Sitting on a chair for hours on end (as many of us do while at the computer) is not good for your posture, or health. So, during your pregnancy, try sitting on a chair with a fitness ball built in instead of your regular office chair, and see how helpful it is in keeping your spine straight and body centered.
When your body and baby are laboring, you want to keep your pelvis open and moving. Slow dancing with your partner is a great way to do this. Sitting on a birth ball (aka fitness ball) is also great. Whatever kind of birth you choose, with or without medication, you can literally rock your birth (and potentially shorten your labor) with the help of a birth ball.
During labor, birth balls are simple to use, and as long as your upper body is supported so you don’t fall off, safe. Simply sit on the ball and lean on whatever feels best to you: into the arms of your partner, your doula, the edge of the bed. The forward leaning position will help align and center your baby and is usually one of the most comfortable positions during strong contractions. Since the ball is waterproof, you can also sit on it while in the shower. Mamas I’ve worked with have sometimes stayed in their hospital room shower enjoying the warmth and relaxation of the water while laboring on the ball for hours at a time!
Another kind of ball you can use in labor is the peanut ball. As you’ve no doubt been told, lying on your back in labor is the worst place you want to be — both for your baby’s positioning, and your comfort. Lying on your side, however, is a great way to rest. Placing a peanut ball between your legs helps widen your pelvis and allows the baby more room to descend and rotate.
Birth balls are widely available (Target sells them in the sports section) and many hospitals already have them available for you to use when laboring there (White Plains Hospital and Greenwich Hospital, for example). Since it is best to keep your hips open and pelvis rotating in pregnancy anyway, you may want to have one available at home to sit on. Rock on, mamas.