What is Birthing Ball? It’s a big, squashy plastic ball, not unlike those you see at the gym or use in a yoga lesson. Imagine a Space Hopper and you’ll get the general idea. So why are they so popular? Birthing balls are amazing for all sorts of reasons before, during and after the birth of your baby. Use one regularly and your entire body will thank you!
Birthing balls are mostly used to reduce the pain of labour, and that alone is an excellent reason to give it a go. If you’ve already had a child you’ll already know how relatively small comforts can make a huge difference to the birth experience. A birthing ball offers comfort in so many ways. Here’s everything you need to know.
Why use a birthing ball before you give birth?
It’s really important to get familiar with your birthing ball before the big event. Luckily it comes with some great back pain benefits that’ll inspire you from the earliest days of your pregnancy.
Many women report nagging back pain while pregnant, and any reliable way to alleviate the pain without taking drugs is very welcome. As your baby grows their weight increases and the back pain can become hard to handle. Back pain during pregnancy can also happen thanks to the hormonal changes you go through, the inevitable changes in your posture, and the weight you put on in unusual places. The stress of expecting a child can lead to back pain, as can the dramatic muscle separation some women experience.
Sitting on a birthing ball staves off back pain as well as giving you a nice little work-out. As you gently rock or bounce on the ball your stomach and back muscles work to keep you upright. You can sit on the ball to watch TV, or work sitting on it, and gently exercise your pelvic floor muscles. This helps boost your mobility and develop better posture. The result is a stronger, more flexible you.
Sitting aboard a birthing ball forces you to focus on your body and how it moves. Give it time and the experience quickly becomes rather lovely as you focus on just one thing, relaxed and happy in the here and now. It’s a great meditative way to achieve mindfulness, feel positive about being pregnant, and treat yourself to some lovely quiet time. Last but far from least, as your pregnancy develops your birthing ball helps you breathe with ease by distributing your weight better.
The benefits of a birthing ball during labour
The benefits during labour are also rather wonderful. When you sit on your ball, you’re easy to access. Your partner can massage your lower back, hips and neck with ease as you stay upright. This helps you stay calm and feel connected even when you’re mid-contraction. A kneeling position is popular while you’re having contractions. It’s also a great deal less uncomfortable than being on all fours, which puts a lot of pressure on your wrists and hands. You can always use knee pads to protect your knees.
Sitting on the ball with your legs spread wide helps boost the flow of blood to your uterus, your placenta, and onwards to your baby. If you can circle your hips around to the right and left it’ll help get your blood flowing in the right way.
The benefits of a birthing ball after the birth
Postpartum, you’ll want to get your body back to normal. It can take months and it’s sensible to take it slowly. After the delivery you’ll feel very sore, but you’ll soon find that sitting on your birthing ball is much more comfortable than a hard surface. Do everything you’d usually do on a chair on your ball and you’ll really feel the difference.
You could stand up to feed and rock your baby, but sitting and gently bouncing on the ball helps soothe your child and it’s a lot nicer for your feet than standing for hours on end.
To tone yourself back up, there’s no need for the gym. What a relief! Just keep using your ball to tone those muscles, improve your balance, get great posture and feel good – all without the pain, discomfort and struggle of ordinary exercise. As you steadily become stronger and fitter, you can gradually add ordinary exercise back into your life.
Keep your eyes peeled for our birthing ball contest Keep your eyes open – we’ll be launching a competition to win a birthing ball with a smart logo cover very soon.