Have you come across the term peanut ball? Well, if you are looking for ways to ease labour and delivery, then this is one of the options that you can consider! If you haven’t heard about this ball and how you can use it, we suggest reading this insightful article! It helps you in getting acquainted with this effective birthing tool that can make the birthing process a lot smoother and more comfortable for you!
What Is a Peanut Ball?
As the name suggests, this is a peanut-shaped ball that is used for easing the labour and delivery process. The ball is made with the same material as the birthing ball; however, unlike the birthing ball, which is round, the peanut ball is shaped like a peanut with larger ends and a narrow middle section. This inflated ball does not flatten like regular pillows and also does not slide or slip. These balls are gaining popularity amongst pregnant women as a useful birthing tool as a peanut ball can help to induce labour.
How Is Peanut Ball Helpful in Labour?
Opening up of the pelvis is what helps in progressing the labour as it makes way for the baby to move easily through the birthing canal. Thus, the peanut ball is usually used by women, who are in bed during labour, for opening up their pelvis. Where peanut ball can help to dilate during labour, for the women who are in bed, birthing ball helps the women on the ground. This is an excellent birthing tool that can help you during the first and second stages of pregnancy, which means that this ball may help in dilating or opening up the cervix to 10 centimetres. Peanut ball exercises help to induce labour also beneficial during the pushing stage of labour too. Here are some more benefits of the peanut ball during pregnancy and delivery:
- It may help in reducing the duration of labour.
- It may help in reducing the pain.
- It may shorten the pushing time.
- It may help in engagement and position of the baby during the later stages of pregnancy.
- It may reduce the chances of cesarean delivery.
Though these benefits are more pronounced in case you have had an epidural, however, it can also help women who choose to lie on their side during the labour.
What Size of the Peanut Ball Should Be Purchased?
If you were thinking that peanut ball comes in a size that fits all, well, that is not the case. This ball comes in usually four different sizes, and you can pick one according to your height. Here are the four different sizes of peanut ball that you can pick and choose from:
- If you are a woman who is less than 5 feet 3 inches in height, you should buy a peanut ball that is 40 cm in size.
- If you are a woman whose height ranges from 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 6 inches, you should buy a peanut ball that is 50 cm in size.
- If you are a woman who is taller than 5 feet 7 inches, you should buy a peanut ball that is 60 cm in size.
- If you want to use the ball for straddling and sitting, you should buy a peanut ball that is 70 cm in size.
Also, ensure that the ball is specially designed for pregnancy before you buy one for yourself.
What Does the Research Say About Peanut Birthing Ball?
There have been quite a few studies that have been conducted on the use of peanut ball for labour. According to one of the studies conducted in the year 2011, it was established that the use of peanut ball could reduce the first stage labour by as much as 90 minutes. It also reduces the pushing stage or the second stage of labour by shortening it by approximately 23 minutes. So, if you roughly add these figures, you can actually cut down your labour and get to hold your munchkin two hours early!
Another research conducted on the impact of birthing balls in the year 2015 supported the use of such balls by stating that such balls that help in moving positions during labour can prove to of significant improvement in the process and can also help in easing the pain too.
A small research conducted on the peanut ball and epidural usage in the year 2015 supported that approximately 21 per cent of women with epidural but no peanut ball usage, had to go for a C-section delivery. On the other hand, the per cent dropped to approximately 10 per cent in women, who had epidural and used the peanut ball too.
A study conducted recently in the year 2018 showed not much difference was found in women who used the ball and the ones who didn’t use it, in getting fully dilated or the time taken by them to get into active labour. The study further supported that there was no reduction in the C-section rates in women who used these balls during labour in comparison to the ones who didn’t use them.
Ways To Use A Peanut Ball for Labour
There are many ways in which you can use peanut ball during labour. However, these positions may work best if you have had an epidural. Here are some popular ways of using this ball or some common peanut birthing ball positions:
1. The Side-Lying Position
For this position, you can either lay down on the bed on your left or right side. It is a known fact that lying on the side is beneficial for promoting better blood flow to the placenta.
- Begin by placing both your legs around the peanut-shaped ball and gently wrap your legs around it. This will help in opening your pelvis.
- Make sure you keep your legs slightly bent and away from your abdomen.
- Alternatively, you can bring your legs higher up to your abdomen as you imitate a squatting position while lying on the bed.
2. The Lunge Position
The position requires you to follow the same instructions as the side-lying position, however, with this, the only difference is that you need to elevate the bed (hospital bed, if you are in the hospital) for up to 45 degrees. Doing this will make the gravity do its job. The pelvis can be opened up in a different direction using this position.
- Try to rotate the upper part of your body to help you open up your pelvis.
- Place the ball in a horizontally lunging position under the leg that is on top.
3. The Fire Hydrant Position
This is a great position that may prove to be useful in helping your baby rotate as he moves through your pelvis or birth canal.
- Take both your hands and place them on the bed and as you do this, kneel on either one of your knees.
- Now, place the foot of the other leg and the knee on top of the peanut ball.
- Try to place the ball on the bottom part of your bed, and if you wish, you can move it lower than that.
4. For Pushing Position
If you intend to use a peanut ball for pushing, you can use it these two ways:
The tucked lying position
- Lay down in a side-lying position on the bed.
- Now, elevate the bed to a 45 degrees angle. This will help the baby to move further down the birth canal.
The forward-leaning position
- Be in a position that involves you to rest on both your hands and knees.
- Now, use the peanut ball to give support to your upper body by placing it like a pillow. Doing so will help gravity do its job, and thus make your baby move down your pelvis.
Peanut ball can prove to be helpful in labour and delivery; however, there is limited research or studies available on the topic. Whether the peanut ball can help you in easing your labour and delivery or not, it can help you in relieving your aches and pain during the later stages of pregnancy. Also, make sure that you buy the correct size as buying the wrong size may not help you yield the same benefits as purchasing the right size.
If you are planning or wish to use the peanut ball, you can ask your doctor about the correct ways of using it, and it’s significance. Make sure you discuss the peanut ball with your gynaecologist before you buy it and ask any questions you may have about using it.