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the ball

The birthball is a 65 cm physical therapy ball that facilitates physiologic positions for labor and birth

©      The birthball can be used at home and in the hospital during labor and birth. 

©    The birthball can be used in the shower.

©      Use of the birthball encourages pelvic mobility and allows you the freedom to rock your pelvis, change your position and shift your weight for comfort and to encourage fetal descent.

©      Sitting on the birthball helps keep the baby well aligned in your pelvis and encourages pelvic relaxation by providing perineal support without undue pressure.

©      Sitting on the birthball encourages rhythmic movement while leaning over a bed and pelvic mobility in the hands and knees position.

©     The birthball can be used as a support while squatting. 

©      Use of the birthball while squatting helps widen your pelvic outlet to its maximum.

©      In back labor or occiput posterior position kneeling and leaning over the birthball gives you good pelvic mobility as well as encouraging gravity to assist in rotation of the baby to the occiput anterior position.

In a systematic review of studies on maternal position during the second or pushing stage of labor, the Cochrane Collaboration found that either sitting up or lying on the side to push instead of lying on the back resulted in:

1. Shorter second stage of labor . This was largely due to a considerable reduction in women allocated to use of the birth ball.
2. A small reduction in assisted deliveries (vacuum and forceps).
3. A reduction in episiotomies.
4. A smaller increase in second-degree perineal tears.
5. Increased estimated risk of blood loss > 500ml.
6. Reduced reporting of severe pain during second stage of labor.
7. Fewer abnormal fetal heart rate patterns.
(Citation: Gupta JK , Nikodem VC. Woman's position during second stage.
Issue 2, 2004
Cochrane Library).

Tips about the birthball: Inflate the birthball large enough to sit on with legs bent at a 90-degree angle.  The birthball should be inflated to the point that it is slightly firm but still “gives;” it should roll easily.  Hold the birthball with your hand as you sit down on it with your feet flat on the floor and about two feet apart to give you a stable base.  The birthball can be used in conjunction with both intermittent external or continuous internal fetal monitoring.

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