I bought my birthing ball when I was about 7 months pregnant with my first baby. I had been looking at it online for a while, but I just couldn’t decide if it was something I would get enough use out of.
After a few weeks, I went for it and I have been really pleased with my purchase. I have now used it during two pregnancies, for my second labour and postpartum.
Why Do I Need A Birthing Ball?
They are great to use during pregnancy to help you to prepare for the birth. They can be used in childbirth to help labour progress and they can be used as a way to exercise postpartum.
They come in 3 size options depending on your height:
- 55cm for up to 5ft2
- 65cm for 5ft2 to 5ft8
- 75cm for over 5ft8
You can also get different colour options. This is good as it takes up quite a bit of space when inflated and it is nicer if it fits in with the colour of the room.
The most important thing to look for when purchasing a birthing ball is to make sure it is anti-burst and anti-slip.
Not all normal gym balls are anti-slip. This is really important when you’re pregnant so that the ball doesn’t easily side out from underneath you.
Also, try wearing non-slip socks and use your birthing ball on a carpet or rug rather than a smooth floor.
How To Use In Pregnancy?
In the last few months of my pregnancies, I used my birthing ball at least once a day. I found it really comfortable and it was actually better than sitting on the sofa.
Sitting on the birthing ball reduces the pressure on your spine and relieves some back pain.
It also helps to support your ankles and knees.
The birthing ball I purchased also came with some guides. One of these was photographs of different prenatal exercises you could do on your ball.
How To Get Baby Into Position?
Towards the end of my first pregnancy, I found out that the baby wasn’t quite in the right position.
I was advised to bounce and rock on the ball to encourage the baby to wiggle into position.
For a few weeks, I bounced on my ball every day and also did the figure of eight movements while sitting on the ball. It worked for me and baby’s head moved into the correct position and became engaged.
How Do I Encourage Labour To Progress?
When I went into labour for the first time I was kept in hospital. I didn’t get a chance to use my own birthing ball, but the hospital did provide me with a smaller one. I noticed the difference between the sizing and didn’t find this one as comfortable to sit on.
Most of my second labour was spent at home and I sat on my ball for the whole time. I felt more comfortable sitting up during labour than lying on a bed.
Also sitting upright encourages the baby to descend into the pelvis and the pelvic muscles to open ready for delivery. My second labour was much shorter than my first and I did spend most of it sat on my birthing ball.
Movements to try during labour:
- rocking your pelvis side to side
- rocking your pelvis back and forward
- moving your hips in a figure of eight
- rotating your hips clockwise and then anticlockwise
- kneeling on the floor and leaning over your ball then rocking forward and backward
How Do I Use It After The Baby Is Born?
I had a guide of postnatal exercises that were designed to help your body to heal after giving birth.
But the best use we found for it was to soothe our first baby during ‘witching hour’ at that time when nothing you do calms them down. I would gently bounce him on the ball and rock him until he stopped crying. It worked miracles when nothing else would!
I am really pleased with my birthing ball. It was great to sit on during pregnancy and did help with my posture and backache. I also think it helped my second labour to progress quickly – almost too quickly! It is definitely a good investment if you’re pregnant, for labour and for postpartum exercise.