What The Heck Is a Peanut Ball and Do I Need One for Labor?
While it’s true that every labor is unique, the desire for a quick and easy delivery is pretty much universal. Here’s how a peanut ball could help.
So, what is a peanut ball? It’s basically a therapy or exercise ball that looks like a peanut (or like two birthing balls connected together) and is meant to promote labor progress. How? By lying down on your side (or in a semi-reclined position) and placing the ball between your legs, you can help open up the pelvis. The more open the pelvis, the easier it is for the baby to come out.
And does it work? Well, plenty of moms who’ve been there, done that say that it does. And one study published in the Journal of Perinatal Education found that using a peanut ball in the hospital reduced both C-section rates and labor time.
A shorter labor? Sign. Me. Up. In the study, those who used the peanut ball versus those who didn’t had a shorter labor time by an average of 40 minutes. This might not sound like a lot, but as any mom knows, a minute spent in the delivery room can feel like an hour. A similar study published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing found that the ball shortened labor by as much as 90 minutes (so basically a lifetime). And while researchers focused on women who were given an epidural, the peanut ball is a great option for any woman who needs to lie down during labor (either due to medication, complications or, you know, because she’s exhausted).
Where can I get one? Pick one up for less than $20 at your local sports shop or order one online here. (Just remember to make sure that the peanut ball is a good fit for your body— too small and it won’t work, too big and it could cause hip pain.)