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How to use your Birth Ball at Home

Swap out your desk chair and give the sofa a rest!

For months, I stared at this round, bouncy object that decorated my living space during my pregnancy. Not knowing what to do with it or the amazing powers it held. How could this large 'ping pong ball' assist me in labour? I was baffled. I had purchased my birthing ball on a whim at the grocery store. It came packaged with a yoga mat and this is what I had the most interest in at the time.

I'm happy to report that 6 years later, both the ball and the mat have seen better days as both are so loved and enjoyed. This amazing birth tool has been passed around my family and friends. Each time it's returned to me, there are signs of wear. I think of the importance it played in their pregnancy and birth journey.

Quite often I visit families for their hypnobirthing sessions and I see their birth ball lurking in a dark corner, as mine had once. I tend to get the same response when I enquire about it. ''Oh I sit and bounce on it sometimes but I'm not sure what to do with it, really!''

There are two very important things you and your birth partner need to remember in labour. One is positioning and the other is space.

''There are two very important things you and your birth partner need to remember in labour. One is positioning and the other is space''.

They say the optimal position for birthing your baby is in a squat like position. This position puts you closer to the earth so you can support yourself, creates space in the pelvis for your baby to rotate, works with gravity and allows you to be able to catch or handle your baby as they are being birthed. Wow!! What is most important, is that you are in a position that works for you. You should be comfortable and giving in to those natural instincts. Every birth has its own rhythm. Our bodies have a wonderful way of directing us into movements and positions that will help babies descend.

During pregnancy and labour, our babies are working down. Their head is the largest part of their body and it will gravitate to the lowest point. Therefore it's essential that we work with our bodies and baby during this time. Think of your positioning in pregnancy. Could you inadvertently be causing the pelvic to tilt more by slouching into the couch of an evening? As humans, we sit a lot more now than we ever used to: driving a car, perched at a desk, sitting for meals and watching TV. All of these factors can lead to an increased chance of baby being 'occiput posterior' or back-to-back, in labour. This can prolong labour and discomfort is felt predominantly in the back.

Our positioning in pregnancy and labour is important. Being more upright has huge benefits for us as we work with our body to bring baby down.

Our pelvis is made up of two large bones that are connected by cartilage and ligaments. During our pregnancy, our body produces a hormone called 'relaxin'. Relaxin helps to relax these ligaments which encourages the pelvis to stretch in labour and get ready for birth. That's amazing, right? It's just one of the hard-working hormones our endocrine system produces to prepare for this wonderful miracle.

So, our body is doing as much as it can to prepare us for a successful and natural birth. However, our lifestyle is working against our body. Intertwined with the ligaments, inside and around the pelvis, are a network of muscles. These muscles tighten and shorten the more we remain stationary and seated. When these muscles tighten, they restrict the space baby has to move and reposition within the pelvis. Therefore, we need to work to lengthen and loosen these muscles and, most importantly, give our baby the space it needs.

Using your birth ball at home and in labour can really encourage these muscles to stretch, prevent you from slouching and help you relax into positions that will help you feel comfortable, whilst working with your body and baby during labour.

Check out my video below to learn some positions you will find helpful during pregnancy and birth 💖 x

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Thanks for Reading!

Terri Irvin

Owner & Founder

Time: Bump & Beyond


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