News

Getting the most out of your birthing ball! May 05 2016

Introduction

Birthing balls are hugely popular with pregnant women, but many birthing balls just aren’t used to their full potential. Instead of actually exercising with the ball during the pregnancy period, too many women leave theirs in the package until they go into labour. Below we explain how to get the best out of your birthing ball.

Stay on the ball during pregnancy

The chances are that if you're pregnant, you either have, or maybe thinking of purchasing a birthing ball. If so that's fantastic news. There are several reasons why most midwives recommend them during pregnancy.

  • Sitting on a ball will give you support while forcing you to use good posture. This will be welcome relief for your back, especially during the later stages of pregnancy. Balls have also been used to encourage baby to turn into the correct position, and can often help to make labour more comfortable for the mother to be.

 

    • Because of this it's now usual for hospital maternity units to carry a stock of birth balls, although not usually enough for a busy night on the labour ward!

This is all great news, however what's happened to the benefits of actually exercising with the ball? That seems to be something no one in the baby industry, least of all the people buying the balls, know much about. Birthing balls are one of the best things around for exercising during pregnancy, and also for getting your figure and strength back after the birth.

So, Why are they so good? Because when you exercise on the ball, you have an unstable base, and that's totally different to exercising on the floor or a bench, both of which are firm and stable.

  • The instability of the ball makes your body, and your core muscles in particular, work harder to keep you balanced, and in time these muscles will become stronger and stronger resulting in fewer injuries and less back pain. Also during pregnancy your centre of gravity is shifting on a daily basis, so that improvement in balance becomes very important.

Even when pregnant there are lots of exercises you can perform safely on a ball. Once you've been given the go ahead by your doctor (there are several contra-indications to pregnancy exercise, so you should always check with your doctor first), your workout should include exercises for your upper and lower body, your core and your pelvic floor, and also (as mentioned above) for your balance.

Before you start exercising you must learn to activate your transverse abdominus muscles (TVA).

These are deep muscles that comprise part of your 'core', and learning to control and strengthen them is necessary to help maintain good posture, alleviate back pain, and prevent injury. To find your TVA, lie on your back and put your fingertips inside your hip bones. If you cough, you’ll feel the muscles beneath your fingers twitch. That’s your TVA. To contract the TVA take a deep breath in, and then breathe out and at the same time pull your belly button in towards your spine. Those of you who've done any pilates will have done this before, and will have heard of the term 'navel to spine' many times.

When you've got the hang of this, try holding it for ten seconds while continuing to breathe. It will be tricky at first but once you've learned to 'fire and sustain' the TVA you will be able to switch it on any time you exercise, lift baby, or do anything else that requires effort.

On a serious note, if you want to use a ball during pregnancy you should always buy the 'anti-burst' variety. Some midwives I've spoken with have told me about cheaper, supermarket brand balls bursting like balloons during labour, and that doesn't bear thinking about. If punctured, an anti-burst ball will deflate slowly and not go pop. It's also important that you perform the exercises correctly in order to avoid injury, so get qualified instruction whenever you can. A quality product like The Miracle Box includes a good anti-burst ball with detailed teaching instructions. We shall be recommending some exercises for you to try out with your ball next month!

 

The Miracle Box is available to purchase for £29.99 from the miracle box, also available birthing balls from £13.99


The Hows and Why's of Pelvic Floor Exercise January 26 2015

The Pelvic Floor

All women should perform pelvic floor exercises regularly, but it’s particularly important both during pregnancy and post pregnancy. Strong pelvic floor muscles can aid in childbirth, and also prevent or minimize embarrassing leaks when laughing, coughing, sneezing or lifting (stress incontinence is a billion dollar industry!). Pelvic floor exercises are also known as kegels, so if you’ve heard that name and wondered what it meant, now you know!

Your pelvic floor is made up of a sling of 3 muscles that connect the pubic bone at the front to the ‘sitting bones’ at the side and the tailbone at the back. This serves as a support structure for the contents of the abdomen and pelvis, including the bowel, uterus, and bladder. The extra weight of your growing baby makes these muscles work even harder and keeping them strong can help prevent incontinence and prolapse, and also aid in the birthing process. For these reasons pelvic floor exercises should be started as early as possible in the pregnancy.

Learning to isolate and contract your pelvic floor muscles is easy. Imagine urinating and stopping in mid flow and it will be these muscles doing the work. Aim to do it without clenching your bum if possible as this brings in another set of muscles entirely. It is important though that you don’t actually do your pelvic floor exercises whilst urinating, as this can lead to problems like bladder infections.

Exercises

The great thing about pelvic floor exercises is that they can be done anywhere at any time, as only you know

you are doing them. The difficult thing is sometimes remembering to do them. To help with this try to associate them with different activities such as ironing, cooking, driving, or even having sex. After a while you’ll find yourself doing them automatically when performing these activities. They should also be performed every day, several times if possible. At first you may find it difficult and tire easily, but strength and muscle control should increase rapidly.

Squeeze and Hold

Squeeze/contract your pelvic floor muscles and hold for a count of 5 seconds. (Aim to build this to 10 seconds over a short period of time). Relax and rest for 10 seconds. Do 10 reps, several times a day.

Speed-Ums

The pelvic floor is made up of 2 different types of muscle fibres. Some respond to quick contractions and some to slow. This exercise is for the ‘quick’ fibres. Contract and lift the pelvic floor muscles as quickly and strongly as possible and let go. Gradually increase the speed of the contraction and the number of repetitions until the muscle tires. When the muscles are fatigued wait a few seconds to recover and start again. Aim to do this 10 times and repeat several times a day.

The Lift

Try and visualise your midsection as a lift, then draw your pelvic floor upwards to the first floor and hold for 3 seconds. Breathing gently but without releasing the contraction, draw upwards to the second floor and hold for a further 3 seconds, then to the third floor for 3 seconds. Release and repeat several times a day.

Relaxing

Learning to relax your pelvic floor is very important too, so aim to relax the muscles slowly and under control during the exercises (except the speedums). This will help you during the birthing process. Performing these exercises whilst sitting on your birth ball will result in a stronger contraction.

Written by Mark Hibbitts  and Martin Beckley personal fitness coaches specializing in pregnancy & postnatal exercise. Authors of The Birthball Handbook available from www.themiraclebox.co.uk at £9.99 including access to online Pelvic Floor DVD.

 

The Miracle Box Lifestyle Parenting Products including; birthing balls, baby changing bags, buggy accessories and so much more


Is this Peanuts? January 08 2015

This is not just a gimmick, this is an unbelievable idea! Peanut Shaped Ball, perfect for helping all mums to be during pregnancy?

The Miracle Box Anti-Burst Peanut Ball, a Birth Ball but with a Twist

Tested by mums, midwives and doulas before launching...

 

What is a peanut Birth Ball?

Birth Balls are commonly rounded, varying in size depending on the height of the mother-to-be ranging from 55cm to 75cm, and have many benefits to mums during pregnancy, labour and post pregnancy. However, a peanut ball, is what it says, peanut shaped, and comes very much into its own during labour especially if an epidural is performed!

So, why use a peanut ball in labour? The peanut ball gives a more controlled, multi-directional movement; with this increased stability it provides greater confidence while aiding support in the squatting position/straddling the ball, therefore giving more balance to the mother-to-be. The ball sits comfortably between the mother's legs, aiding support and helping to open the pelvis. Varying the mother's positions with the ball encourages foetal rotation and descent. The ball has been found to be most effective to help prop open a woman's legs when she cannot use upright positions due to an epidural. The ball provides a soft, comfortable, squeezable aid during the labour process. The peanut ball has been found to be at its best when used on women who receive epidural injections to alleviate pain during pregnancy as typically a mother-to-be cannot use other proven birthing methods such as squatting or using an typical round birth ball, whereas the peanut ball due its smaller size and shape fills this gap perfectly.

What size do I require?

(*from women who have used the peanut ball) *Studies have shown that the ideal size is 50cm (approx. 19" high) typically  smaller than a round birth ball. The peanut ball can be used in conjunction with  a traditional birth ball as both have their place during pregnancy and labour.

Who uses the peanut birth ball?

The peanut birth ball has been widely adopted in the USA, by hospitals, doulas and midwives. This is now starting to be adopted in Europe as an effective aid  during labour especially if an epideural has been used. Initially pioneered by Banner Good Samaritan Medical Centre in the USA, clinically proven results have been outstanding. (Please see below)

How do you use the peanut ball?

There are several different positions in which you can use the peanut ball. It is also incredible useful to help support your back and neck whilst in bed, as well as being able to lean over the ball etc.

Side laying Squat Position:

When you are tired and exhausted and need to rest and lay down or you have had an epidural and  you are either not allowed or able to stand, the peanut ball can be used to simulate optimal labour positions while in a resting posture, by opening the pelvis and allowing the baby room to descend and open the cervix.

Laying Squat Position:

This position simulates a squat whilst laying down bringing your knees up and                   opening the hips into a squat. (similar to using stirrups), but much better and more comfortable!

Laying Lunge Position:

The laying down lunge can be used to open the pelvis, stretch the cervix, and help rotate baby in one direction or the other depending on which way you lay and need the baby to move.

More positions and how to use the peanut birth ball effectively included with our Ball.

 

Some of the Benefits of Using a Peanut Birth Ball

1. Studies** prove that the Peanut Ball lowered C-Section rates. The C-Section rate for the group of women who used the peanut ball was 13% less than for the group that did not use the peanut ball.

2. Studies** show that ladies in labour who used the peanut ball decreased the first stage of labour by nearly 90 minutes and the second stage by 23 minutes compared with a controlled group that did not use the peanut ball.

3. The Peanut Ball can be placed between the mother to be's legs in a way to open the pelvis so dramatically as to allow the baby to get into his or her best position to be born.

4. Studies** show that the use of the Peanut Ball during labour for patients with an epidural significantly reduced the length of labour.

5. The peanut birth ball gives a more controlled, multidirectional movement, therefore giving more balance to the mother.

6. The peanut ball is commonly used by women who receive an epidural. The ball sits comfortably between the patient's legs, aiding support and helping to open the pelvis. Varying the mother's position with the ball encourages foetal rotation and descent.

7. The ball helps increase the pelvic diameter and in turn, allows more room for the foetus to descend.

Notes:

**The use of peanut balls was pioneered at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center and has been rolled out to other Banner facilities throughout the USA. The Banner Good Samaritan trial included 200 pregnant women who were carrying a term baby and who had an epidural. Studies are also being conducted in Europe, and the peanut ball is starting to be widely used by Doulas, Midwives and Hospitals.

For further information please visit: Banner Health


The Miracle Box Complete Birth Ball Package gets even better! September 16 2014

The Miracle Box Complete Birth Ball Package gets even better!

Why Is this?

We have loaded so much information online, that is simple and easy to download to any device (phone, tablet or PC) to help you during your pregnancy and labour.

Not only do you get a class leading birth ball and pump (anti-burst, non-slip surface ball) you also get information on:

Optimal Foetal Positioning

    1. Late Pregnancy Postures.
    2. Getting your baby into the best positions for birth.
    3. Exercises to help move your baby.
    4. Helpful positioning tips during labour with your birth ball.

Information Sheets on Birth & Labour Positions using a Birth Ball

Series of helpful photographs and descriptions to help you during the labour and birth of your baby

PLUS the DVD is now online for you to access and view anytime. This DVD has been divided up into 4 sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Light Core Exercises
  3. Pelvic Floor Exercises
  4. and, Self Checking for Diastasis Recti (Abdominal Separation)

PLUS our fabulous high quality exercise wall charts for safe and effective pregnancy, post natal and advanced toning and stretching exercises. Designed by pre and post natal exercise specialists will also be online very soon

For more information visit www.themiraclebox.co.uk

 

 


Using a Peanut Birth Ball during labour February 12 2014

What is a peanut Birth Ball?

Birth Balls are commonly rounded, varying in size depending on the height of the mother-to-be ranging from 55cm to 75cm, and have many benefits to mums during pregnancy, labour and post pregnancy. However, a peanut ball, is what it says, peanut shaped, and comes very much into its own during labour especially if an epidural is performed!

So, why use a peanut ball in labour? The peanut ball gives a more controlled, multi-directional movement; with this increased stability it provides greater confidence while aiding support in the squatting position/straddling the ball, therefore giving more balance to the mother-to-be. The ball sits comfortably between the mother's legs, aiding support and helping to open the pelvis. Varying the mother's positions with the ball encourages foetal rotation and descent. The ball has been found to be most effective to help prop open a woman's legs when she cannot use upright positions due to an epidural. The ball provides a soft, comfortable, squeezable aid during the labour process. The peanut ball has been found to be at its best when used on women who receive epidural injections to alleviate pain during pregnancy as typically a mother-to-be cannot use other proven birthing methods such as squatting or using an typical round birth ball, whereas the peanut ball due its smaller size and shape fills this gap perfectly.

What size do I require?

(*from women who have used the peanut ball) *Studies have shown that the ideal size is 50cm (approx. 19" high) typically  smaller than a round birth ball. The peanut ball can be used in conjunction with  a traditional birth ball as both have their place during pregnancy and labour.

Who uses the peanut birth ball?

The peanut birth ball has been widely adopted in the USA, by hospitals, doulas and midwives. This is now starting to be adopted in Europe as an effective aid during labour especially if an epideural has been used. Initially pioneered by Banner Good Samaritan Medical Centre in the USA, clinically proven results have been outstanding. (Please see below)

How do you use the peanut ball?

There are several different positions in which you can use the peanut ball. It is also incredible useful to help support your back and neck whilst in bed, as well as being able to lean over the ball etc.

Side laying Squat Position:

When you are tired and exhausted and need to rest and lay down or you have had an epidural and  you are either not allowed or able to stand, the peanut ball can be used to simulate optimal labour positions while in a resting posture, by opening the pelvis and allowing the baby room to descend and open the cervix.

Laying Squat Position:

This position simulates a squat whilst laying down bringing your knees up and opening the hips into a squat. (similar to using stirrups), but much better and more comfortable!

Laying Lunge Position:

The laying down lunge can be used to open the pelvis, stretch the cervix, and help rotate baby in one direction or the other depending on which way you lay and need the baby to move.

NB: More positions and how to use the peanut birth ball effectively during labour are included with our Ball Package.

 

Some of the Benefits of Using a Peanut Birth Ball

1. Studies** prove that the Peanut Ball lowered C-Section rates. The C-Section rate for the group of women who used the peanut ball was 13% less than for the group that did not use the peanut ball.

2. Studies** show that ladies in labour who used the peanut ball decreased the first stage of labour by nearly 90 minutes and the second stage by 23 minutes compared with a controlled group that did not use the peanut ball.

3. The Peanut Ball can be placed between the mother to be's legs in a way to open the pelvis so dramatically as to allow the baby to get into his or her best position to be born.

4. Studies** show that the use of the Peanut Ball during labour for patients with an epidural significantly reduced the length of labour.

5. The peanut birth ball gives a more controlled, multidirectional movement, therefore giving more balance to the mother.

6. The peanut ball is commonly used by women who receive an epidural. The ball sits comfortably between the patient's legs, aiding support and helping to open the pelvis. Varying the mother's position with the ball encourages foetal rotation and descent.

7. The ball helps increase the pelvic diameter and in turn, allows more room for the foetus to descend.

Notes:

**The use of peanut balls was pioneered at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center and has been rolled out to other Banner facilities throughout the USA. The Banner Good Samaritan trial included 200 pregnant women who were carrying a term baby and who had an epidural. Studies are also being conducted in Europe, and the peanut ball is starting to be widely used by Doulas, Midwives and Hospitals.

For further information please visit: Banner Health

 

The Miracle Box Peanut birth ball starts from £24.00 for ball only or £29.00 with a dual action pump!