Reasons to Use the Birth Ball During Labor and Afterwards

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By Paulina Perez

The use of the birth ball with all 3 positions provides these benefits:
1. Facilitates physiologic positions for labor
2. Allows for pelvic rocking and body movements
3. Encourages rhythmic movement
4. Can be used with both external and internal fetal monitoring
5. Encourages pelvic mobility
6. Takes advantage of gravity during and between contractions
7. Allows freedom to shift weight for comfort
8. Encourage good physiologic resting positions
9. May speed labor
10. Is beneficial with techniques for failure to progress
11. Helps contractions to be less painful and more productive

Sitting on the ball also has these additional benefits:
12. Encourages pelvic relaxation
13. Provides perineal support without undue pressure
14. Eliminates the firm external pressure of a bed, chair or rocker when sitting

Kneeling and/or standing while leaning forward on the ball also have these additional benefits:
15. Encourages fetal descent
16. Assists in rotation of the baby in the posterior position
17. Helps relieve back pain
18. Removes strain on wrists and hands that occur with the hands and knees position
19. Gives good access for back rub or back pressure
20. May enhance rotation and descent in a difficult birth
21. Helps take the pressure off the hemorrhoids (esp. kneeling over the ball)
22. In shoulder dystocia, it can support the mother who needs to be on hands and knees to facilitate rotation of the posterior shoulder.

Plus, after the birth, the ball has these benefits:
23. Sitting and bouncing on the ball while holding a fussy baby up to your shoulders is a great soother
24. The ball makes a wonderful “prop” for postpartum exercises to restore strength and flexibility.

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