Birthing balls or birth balls are used as an aid to women while pregnant, during labour, and also after the birth as an exercise aid. They look exactly the same as exercise balls, but are designed to deflate slowly if punctured and to be non-slip. Many women find them particularly helpful while taking gentle exercise or doing yoga during pregnancy. Birth balls / birthing balls are available from The Miracle Box in 2 sizes: 55cm ball if you are 5’5” / 165cm and under, and a 65cm birthing ball if you are 5’6” / 167.5cm - 6’’1” / 185.5cms. The Miracle Box birthing ball is anti-burst and non-slip. Birthing balls are delivered the next day from Inhealth, Ireland. See further information on birthing balls below.
Birthing Balls or Birth Balls
What is a Birthing Ball?
A Birthing Ball (which looks like an exercise ball) is a large rubber air-filled ball that is mainly used by women during pregnancy and labour, and also while exercising both before and after the birth. Some women find it difficult to be seated comfortably at all during the latter stages of pregnancy; a birthing ball can be used to ease this seating discomfort. Also, many women find they can rock gently back and forth while on the birthing ball, and do other simple exercises which would otherwise not be possible to do. So the birthing ball can provide comfort and allow you to take gentle exercise.
Using a birthing ball during labour
Many hospitals have birthing balls in their labour wards as some women find they help ease the discomfort of labour. They are light and very easy to clean, but you could also bring in your own birthing ball to hospital - then you’ll know you will definitely have one for your own personal use (busy maternity wards can run out) and it will be clean! Care should be taken while seated on the birthing ball especially during labour as, while they are very comfortable, they can be unsteady so another person may be needed to help with support.
What are the benefits of using a birthing ball during pregnancy?
Your ball will help you stay fit during pregnancy; gentle exercises can be performed on it - instructions are supplied with the Miracle Box Birthing Ball set below
Using your birthing ball encourages your baby into the optimal foetal position called the anterior position, which is the best position for birth
Kneeling beside your birthing ball then rocking over it can be great practice for labour. It is also ideal for massage and relaxation
As the ball is an unstable surface for sitting on, using it for sitting forces your core muscles to develop; this can be very beneficial for relieving late pregnancy back pain
Using the birthing ball for gentle exercising encourages pelvic motility, and will gently and safely tone your pelvic muscles - internal and external
Sitting on the birthing ball is a great place to do your pelvic floor exercises - while working, watching TV., etc
It has been shown that mothers who take regular exercise during pregnancy tend to have easier and quicker labours, then have less trouble getting their pre-pregnancy figure back
Using a birthing ball regularly during pregnancy can help prevent your baby going ‘back to back’- i.e. where the baby’s head is down, but the back of the head is against the mother’s spine. This is also called the posterior position, and is not the best position for baby to be in before birth.
What are the benefits of using a birthing ball during labour?
Many women found that the pain of contractions is lessened when sitting or gently rolling on the birthing ball.
Some women find using the birthing ball during labour to be both distracting and relaxing.
Birth balls can help with natural pain relief during pain and delivery.
Birth balls give the mother freedom to shift her weight and support her pelvic area during labour. This can give greater comfort to the mother.
Birthing balls can also assist in the baby’s descent in cases where labour is not progressing as it should.
Some experts now believe that sitting upright or lying on your side are better positions for labour than lying on your back. The birthing ball provides a comfortable means of sitting upright, and so is one of the best ways to achieve this upright position.
During labour, being in the upright position and staying that way allows gravity to help with the birth.
What are the benefits of using a birthing ball after pregnancy?
Again the birthing ball is a great place to do your pelvic floor exercises. These are recommended for all women, regardless if they have had a natural birth or a caesarean section, or even had a baby at all!
Exercising is essential to help you get your figure back after pregnancy; gentle exercises can be performed on the birthing ball very soon after the baby is born.
You can watch your baby while exercising on the birthing ball - the sight of mammy ‘playing’ with a large colourful ball would definitely amuse your little angel!
How do you know which size of birthing ball is correct for you?
When you are sitting on the birthing ball, which should be inflated to the correct size, your hips should be positioned slightly higher than your knees. The Miracle Box birthing ball set below contains a measuring device to achieve the prescribed diameter of the birth ball. The two birthing ball sizes available are:
55cm birth ball - for height 5’5” / 165cm and under
65cm birth ball - for height 5’6” / 167.5cm - 6’1” / 185.5cms
Exercise balls v. birthing balls
Exercise balls are not the same as birthing balls. Birthing balls are designed to deflate slowly if they get punctured, while an exercise ball will deflate quickly. So a pregnant woman could get injured if the ball she is using was designed for use as an exercise ball, as she could fall off it if it got punctured and immediately deflated.
The Miracle Box birthing ball set
The Miracle Box is a complete birthing ball package for mums-to-be and mums. It consists of:
A quality birthing ball, specially designed to be non-slip and anti-burst
A dual-action pump for quick and easy inflation of your birth ball
A DVD to accompany your birthing ball, compiled by a pre and post natal exercise specialist, Mark Hibbitts - “A Simple Guide to Core and Pelvic Floor Exercises”
3 wall exercise charts - Pre-Natal, Post Natal, and Advanced Toning Exercises.
All these birthing Balls or birth Balls are available at the best price on inhealth, Ireland, and are delivered the next day from inhealth’s warehouse in Bray.