The Birth Ball for movement and pain relief in labour is a large inflated exercise ball that has been adopted into maternity care to aid relaxation and movement (Perez .P 2000). The woman can sit on or lean against the ball, which provides soft support. The ball also expands the number of positions the woman can assume for comfort and offers a means for movement (e.g. bouncing, rolling) in these positions, which provides a counter-distraction during contractions. Many hospitals have birth balls in their maternity departments and encourage labouring women to use them for comfort.
I believe that women are wonderfully designed to give birth so when they are supported by midwives with whom they have developed a relationship of trust then amazing births will happen. My philosophy of trust in the physiology of birth differs from the Medical model of child birth that proliferates in our health care system. The medical model believes that birth is only normal in retrospect and is fraught with potential problems that need fixing at any moment! This form of care appears to disempower women and leads to the use of phrases such as “I was not allowed” or “I had to have and induction” evidence that the women did not have any choice in the matter.
I have been an Independent midwife for 9 years and have noticed that there are many things I view as essentials to my home birth kit that were absent when I was a community Midwife for the NHS. I am not talking about the standard equipment sonic aid, sphygmomanometer and stethoscope, thermometer, sterile gloves, etc.