ADOBE in the News
Arizona Foothills Magazine
Arizona Republic Newspaper
How Birth Balls can contribute to
your pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
During your prenatal check-ups, especially in the last trimester, the doctor or midwife will palpate your abdomen to detect the baby's position. While most moms-to-be know that head down is good, few understand the significance of a baby facing the mother’s navel or the mother’s spine.
Occipito-anterior (OA) and Occipito-posterior (OP) often called anterior and posterior for short are the technical terms to describe the way your baby is positioned in the uterus. Both of these terms apply to a baby who is head down.
The best position for your baby to engage into the pelvis is the Occipito-anterior (OA). This is what is called the Optimal Foetal Position (OFP). In the OA position, your baby is head down with his or her face looking at your spine. In the OP position, your baby is head down with his or her face looking at your navel.
Have you ever heard of Back Labor? Have you experienced back labor yourself or do you know someone who has? Back labor occurs because the baby is in the occiptio-posterior (OP) position. An OP baby and mother must do more work in order to have a vaginal birth. Labor is often longer and more painful, while the baby attempts to rotate to the anterior position.
Optimal Foetal Positioning teaches us that simple lifestyle changes like improving your posture can influence the way your baby positions him or herself into the pelvis. Years ago before television women were much more active and when they sat on a couch it was to read or sew. When they were positioned on the couch they sat upright because proper posture was encouraged. Today when we rest on the couch we tend to recline back with our feet up with the remote control in our hands. This is not a good position to be in during late pregnancy because your uterus will contract to try to rotate the baby to the OA position. When the uterus contracts it tilts forward and when we are semi-recumbent we are working against the uterus. This is why women will have frequent long episodes of Braxton-Hicks contractions in late pregnancy because the uterus is trying to rotate the baby to the optimal foetal position.
Using the Birth Ball for pregnancy and childbirth?
Putting all of your upper body weight on the Birth Balls when in the hands and position will do the following:
The Birth Ball Supports Women in Laboring Positions
How does an upright position make such a difference in labor?
How can birth balls help childbearing women?
Using a Birth Ball can make rhythmic movement, changing positions and remaining upright easier. Fatigue is decreased when a woman can rest part of her body on the ball. The ball provides support to hip joints, knees, and ankles so the woman can be mobile for longer periods of time.
STANDING: Gravity helps the fetus to descend during the course of labor. The laboring woman can tolerate standing longer when she rests her upper body on a birth ball that is placed on a bed or stationary chair.
KNEELING: Women often kneel to relieve the pain of back labor and to encourage the rotation of a posterior position baby. Kneeling over the birth ball and rocking or rotating the hips is more comfortable and counter pressure is easier to apply when the woman is in a forward leaning position.
SITTING UPRIGHT: When a woman sits upright on the birth ball she often remarks that her back immediately feels better! She can easily rock back and forth and she finds that the ball provides counter pressure on her perineum and thighs.
POSTPARTUM: After birth women may want to use the birth ball in a postpartum exercise program. A specialist is fitness can assist in obtaining information about a safe exercise program for postpartum recovery.
BABY SOOTHING: Babies love rhythmic movement ad many parents have used the birth ball as an aid to soothing a fussy baby. Some gently bounce on the ball and others move side to side on the ball while holding their baby. The infant craves movement to stimulate his/her nervous system, ad the rhythmic movements on the birth ball can help foster healthy development of the baby.
Sources of information about the physiology of labor: Active Birth; Janet Balaskas. Easing Labor Pain;Adrienne B. Lieberman. Gentle Birth Choices; Barbara Harper, RN. A Good Birth, A Safe Birth; Diana Korte and Roberta Scaer. The Birth Partner; Penny Simkin