When To Start Using Birthing Ball Nhs

The best time to start using a birthing ball is in your pregnancy. This way, you can get used to sitting on it and rolling around with it before you give birth. The NHS recommends only using the ball for a few minutes at a time initially, gradually increasing how long you use it as your pregnancy progresses. The best time to start using the birthing ball is when you need it. You may not find it useful at all and that’s OK! Not every woman who gives birth uses a birthing ball, some prefer water, or simply staying still on their bed to help with the pain of contractions. But if you would like to try using a birthing ball before your labour begins – the NHS recommends that you start training with one in the final three months of your pregnancy, so you can get used to moving around and pushing against it through practice contractions

Birthing balls can help women during labour. They are safe and comfortable to use in the home, but need to be used correctly. You should seek professional support if you want to use a birthing ball. You can start using your birthing ball from 6 weeks, but it’s always better to start early and build up your strength. From around 34 weeks, you can do exercises on the ball every day (unless you are advised not to by your midwife, or pregnancy is at risk).

Birthing balls, also known as birth balls, are large inflatable round aids that can help reduce labor pain and make it easier to relax in labour. They provide a comfortable place for you to sit during your contractions, which helps you to keep breathing deeply, relax and remain calm. If you are in your third trimester, have had an uncomplicated pregnancy, and have no medical reasons not to use it. The object of the ball is to make birth easier by improving your posture during contractions, which should reduce the need for intervention.

When To Start Using Birthing Ball Nhs

The birthing ball is a great tool to use during pregnancy and labor. Many providers encourage its use to help position the body and relieve pain. After birth, it can be used for support while feeding the baby. Start using it early on in your pregnancy to get familiar with its use and benefits.” You should start using the birthing ball once your contractions are regular. This can help prepare you for labor, but there are other reasons to use a birthing ball as well. According to Birth Ball Babies, it reduces pain, decreases back pain and increases strength in the pelvic region. You can even use it during labor to help relieve pressure on your back if you’re having trouble changing positions during delivery.

Exercising on a birthing ball in pregnancy can help to reduce any back pain you are experiencing and make it easier for you to move around. It can also help ease labour pain, reduce the pain of contractions (especially if you use it for a couple of months before you give birth), decrease anxiety and shorten the first stage of labour.

Using a birthing ball can also help you adopt different upright positions, which can help you to labour effectively. It may even shorten your labour by an hour or so.

What’s the difference between a birthing ball and a gym ball?

Birthing balls and gym balls are basically the same thing. Both can be made from anti-burst materials. This means they deflate slowly rather than with a bang if punctured. Make sure your ball is anti-burst, but keep sharp objects away from it, just in case. Don’t store it on rough surfaces or near heat like radiators, stoves and open fires.

Some birthing balls have a non-slip finish, which helps them to grip the floor. Most are latex-free and made of PVC but if you have a latex allergy, it’s worth making sure.

Always check the small print when you buy a ball. This is particularly true if you’re ordering a gym ball rather than a birthing ball. What you need is a ball that’s 65cm (26in) or 75cm (30in) in height when inflated. Some gym balls come up much smaller than you expect when you get them home.

What size birthing ball is right for me?

Your height will give a guide to the size of ball that will be right for you. Ideally, your knees should be about 10cm (4in) lower than your hips when you sit on it. As a general rule:

  • If you’re up to 1.73m (5ft 8in) in height, it’s best to get a 65cm ball.
  • If you’re taller than 1.73m (5ft 8in) then it’s best to get a 75cm ball.

A birthing ball will take your weight, whatever your size. Good quality birthing and gym balls are pressure-tested to support weights up to 300kg (about 47st).

As well as traditional round birthing balls, you can also buy peanut-shaped balls. These only roll one way rather than in all directions. They can be useful if you don’t feel secure sitting on a ball. These tend to be a little smaller and can help you get into squatting positions for labour.

You may need to buy a pump, as many balls don’t come with one. Inflate your ball so that it’s firm, but gives a little when you press on it. If the ball is too soft then it may not be as effective so do try to get the right size for you

You could use a pencil to make a mark on a door frame or wall so that you inflate it to the exact height that’s right for you. For example, if you’re under 1.63m (5ft 4in), you may find it more comfortable to inflate a 65cm (26in) ball to 60cm (24in) in height.

Balls tend to lose some air over time. You may need to top yours up to keep it at the correct height for sitting comfortably, with your knees below your hips. Don’t over-inflate your ball as you may find it hard to use correctly.

What if I’m using a birthing ball for the first time?

Place your ball on a carpet rather than a smooth floor. This will make it more stable. When you first sit on your birthing ball, it’s best to have someone with you to support the ball from behind you (especially in the later stages of pregnancy). This will give you a chance to get used to staying balanced on it. Make sure you’re wearing non-slip shoes or socks. Better still, go barefoot.

Place your feet flat on the floor, about 60cm (24in) apart, so you’ve got a good balance. Now place one hand on the ball and lower yourself to sit on it.

Once you’re comfortable, place your hands on your knees and try rocking your pelvis from side to side or back to front. Then, if you feel secure, have a little bounce!

If you feel too unsteady to rock or bounce on your own, hold on to whoever is with you. Alternatively, put a chair in front of you, facing away from you, and hold on to the back of it for support.

If you’re going to use your ball for exercise, make sure you have a clear area around you. Exercise in a slow and controlled way. Breathe normally, and stop if you feel any dizziness, pain or discomfort.

Best birthing positions


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Certain positions may help you have a quicker and easier labour and birth. Find out more.More labour and birth videos

How can I use my birthing ball during pregnancy?

You can use your birthing ball to:

Sit comfortably while you’re working or relaxing
You may find your ball much more comfortable, and easier to get on and off, than a hard chair or soft sofa.

Also, sitting on a birthing ball gives you a mini-workout. As you rock or bounce on it gently, your tummy and back muscles will be working hard to keep you upright.

Get some gentle exercise
Using your birthing ball is a fun way to improve your posture and balance, and to exercise your tummy muscles. This helps your body to support the weight of your pregnancy. It can also protect your back, and help you get back into shape after you’ve given birth. Try:

  • Sitting on the ball and rocking your pelvis from side to side and front to back. When you do this, try to keep your shoulders still so the movement comes from your waist and below.
  • Rotating your hips clockwise then anti-clockwise.
  • Leaning over your ball from a kneeling position, then rocking your hips forward and back.

You may also want to try exercising your pelvic floor while sitting on your birthing ball. It can be easier to feel what is happening and you’ll also be working your lower tummy muscles at the same time.

Help change the position of your baby in late pregnancy
If your baby is in a posterior (back-to-back) position, adopting upright, forward-leaning positions may encourage him to switch around.

Try getting on to your knees and leaning forward over your ball. This may encourage your baby’s back to swing forward so he’s in an anterior position, with his back towards your bump. Although your baby may not stay that way until you go into labour, it may give you some temporary relief from backache.

Practise positions for labour
If you try out different positions for labour while you’re still pregnant, you’ll know how they feel and discover which ones are more comfortable for you.

How can I use my birthing ball during labour?

It’s best to practise using the ball before you go into labour so you feel comfortable and safe using it.

Some midwives recommend a combination of birthing ball and TENS to help women cope at home in early labour.

You may find you instinctively sway and rock in rhythm with your contractions , and a birthing ball gives great support for this.

Ways to use your birth ball during labour include:

Sitting astride the ball and rocking your pelvis from side to side or back and forth.

Leaning on your birthing ball from a kneeling position on the floor.

Getting into a hands-and-knees position by hugging your birthing ball and lifting your bottom up from a kneeling position. You can then rock your pelvis from side to side.

Leaning over your ball from a standing position, with the ball on the bed or another surface.

All these techniques can be used during first-stage labour.

These positions also give your birth partner plenty of room to support you, massage you or apply pressure to your lower back during contractions.

During the pushing stage you’ll want to avoid sitting, so use the leaning or hands-and-knees positions. They will take the pressure off your bottom and give your baby lots of room to descend with each contraction and to be born.

Most hospital labour wards and birth centres have birthing balls for women to use during labour. If you’re particularly attached to your own birthing ball, take it along with you. You can clean it afterwards by washing it down with warm soapy water.

How can I use my birthing ball after my baby is born?

You may find your ball more comfortable to sit on than a hard chair, particularly if the area between your vagina and anus (perineum) is sore. Deflate it a little to make it softer and take the pressure off any stitches or bruising.

You could sit on your ball while you’re breastfeeding once you’ve got the hang of getting your baby latched on. It’s likely to be better for your posture than slumping on the sofa while feeding. Make sure you feel comfortable and steady on the ball before you try this though. Bouncing on your ball while cuddling your baby may soothe her.

You can use your birthing ball to exercise, using the same techniques described above in how can I use my birthing ball during pregnancy?

As your baby grows up, your birthing ball may become a favourite plaything. You may even want to use your ball instead of an office chair for desk work, as it’s so great for posture.

You should start using a birthing ball during pregnancy as soon as you can. You will get used to sitting on the ball, and your body will begin to adapt to supporting itself in different positions.

The birthing ball is a great tool for helping your body prepare for the birth of your baby. Research shows that it can help make labor easier, reduce pain and accelerate the process of delivery. It’s also a great tool for postpartum recovery and healing after birth. The birthing ball is a great addition to your pregnancy and labor plan because it can help you find the right positions for labor, which can help with pain management. You can use a birthing ball at home or in labor and delivery to help with muscle relaxation, improve posture, and reduce back pain. By working on these things early in your pregnancy, you’ll be more prepared for labor when the big day arrives.

The birthing ball is a great tool to use when you’re planning to have a baby. With the help of the birth ball, women can practice sitting in different positions and build strength in their pelvic floor and core muscles. It’s also a great place for partners to provide comfort during birth by massaging her feet or holding her hands as she streatches out

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