PEGGY HALSEY CDM, CPM
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Peanut Ball To Reduce Length of Labor

Were you thinking I must be referring to protein balls?  As wonderful and healthy as they are I am not.  This is similar to a Birth Ball but is shaped like a peanut.  They come in different sizes and are more stable than round balls.

As we all know active birth helps keep labor normal.  Movement helps the baby jiggle his way down into the correct position in the pelvis.  Unmedicated women instinctively move and sway in labor facilitating descent.  The ball can help women who can’t be mobile get the same descent without movement.  This is done by encouraging the pelvic outlet to be opened to it’s greatest dimensions.

The peanut ball is especially useful for women who have epidurals confining them to bed.  Epidurals often increase the length of labor and pushing.  They also increase the cesarean and instrumental delivery rate.  The peanut can turn these odds around.

Of course all women can benefit.  A tired laboring woman can use less energy while still having her baby benefit from the room the peanut creates through optimal pelvic positioning.  The mother can relax more deeply when she can be still and meditate.  Mother’s using self hypnosis  would also find it helpful.  It is also easier to lean over and gently rock back and forth than a traditional ball.  Misaligned babies can also be repositioned using the peanut.

The peanut very effectively opens the pelvis to assist descent.  To do this it is placed as high as possible between the laboring woman’s bent legs while she is on her side.  A rolled towel is then positioned behind the woman and the peanut to keep it in place.  The peanut should be parallel to the floor.  the woman is then repositioned to the other side every thirty minutes.

If the woman is semi-reclined on the bed she should place on leg over the ball at the knee and let the other leg lay out on the bed beside her in a “Butterfly” position.  This also opens her pelvis to optimal dimensions as though she were doing lunges.  She would then switch sides frequently.

Birth professional are raving about FAST labor and deliveries with the peanut in place!   A controlled study of 200 first time mothers at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in Arizona showed first stage to be shortened by 90 minutes and second stage by 23 minutes.  The biggest news is that it has been shown to reduce the C-section rate by 13 percentage points over the control group that did not use the peanut.  They also feel it is helpful in deliveries where the baby is “sunny side” up as well.

The 55 cm ball is a good size to use.  The cost is around $40.  They are imported from Europe.

How great that this is low tech with no inherent risks for mother or baby.  Let’s all have a peanut!

 

 

About peggy

I am a home and birth center midwife in South Central Alaska. My passion is helping new families get the best possible start in a respectful peaceful environment. I believe families have a right to make their own best birth choices! I offer so many choices to expectant families home, water birth, three birth centers to choose from. Birth your way!!
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