When you hear the words peanut ball, images of delicious peanut butter treats come to mind. But that’s not we’re talking about… the peanut ball is a new birthing trend that can help speed up the labour process.
A recent study by researchers from Banner University Medical Center Phoenix in the US found that a peanut-shaped exercise ball can be a highly effective tool to accelerate the labour process for women who have an epidural.
In the findings, women who used the peanut ball were half as likely to undergo a C-section and delivered their babies faster than those who didn’t use the ball.
The study found that use of the ball decreased the first stage of labour in some women by 90 minutes and the second stage by 23 minutes.
The benefits of the peanut ball
Epidurals, which help relieve pain during birth, along with the size and the position of the foetus can prolong labour and are associated with an increased need to perform C-sections.
Of US women who need a primary C-section, more than 90% will undergo the procedure again in subsequent labour, says lead author of the study and a clinical nurse specialist at Banner University Medical Center Phoenix, Christina Tussey. Women who use the peanut ball during labour had a statistically lower rate of needing a C-section, she adds.
Changing your position during labour is associated with multiple benefits including decreased labour time, increased circulation, foetal descent and improved quality of contractions. However, women who use an epidural usually have limited movement, and thus less positions to try during labour.
The peanut ball helps to keep the legs and the pelvic outlet open, allowing the baby to move down more easily.
How do you use the peanut ball?
You can use the ball while lying on your side or in a reclined position.
This video shows you exactly what to do:
Where can I buy a peanut ball?
You can buy one online from sensorystuff.co.za for R715.
You can also buy one on amazon.com for $24.99-$39.99, excluding shipping costs. They are available in four sizes – 70cm, 60cm, 50cm and 40cm.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.