Using a birthing ball to induce labour is nothing new, but it is rapidly becoming the most popular and healthiest option for new mummies to be.
Why? Its drug-free, which is extremely important for the health and well being of your baby. Specific exercises can help accelerate your baby's descent down the birth canal making it easier for you both when the times arrives!
Not only this, it can be used in your first, second and third trimester!
- 5 ways to induce labour naturally
- How does a birthing ball help bring on labour?
- Other benefits of using a birthing ball
- Birthing ball techniques to help your baby drop
- Easy ways to induce labour on a birthing ball
5 ways to induce labour naturally
Eating spicy food is probably one of the most common things to eat to induce labour naturally. Let's talk science! (I promise it's not boring). Spicy food can cause gastrointestinal distress which can sometimes stimulate uterine contractions. However, this isn't to say it will actually 'bring on' labor.
The same goes for prunes. Yes they may loosen those bowels of yours, but it doesn't mean they will induce labour.
That's right ladies your read correctly. Sex. Orgasms release oxytocin which just so happens to stimulate uterine contractions. I know what you're thinking, 'I'm ready to pop and the last thing I want to do right now is have sex' we get it. Whilst sex is safe to do during pregnancy, it may not sound the most comfortable.
Try using nipple stimulation by massaging the nipples to release oxytocin in a different way.
Whilst a birthing ball helps open the pelvis being sat on the ground, the peanut ball does the same job but lying down.
Much like a regular peanut, the peanut birthing ball has two large ends that taper in the middle meaning you can easily wrap your legs around it. The curve of the ball allows your body to relax and speeds up the dilation of your cervix.
It means you can lay in bed as comfortable as possible, still allowing your pelvis to open up and encourage baby out.
Reflexology is performed by a trained practitioner and last around 30-60 minutes.
Ladies, focus on your foot, more specifically your big toe. Believe it or not, your big toe can play an important role when it comes to meeting baby. This is because it contains the pituitary gland which has hormones that can 'speed up' labor.
And of course, the beloved birthing ball. Having baby in an optimal fetal position is incredibly important during the final weeks of pregnancy, and a ball can encourage this greatly.
By knowing the correct positions and exercises to do this will be so beneficial when you're finally ready to meet baby and we are here to tell you more...
How does a birthing ball help bring on labour?
The last couple of weeks in pregnancy can be very taxing and uncomfortable. The chances are, some of the discomfort you are feeling is likely caused by your baby not being in an optimal foetal position.
Targeted movements and exercises can not only persuade your baby to move into this position, but also encourage a breech baby (born bottom first) come out normally (head first).
You may be wondering how to use a birthing ball to break your waters...
Well, once your baby has moved into an optimal foetal position, simple techniques on the ball will ease your little one down the birth canal. The pressure of your baby’s head will then help naturally break your water and dilate your cervix.
Other benefits of using a birthing ball
- Increase blood flow to the uterus and placenta - as well as the baby
- Act as a counter-pressure to the perineum and thighs
- Loosen up pelvic and lower back muscles to aid in a smoother delivery
- Position the baby properly minimising the chancing of a breech baby birth
- Lower stress and anxiety levels
- Take your mind off the pain you experience from your contractions
Birthing ball techniques to help your baby drop
Midwives have been relying on birthing balls for years, keeping soon-to-be-mums, as comfortable as possible during those painful hours of delivery.
Recent studies have shown sitting on a maternity ball in a wide-legged position will increase blood flow, encourage cervical dilation and open the pelvis ready for labor.
So why not give it a go? From knowing how to bounce properly, to techniques a little more advanced, here’s 5 easy ways to induce labour at home with a pregnancy ball.
5 easy ways to induce labour on a birthing ballOk, but how do I use the birth ball? Whilst there are many myths and tales about pregnancy, this certainly isn't one of them. Try these birthing ball positions to help induce labour.
Start by sitting on the ball with your knees slightly lower than your hips. If you need any additional support or help balancing, use a sturdy piece of furniture or a spotter.
Gently bounce up and down resting your hands on top of your thighs or the sides of your belly.
Focus on your breathing, keep your shoulders back and your spine straight. Bounce slowly with safety in mind, and increase your level of bouncing if you feel comfortable and confident to do so.
Sit on the pregnancy ball while placing your legs on either side. Your feet should be shoulder width apart and facing outward in order to maintain optimal balance.
Now carefully and slowly, rock back and forth putting the weight on your tailbone and pelvic region.
Rocking will help alleviate the pressure that’s experienced around the tailbone area during pregnancy. It will also loosen up the pelvic muscles in order to better prime your body for labor.
The Squat Position
Stand in an upright position and rotate your feet outward to about a 45 degree angle. Carefully lower yourself into a typical squatting position while positioning your legs about shoulder width apart. Place the maternity yoga ball out in front of you, grabbing it with both hands to keep your balance.
Suck in and slightly flex your abdominal muscles while keeping your back as straight as possible. Visualise a string attached to your head, and that someone is using it to pull you upwards. Squat back into a standing position.
Squats can reduce labor times quite noticeably as the natural force of the gravity loosens and opens up the pelvic area. This gives your baby more room to smoothly manoeuvre down the birth canal.
Squat Position Variation (Advanced)
Don’t be afraid to take it a step further. Start by placing your pregnancy ball between a solid wall and your lower lumbar region. As you squat down, use the ball as a natural support. Let your legs and knees open up as they normally do when you go into a squatting position.
Go as far down as you can using the ball as a rolling support, so long as you don’t feel any pain or discomfort. Focus on your breathing, brace your core and keep yourself steady. Gently move back up and straighten your legs. Repeat for a few reps.
The Figure Eight
Take a seating position on your bouncing labour ball and move your hips around in a figure of eight, first clockwise and then counter-clockwise.
Do the movement in a few sets of 10 reps each. Take a break then repeat for a few more minutes. This particular birthing ball exercise will not only loosen up you lower back and pelvic muscles but also prepare your hips better for childbirth.
All in all, these birth ball exercises will help you induce labour at home, while reducing the pains and discomfort associated with going into labour.
Are you 38 weeks pregnant and need that extra push? Give these birth ball exercises a go!