Ball?
A Birth Ball is the same as a yoga ball or an exercise ball. It's only called a birth ball when being used before and during labor. While pregnant a birth ball is a great resource instead of a chair and can become your best friend from early in pregnancy. The birth ball helps you with your posture; which will help during the last few weeks of pregnancy when the baby is trying to get in the right position.
The birth ball helps relieve lower back pain and evens your weight. It can also offer counter pressure for the perineum & thighs. Sitting on the ball is a great way to have the belly be the hammock for the baby.
When using a birth ball, keep your pelvis and hips open as you sit wide-legged making flow to your uterus and placenta. You can also use it to lean on when you are either kneeling or standing; this can help your partner massage you and give you comfort. You can also sit on your ball in the shower, but make sure you have support with you in a shower; either a handlebar or a partner for balance. You can also rock side to side, in circles or back and forth wherever you are.
Before you buy a birth ball though, you need to make sure you have the right size. That's right, not all are the same size. There are 3 different sizes depending on your height. To know you have the right size birth ball your hips need to be about 4 inches higher than your knees when sitting.
Here are 5 gentle exercises you can do on your ball: Hoola Hoop, Figure 8, Side to Side, Over All Stretch, and Pelvic Tilts.
Sit on your ball with your feet on the floor. Legs should be slightly open for balance. Your back needs to be straight. When you have balance move your hips in a circle one way. Then do this the other way. You can also do this in labor for relief or to get the baby in the right position.
This movement helps move the baby's head into your pelvis. Or if you are having lower back pain. As you sit on the ball have your hips make a number 8.
Side to Side Hips:
This exercise is great for stretching out tightness on the sides of your body. When sitting on the ball move your hips side to side.
Over Ball Stretch:
Get in the kneeling position. You can use a mat or pillows for your knees. Lean over your ball and rest your shoulders and head. Have your hips make circular movements. You can also have your hips do figure 8.
As you are in the kneeling position. Hug the ball & rock your pelvis back and forth. This is another way to encourage the baby in the right position.
Tips For Your Birth Ball:
The ball needs to be firm, but have some give. That way you can go back and forth or bounce.
Measure yourself so you get the right size. (short, medium or tall)
When first starting out make sure you have someone nearby. Your balance may be off, so use a wall or couch.
Talk to your provider before using.
Use as early as you can.
Make sure it says anti-burst.
If your bottom is bare when sitting on the ball. Use a chux pad, towel or sheet, so your skin doesn't stick.
Learn How to Use A Birth Ball?
Are you local to the Cincinnati/Dayton area? Tamara is a certified childbirth educator and would be happy to book a childbirth class and teach you all of these positions. She can bring her birth ball with her as well to demonstrate. If you are interested in a class, check out this page.
Looking for a doula?
A doula commonly makes up a part of your birth team and works together with you to give you the birth experience that you want. A doula can be great about answering questions in regards to inductions, due dates and so much more. Tamara Kankowski is a certified birth doula serving families across Cincinnati and Dayton area as well as Northern Kentucky and would be happy to talk with you at that same time.