Using A Birthing Ball to Induce Labor

by Carol Roberts, Childbirth Researcher on June 27, 2011

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Are you at 39 weeks and worrying about your baby being past due? Are you already past due, and your midwife is telling you that you should try to induce labor so that your baby won’t be born later than is healthy? If so, you have probably heard of something called a “birthing ball” to induce labor. What is a birthing ball? What do you do with it?

A birthing ball is a rubber exercise ball. If you already have a rubber exercise ball, you have a birthing ball. There are plenty of non-labor related exercises you can do with rubber exercise balls, which means after you’ve delivered, you can use your birthing ball as an exercise ball to get you back in shape with exercises for your abs and back! A birthing ball doesn’t cost too much; most of them are priced at $20.00 or less, making them a fairly modest investment as far as exercise equipment is concerned.

You can do exercises with your birthing ball sitting, standing, or squatting. You can sit on your birthing ball at home while watching television and gently bounce up and down or sway. This will help open up your pelvic area. You can also stand and lean against the birthing ball with your feet apart, or squat in front of it and lean backward on it. All of these exercises are supposed to help open the pelvis and push the baby downward.

On a related note, you can do other exercises which can help induce labor, such as walking, squatting without the birthing ball, or going up staircases two steps at a time. If you go on walks, just 30 minutes a day is plenty, and you should only walk on even, wide terrain so that you don’t lose your balance.

Along with exercises like the birthing ball, you can eat spicy foods to try and accelerate the last weeks of your pregnancy. Of all the natural ways to induce labor, it can work. Pineapple is a fruit known to help many women too, since it releases Oxytocin, which causes contractions. You may also try balsamic vinegar and eggplant. In terms of herbs, you can take black and blue cohosh, raspberry leaf, cumin, ginger root, or evening primrose oil, under the direction of a practitioner. You should talk to your practitioner before you do any exercises too.

What else can you do to try to induce labor naturally? Acupressure is one highly recommended technique for inducing labor. Acupressure is flexible in that you can either go see a professional (recommended if you can afford it) or do it yourself with instructions. If you need help, your partner can perform acupressure. Acupressure stimulates energy centers which remove blocks from your energy field. This can result in you going into labor if you’re ready. Sometimes energetic blocks are all that are standing in your way. Acupressure won’t make you go into labor if you aren’t ready, making it one of the safest methods to try to induce labor.

A birthing ball is a simple way to induce labor which is effective for many women. If you still need to do something else to push your baby along, consider visiting an acupressurist.

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