A Birth Ball by any other name…

Some people call it a birth ball; others an exercise ball; some a Swiss ball — probably other names, as well.

I decided to get an exercise ball not primarily to exercise with/on, although I’ll probably use that. I got it to sit on while I’m at the computer, instead of using my chair. Somebody made a comment about that sometime — said it was better for posture, or easier to maintain good posture while on a ball than in a chair. I agree! After having used it for a couple of days, mostly just for sitting on, I can tell a difference. My back was hurting before I got it, probably mostly due to sitting at the computer too much working on a project, but also somewhat due to sitting/lying in an awkward position watching a movie in bed (my husband and I were sharing our small DVD player, so I was propped up in a kinda funny position) — regardless of the exact reason, my back was hurting over the weekend. So, I asked on my local freecycle group if anyone had an exercise ball they weren’t using any more, and sure enough, a lady just down the street from me had one! How cool is that?

It’s a bit too big for my height for exercise purposes, but works great as a chair. I’ve done a few — a very few — moves on the ball, and my abs hurt in a place I didn’t even know I had muscles, so I guess it works! Maybe tomorrow I’ll actually do a full workout. But I like my new “chair.” I like it even better because it can be used as a birth ball:

And a clip of a woman laboring on the ball:

Some hospitals may have birth balls; some doulas may also have one that they bring to births. But check to make sure, before you just assume someone else will have one.

While you can learn to do tricks on your exercise/birth/chair ball…

… the following videos makes it appear that in general, these fun toys should be kept out of the hands of males of all ages:

[And I think we also discover a hint of why females outlive males at every stage of life!]

Who knew birth balls had so many uses?


6 Responses

  1. I tried the birth ball at my last birth (6th born) and I couldn’t do it. The nurse put a chux pad on it and every time I got off it flipped. Baby was OP and sitting didn’t do anything for me. Nursie kept complaining about the monitor anyway, and I just wanted to kick the dumb ball and walk get in the shower. Hated it. I am sure if I used it better (like laying over it on the bed or something) it might have worked, but nursie wanted me to sit on it and lean on the side of the bed. Ugh. It was such an annoyance. Maybe when nursie quit letitng me out of bed and letting me go to the bathroom at will I could have used it to throw it at her!

  2. Hey christianlady, did you do any practicing with the ball during pregnancy? The reason I ask is because I’ve been told by other doulas that your experience isn’t at all out of the ordinary when a mom wasn’t really accustomed to the ball’s ‘wily ways.’ Also, the way a ball sits and feels can be different from ball to ball – the kind of ball I include in my clients’ welcome bags (which I advise them to use during pregnancy) is the exact same kind I bring to the birth, so that they can use the kind they’re accustomed to during labor.

  3. Nope, never tried it. I am a stander, walker, pacer…and then shower girl in labor usually. The ball I had rolled with the stupid chux pad. I think I would have enjoyed it in the shower though, maybe.

    I had a nurse who was being very annoying though, and it was her attempt to “help me” and the really only thing she did that was anything for natural birth. She put me on the monitor and wouldn’t let me off, she wouldn’t let me use the bathroom, wouldn’t let me drink…and I am usually vocal but wasn’t that time with contractions coming and the OP labor I had. If she’d have let me shower I would have been such an easy pregnant lady.

    I really wouldn’t try the birth ball for sitting on the floor again, but maybe in the bed to make hands and knees easier…or in the shower with water running on my back…maybe.

  4. I used the birth ball in labor with my son during the end of active labor/most of transition. I thought it was wonderful. My husband sat on a folding chair facing me as I rocked back & forth while he stroked my thighs and was just “there”. I found it very relaxing.

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