Birth Ball During Pregnancy, Labor and Postpartum

Birth Ball: Tool For Pregnancy, Labor, And Postpartum

What Is A Birth Ball?

Once upon a time you bought a giant exercise ball. And it has lived in your garage ever since. Or you know a guy or gal that has one. That’s a birth ball. A birth ball is a giant inflatable ball. Exercise balls can be purchased at most big chain retailers. Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon, and fitness stores are good examples. The good rule of thumb to follow for purchasing a birth ball is that your knees are in line with your hips when you sit on it. And your feet are flat on the floor. Here’s a hack: Blow it up with an electronic pump, and not the sad air pump that comes with it.

Utilizing A Birth Ball In Pregnancy

Birthing your baby is one of the most intense core exercises that you’ll ever do. Likewise, pregnancy affects your center of balance and makes your body feel heavier. If you are doing sedentary activities like working at a desk, you can replace your desk chair with a birth ball. It will help you work on balance and flexibility. And it’s very soothing to be able to rock, wiggle, and squirm during pregnancy. Using a birth ball in pregnancy is kind of like practicing a squat. Except gravity is your friend and not your enemy because you are supported. Even if you don’t squat for fun on a regular basis, you may find yourself intuitively squatting at some point in labor because your body is telling you to.

How To Use A Birth Ball In Labor

However you get a birth ball into your labor room is going to be an interesting adventure. Many hospitals (especially in urban areas in Texas) have birth balls and peanut balls in the hospital. Some hospitals even have stands to keep the birth balls from moving.

You can bring your own from home. You can bring it already inflated. (Just rent a wagon, okay? ;)) Or you can bring it deflated in a tote bag with a pump and inflate it ASAP when you get there. Many birth centers already have these balls as well. And if you’re birthing at home, it’s already there and ready to go!

Here is a video with examples of birth ball positions for labor.


Labor Positions With A Birth Ball


You can place the birth ball on a flat surface. (Cover it with a sheet if your water has already broken, or if the ball has been used by someone else before).

You can rock your hips in circles on the birth ball similar to the motion of using a hoola hoop. Or bounce up and down with your knees spread pretty far apart. You can keep your feet spread apart and lunge from side to side. Birth balls are fun.

The only position you wouldn’t want to do is, for a lack of a better word, a grinding motion. What got the baby in will not get the baby out in this instance. A forward and backing rocking will not help to open your pelvis like the other positions you can do on a birth ball.

This simulation of a squat that the birth ball provides will help open your pelvis by up to 30%. Which is 30% more space for baby to engage their stubborn head and start their descent to be born.


You can also utilize the birth and ball in hands and knees positions. You can get onto your knees and learn your head and forearms over the birth ball to help yourself rock back and forth. In this position, still keep your knees apart to create pelvic space. It’s also okay to rock forward and backward in this position since it isn’t closing your pelvis. (But if you find a way to do this position with your pelvis AND your arms, be sure to leave me a comment. Pics, or it didn’t happen.)

Calming A Baby With A Birth Ball

You were soothed by the use of a birth ball during your pregnancy and labor. Because who doesn’t like to rock and roll around? Well, your baby is going to love it, too. And it helps you to keep your motion constant. It will also lessen joint pain and stress on your end. Babies love rocking motions. (It’s part of the 5s for getting babies to sleep, after all.)

Despite babies loving rocking motions, they like consistent motion. A birth ball helps you to bounce or rock in the same pattern over and over again. The repetitive constant motion soothes your baby instead of making their startle reflex go into over drive. If you’ve rocked and carried a baby around before, you just how exhausting it is to do that for hours and hours on repeat. Because the birth ball is bouncy, it helps to support you and not over extend yourself too much.


Learn more about our  birth doula services and our private in-home Houston  birth + parenting classes. 

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  1. […] we discussed in our post that was entirely focused on the birth ball, there are many positions that can be achieved with a ball. In early labor, birth balls are commonly […]

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