“Giving birth should be your greatest achievement not your greatest fear.”

~Jane Weideman


Birth is Sacred. It is powerful, and mysterious, and life changing. After your birth, you and your partner will never be the same. Babies who come into this world without medication or interference are better able to find their way to the breast and to latch on in that first important hour. They are born alert and ready to meet you face to face. Mothers who are educated about birth and trust their bodies and attendants are more likely to have a smooth birth experience, and feel empowered in doing so.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Using a Peanut Ball in Labor

From Director of Birthwell Birthright, Tanya Strusberg, comes an amazing article on the benefits of using a peanut ball versus pillows, blankets or even a traditional swiss ball.  Specializing in Lamaze childbirth education, she is a great resource for natural birth techniques.  We utilize the peanut at Embrace Birth Center and think it's an extremely useful tool for mothers to promote dilation and increase comfort.

What is a peanut ball and why could it be helpful for me in labour?

Most people are familiar with the standard birth ball (sometimes called a fit ball or Swiss ball). They come in a range of sizes to suit women of all heights and are without doubt an essential labour tool to have.

The standard round birth ball has become a common site in a birthing suite, but the peanut ball is a relative newcomer.  In the last few years, the use of a peanut ball for labour has increased, especially for mums who choose an epidural or who need to rest. The peanut ball doesn’t slip, slide or flatten like pillows, keeping a mum’s legs properly supported and the pelvis open. The use of a peanut ball has been seen to help shorten labour. Although there has not been a large study on their effectiveness, many midwives and hospitals are seeing excellent results.

A peanut ball is similar to a birth ball, except that it dips in the middle, giving it its distinctive peanut shape. Peanut balls also come in a variety of sizes, again depending on a woman’s height, but also depending on how she plans to use it. Smaller peanut balls are designed to be used between your legs, whereas larger peanut balls are designed to be sat on, or to lean over.

Peanut Balls are typically used two ways primarily:

1. The labouring mother is in a semi-reclined position, with one leg over the ball, and the other leg to the side of the ball. The doula, midwife, or other support person pushes the ball as close to the mother’s hips as is tolerable for her. Many feel this position promotes dilation and descent with a well-positioned baby.

2. While the mother is in a side-lying or semi-prone position, the peanut ball is used to lift the upper leg and open the pelvic outlet. Many feel this position helps rotate a baby in a less-favorable posterior position to a more favorable position for delivery.

What size peanut ball should I use?

Peanut balls come in a number of sizes:

45cm – Recommended for women who are under 160cms
50cm – Recommended for women who are 160cm – 170cms (most common size)
60cm – Recommended for women who are 174cm or taller or plus size women
70cm – ONLY to sit on and straddle

For the full article along with even more great resources, click here to visit the Birthwell Birthright website.

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