Let Me Grab My Balls
Yep, you read that right. The things that come out of your mouth when you're a doula. Lets take a minute and talk about balls. Tennis balls, peanut balls, birthing balls, all very useful before, during, and after birth.
Tennis Balls: Easily my favorite to use and always a staple in my doula bag. It can be used with a partner or on your own. Lets check it out...
Partner Massage: Who can say no to massaging you when you're pregnant? My husband got lots of extra bonus points for this while I was pregnant but after a while his fingers would get tired and that's where the tennis ball comes into play. Just have your partner take the tennis ball and use it to massage any area that is bothering you. It works great on your back as well as larger muscle groups.
Self Massage: Home alone? Stuck at your desk at work? Keep some in your purse, that why you can whip out your balls at a moments notice. Okay, jokes aside while I'm sure you immediately thought this would be great for massaging your own legs, you can also place the tennis ball against the wall and press your back into it. You can use this to put pressure in a specific place that is bothering you or you can move around and give yourself a massage.
Foot Roll: I don't think I've ever met a pregnant women who hasn't at some point complained about her feet, myself included. Just place the ball on the ground and roll your foot over top of it, alternating feet. Just remember to hold onto something! Pregnant bellies make us wobbly and depending on how far along you are, you might be questioning if you even still have feet. When was the last time you actually saw them?
The Whole Pack: This is great especially for back pain during labor. Buy a new pack but don't pop it. An unopened package has just enough give to make it very comfortable. Plus, the longer surface means it can cover a bigger area.
Peanut Balls: One of your best options if you're in bed with an epidural. I've also had moms tell me that the central curve relieves pressure better than the standard birthing ball. One of our main goals especially when in labor is to open our pelvis so that the baby can move down. Many moms think that once they have their epidural game over, I can't get out of bed, I can't squat, I'm stuck here on my back. Wrong.
Laying On Your Left Side: Laying on your left side and placing the peanut ball between your legs. Being on your left side not only helps you and the baby get more oxygen but it also gets you off your tailbone. THIS IS HUGE. The joint in your tailbone actually flips back during labor allowing your baby more space to move down.
Under Your Knees: Propping your bed up and placing the peanut ball under you knees so that you're in a seating position allows your pelvis to open and helps to take pressure off your tailbone.
Birthing Ball: Now I'm sure this is the one you're familiar with even before pregnancy. You may have even used one.
During Pregnancy: Replace your chair with a birthing ball, rock side to side, do hip circles, bounce up and down. All of this will help your baby get into an optimal position for birth, it feels good, and it's fun.
During Labor: Supported child's pose. Kneeling with hips apart, drape yourself over the birthing ball and either hangout and relax or sway your hips from side to side. Sitting on the birthing ball and leaning over a bed or a stack of pillows. This is a great position because not only is it relaxing but it also makes it easy for your partner or doula to massage your back.
After Labor: Cranky baby? Your little one will love to be bounced or rocked back and forth while you hold them and doing this on the birthing ball means you don't have to be on your feet. It's also great for stretching and very gentle exercise.
All of these balls have great uses before, during, and after pregnancy. I've shared a few that I've personally found useful. So when it comes time to pack your bag for the hospital, don't forget to grab your balls.