First things first, let me start by saying we aren’t talking about the edible treat! So, if you’re here for recipes, I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place. Whether you’ve heard of them or not, we are here to tell you everything you need to know about peanut balls during labour and delivery, and how they just might be a game changer.
- The clue is in the name
- Switching up positions
- What's in it for me?
- Does size matter?
- External vs Internal Rotation
- Let's talk facts!
- Exercises you'll love
- The fun isn't over yet!
- To peanut, or not to peanut? That is the question.
The clue is in the name
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.
Whilst birthing balls are typically used sitting on the ground, peanut balls are generally used lying down. This makes them a great option if you’re having an epidural, have pregnancy complications, or if you're just plain tired! Because face it, giving birth is hard work!
Let’s set the scene. You’re 40 weeks, ready to pop, and have bounced on your birthing ball to your hearts content. If you are at the end of your pregnancy, you may need a little extra push through the stages of labour, and a peanut ball can do just this! They can help open your pelvis, speed up delivery time and lower baby into the birth canal, all whilst lying down! Pretty cool right?
Switching up positions
Many of us forget how important baby’s positioning can be, but from as early as 4 weeks before your due date, you can help encourage baby into that optimal fetal position for a quicker, more comfortable delivery.
Don’t get me wrong they can often be a little stubborn, but using a peanut ball can really help encourage them to the exact position they need to be in. Besides, that way, at least you can say you tried everything you could in preparation for their arrival, whether they decide to play ball or not! (No pun intended.)
What’s in it for me?
- Reduce labour time
- Lower your chances of a c-section
- Reduce tiredness during an epidural
- Encourage baby to move down birth canal
- Reduce risk of tearing
- Ease pain
- Improve posture
- Reduce rate of other interventions such as forceps and vacuum extraction
- Postpartum uses and benefits
Does size matter?
Yes, it is important to get the right size peanut ball! Getting one too big can stress the hip joint causing pain and discomfort, but one too small won’t help open your pelvis the way it should.
We recommend the 50cm ball to be suitable for most heights!
External vs Internal Rotation
You may have heard of external and internal rotation, or it may just sound like a load of gobbledegook, but either way we’re here to help!
Lying down, open your knees to face them outwards. This will open the top portion of your pelvis to help baby move down. External rotation is all about opening up and getting baby’s head to drop into the pelvis. So, spread those legs girls!
Lying down, bring your knees together facing inwards slightly. This will open the bottom portion of your pelvis to encourage baby to come through. To allow this to happen, your pelvis needs to be wide.
Each position is important when it comes to the arrival of your little one, and your peanut ball can help further with this. There are a variety of ways to incorporate your peanut ball into your external and internal rotation positions.
Let’s talk facts!
Fact 1: moving during labour decreases pain
The more you move, the more distracted you are and the less pain you feel. Not only can moving around decrease the pain, but also it can help progress your labour. Swaying, changing positions, and rocking back and forwards are great ways to get that body moving, and you can do this with a peanut ball. It can encourage more movement, and therefore help ease pain and discomfort.
Fact 2: opening the pelvis is vital
By opening your pelvis your baby will make their way down the birth canal quicker, making the process a lot easier for both you and baby. The peanut ball will help a great deal with this as the curve allows you to wrap your legs round it comfortably and with ease, therefore opening up that stubborn pelvis!
Fact 3: you can’t lie face down in the hammock
Much like a hammock, the curve in your tummy acts like a little bed for baby to lay in. Getting baby into an optimal fetal position can be tricky, and it is recommended that you spend as much time as you can in the forward position during the lead up to your due date. This will encourage baby to flip round ready for labour, and the peanut ball is the perfect way to help with this.
Exercises you'll love
There are a variety of peanut ball positions you can try however at the end of the day, it all comes down to what works best for you. By moving every 20-60 minutes, you will keep good circulation and will see progress being made.
Exercise is key. And exercising with a peanut ball is a great way to keep fit, whilst getting all the pregnancy benefits the ball comes with. So, let’s have a look at ways to get that baby out!
In bed, lay on your side to get a good flow of blood and oxygen to the placenta. Place the peanut ball between your thighs and wrap your legs around it. This will encourage the pelvis to open and help dilation. Keep a sight bend in your legs.
Side-lying Tucked Squat
Much like the side-lying position the aim is to get into a lying down squat position. The difference here is moving your knees closer to your chest for a deeper squat position that will open your pelvis further.
This one sounds a little crazy but trust me, it’s a gooden. Lie down on your side and place the biggest part of the ball between your knees, whilst ensuring your ankles are around the bigger section at the other end of the ball. Begin to push your ankles back behind you to create a backwards C, changing sides at least every 30 minutes (glamorous I know).
The fun isn’t over yet!
The main benefit of the pregnancy peanut ball is to help you have a comfortable and quicker labour, but it’s uses don't stop there. Your pregnancy journey may have finished, but your postpartum one has just begun.
Placing the ball between your legs post labour can relieve pressure on your pelvis, hips and lower back. Not only that, but it’s also a great way to slowly get back into exercising and getting that body moving again.
One step at a time though ladies! Be sure to get the ok from your health care provider and take things at your own pace. At the end of the day, you know your body best and everyone is different, so no flinging yourselves all over the place!
To peanut, or not to peanut? That is the question.
Whilst the birthing ball helps open the pelvis being sat on the ground, the peanut ball does the same job but lying down.
When giving birth, the thought of getting out of bed may sound unbearable. But now you can get the same benefits as a birthing ball, without having to move a muscle (or at least not as many!) It means you can lay in bed as comfortable as possible, whilst still allowing your pelvis to open up and encourage baby out.
Research shows that a peanut ball can on average, shorten the first stage of labour by 90 minutes and the second stage by 23 minutes! You do the maths. That’s meeting your little one nearly 2 hours earlier!
Another study was conducted to see whether the use of a peanut ball decreased the length of labour and increased the rate of a vaginal birth. Women who used the ball had shorter first stage labour by 29 minutes and second stage by 11 minutes. This was associated with a significantly lower incidence of caesarean surgery.
Not only this, but peanut balls can also ensure you reserve some energy for the pushing stage. Giving birth is exhausting, and sometimes the early stages can really take it out of you. But with our peanut ball, we can help try to make this as smooth and comfortable as possible.
So, what have you got to lose? A peanut ball may just be the answer to a shorter, easier labour.