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Photo courtesy of Hannahbphotographyuk.com

I’d recommend that you invest in a birthing ball now if you’re in the second trimester. They are so under-rated.

It sounds ridiculous, but you need to build a relationship with your ball to the point that you can’t imagine your labour without it. You should get familiar with it so you don’t feel like you’ve got something new to think about during labour.

I often see women bouncing awkwardly on birthing balls in labour because someone recommended it but really they just feel a bit uncomfortable on it. You want to use your ball at home as much as possible and get comfortable because you need to feel safe and relaxed whilst using it.

Here’s what you ball can do for you…

Open up your pelvis to the maximum dimension to enable enough room for your baby to move down into your pelvis. Plus, research shows that it also reduces lower back pain in late pregnancy and in labour. When you’re in labour it’s a struggle to get comfy in any position but if you’re familiar with your ball positions you should be able to get some comfort out of it.

It encourages pelvic relaxation and rhythmic movement (which can be hard to maintain during labour). This movement activates the right side of the brain and encourages the physical rather than the cerebral. Basically, it really helps take your mind off things because your brain struggles to process both sides of thinking at the same time. The only form of pain relief in labour that actually takes the pain away is an epidural. Everything else masks or obscures your perception of it so if you’re looking for natural ways to do this, the ball is one.

There’s less, or next to no strain on your wrists especially if you’re kneeling over the ball. Sometimes women end up with sore wrists as they’ve put a lot of weight on them by pushing against or leaning on hard surfaces.

Your pelvic floor is already under strain during pregnancy but a ball provides gentle support for it. While you’re on the ball you naturally assume positions that encourage your baby to get into a good position for pushing. Midwives call this optimal fetal positioning (OFP) and this makes all the difference to your labour.

If you need electronic monitoring of your baby’s heartrate you can still have this and use the ball, you don’t have to medicalise things and lay on a bed. The more upright you are the better because gravity really helps you out. If you’re laying down it creates and upward curve for your pelvis meaning your baby needs to come up over your pelvis but if your sat upright your baby can come down into your pelvis and through the birth canal with ease.