Labor Tools: Birth Ball
What it is:
The mother uses a large, sturdy ball called a birthing ball for positioning during labor. She may lean over the ball, sit with her legs out towards the sides to help support and stabilize her, or any number of other positions.
How it works:
The ball allows the mother to have additional support for various positions while also allowing the mother to stay mobile through small rocking or swaying movements. Ball sitting is comfortable for the mother. It allows her some rest for her legs while still requiring movement in the pelvis. That movement helps the baby to find the best position to travel down through the pelvis and down the birth canal.
How to use it:
The birth ball is a great option when the mother feels too tired to continue walking, but does not want to be in bed.
Ball sitting may also be very comfortable for a mother who is experiencing a lot of pre-labor, and is bored with walking or other labor stimulation techniques.
Integrating it into labor:
If the mother is strong enough during contractions, she can "rock" the ball gently during her contractions to help the baby move down the pelvis.
A mother with back labor can use the ball to support her upper body in a hands and knees position, gently rocking her hips side to side.
With the mother sitting on the ball, and the coach assisting in supporting her upper body, have the mother "sway" her hips side to side.