The birthball is a 65 cm physical therapy ball that
facilitates physiologic positions for labor and birth
The birthball can be used at home and in the hospital during labor
© The birthball can be used in the shower.
Use of the birthball encourages pelvic mobility and allows you the
freedom to rock your pelvis, change your position and shift your weight for
comfort and to encourage fetal descent.
Sitting on the birthball helps keep the baby well aligned in your
pelvis and encourages pelvic relaxation by providing perineal support without
Sitting on the birthball encourages rhythmic movement while
leaning over a bed and pelvic mobility in the hands and knees position.
© The birthball can be used as a support while squatting.
Use of the birthball while squatting helps widen your pelvic
outlet to its maximum.
In back labor or occiput posterior position kneeling and leaning
over the birthball gives you good pelvic mobility as well as encouraging gravity
to assist in rotation of the baby to the occiput anterior position.
In a systematic review of
studies on maternal position during the second or pushing stage of labor, the
Cochrane Collaboration found that either sitting up or lying on the side to push
instead of lying on the back resulted in:
1. Shorter second stage of
labor . This was largely due to a considerable reduction in women allocated
to use of the birth ball.
Tips about the birthball: Inflate the birthball large enough to sit on
with legs bent at a 90-degree angle. The
birthball should be inflated to the point that it is slightly firm but still
“gives;” it should roll easily. Hold
the birthball with your hand as you sit down on it with your feet flat on the
floor and about two feet apart to give you a stable base.
The birthball can be used in conjunction with both intermittent external
or continuous internal fetal monitoring.
2. A small reduction in assisted deliveries (vacuum and forceps).
3. A reduction in episiotomies.
4. A smaller increase in second-degree perineal tears.
5. Increased estimated risk of blood loss > 500ml.
6. Reduced reporting of severe pain during second stage of labor.
7. Fewer abnormal fetal heart rate patterns.
(Citation: Gupta JK , Nikodem VC. Woman's position during second stage.
Issue 2, 2004