“Birthing” Ball

In addition to laboring in the tub another great method of pain relief in natural birth is the “birthing” ball. This is just your typical exercise or pilates ball. Most hospitals carry at least one, but I brought mine along since it was the right size for me and I was used to it. My HypnoBirthing® instructor used these during class to teach us different comfort techniques, and I am so grateful! When I was in early labor at home, I sat on that thing and that alone provided instant pain relief. I am not kidding when I say that I almost didn’t feel the contraction!

As labor progressed and the surges became more intense, I did feel discomfort while on the ball, however pain relief isn’t the only benefit of this wonderful object. Sitting on the ball opens the pelvis and helps the baby descend more quickly. I spent a great deal of time during my labor sitting on the ball, and my husband applied counter-pressure to my hips while I rocked my baby down. I feel that this greatly contributed to my smooth, natural birth.

Those who are planning on natural birth, especially a HypnoBirth, should plan on purchasing a birth ball and practicing with it before labor begins (if you are hypnobirthing, practice your hypnosis in different positions with it as well). Another benefit of practicing with the birthing ball is it promotes good posture which can help get your baby in the right position. Many natural birth instructors will have handouts of different positions to use with the ball to provide relief, and will demonstrate these positions in class. Don’t miss out on this benefit—it will help you immensely!

** Update: I’m 5’9″ and found the 65cm ball worked great for me. Hopefully this gives you a ballpark estimate for your own birthing ball.

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