Menu

The mere idea of sitting on an unsteady birthing ball during labor (and even pregnancy!) can be daunting. But when used properly, birthing balls, also known as exercise and fitness balls, are excellent tools to sustain a healthy pregnancy and successful labor.

Indeed, birthing ball exercises can give you the strength and stability that can help speed up dilation, move baby down into the pelvis, and even manage labor and delivery pain. What's more, birthing balls are affordable, effective and versatile (you can use them well after birth to help with postpartum pain and breastfeeding, and children tend to think they're great fun to play with), and you can involve your partner, doula or friend depending on where you choose to deliver. It's no wonder, then, that so many midwives and birth doulas (myself included) recommend them to their clients.

So if you are getting ready to welcome baby earth side, here are four birthing ball positions to get you comfortable and help you manage labor pain.


1. Rocking

Sitting on the birth ball, let your pelvis rock back and forth, and side to side. This will help shift the pelvis into good spinal and pelvic alignment and can help with discomfort between contractions. Simply sitting on the ball can also provide soft support to the perineum when hard surfaces are no longer comfortable.

2. Leaning against the ball

If exhaustion is about to kick in, lean onto your birth ball. The best way to do that is by standing up, placing the ball onto your hospital or birth-center bed and leaning forward to hang onto the ball. Tipping the belly forward takes the pressure off of the lower back and can guide the baby deeper into the pelvis. While you are resting on the ball, your birth partner or doula can massage your back to provide extra relief.

3. Leaning against the ball, on all fours

Put the birthing ball on the floor and lean against it while on your knees. This can also help with back pain. For extra stability, you can wrap your arms around the ball and hug it. Your partner or doula can massage your back to take some of the pain away. With this position, gravity pushes baby's head downward against the cervix, which may help speed up dilation.

4. Bouncing

Gently bouncing is a great way to cope with pain in between contractions. You may find that you naturally feel the need to sway and bounce. Use that time to figure out what your body instinctively wants to do, to trust that it knows exactly what to do to help bring you comfort.

As mentioned before, birthing balls are versatile, and these are just a few ways you can use them during labor and delivery. Make sure that your partner or doula is close by to support you and avoid mishaps and accidents. Finally, let your body lead you to the most secure and comfortable birthing experience: it knows what you and baby need and will be able to use this tool intuitively.

Need a little more support, mama? These top-picks from our Becoming Mama Edit in The Motherly Shop are here to help.

'The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama'

The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama

This is the pregnancy book we wish we'd had when we first became mothers—a mama-centered guide that doesn't just focus on your baby's needs, but honors and coaches you through this profound life change. Filled with the best knowledge, wisdom, and support we have to offer, it's sure to take up semi-permanent residence on your night stand.

$20

Belly Bandit 2-in-1 hip wrap

Belly Bandit 2-in-1 hip wrap

Your body is working so hard, mama. This little miracle offers support for you back and pelvis as your belly grows and helps to relieve pressure on your bladder (so you can laugh and sneeze with a little more confidence!) After baby, it's great for stabilizing the hips and pelvis and guiding joints back into place.

$40

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Article photography by Laura Vladimirova.

Our babies come out as beautiful, soft and natural as can be—shouldn't their clothes follow suit?

Here are nine of our favorite organic kids clothing brands that prove safe fabrics + stylish designs are a natural fit.

Estella

A brick and mortar store in Manhattan that opened in 2002, Estella is NYC's go-to shop for luxury baby gifts—from sweet-as-pie organic clothing to eco-friendly toys.

L'ovedbaby

@lovedbaby

We l'oved this collection from the moment we laid eyes on it. (See what we did there 🤣) Free of things harsh added chemicals, dangerous flame retardants, and harmful dyes, this collection is 100% organic and 100% gorgeous. We especially adore their soft, footed rompers, comfy cotton joggers, and newborn-friendly kimono bodysuits.

Looking to stock up? Don't miss Big-Find Thursday every week on their site—a 24-hour flash sale that happens Thursdays at 9 a.m. PST and features a different body style, collection, and discount every week!

Hanna Andersson

@happyhannas

One of our all-time favorite brands for durability, style, + customer service, Hanna Andersson doesn't disappoint in the organic department, either. From an aww-inducing organic baby layette collection all the way to their iconic pajamas, there are so many organic styles to swoon over from this beloved brand. And we swear their pajamas are magic—they seem to grow with your little one, fitting season after season!

Monica + Andy

@monicaandandy

The fabric you first snuggle your baby in matters. Monica + Andy's (gorgeous) collection is designed for moms and babies by moms with babies, and we love it all because it's made of super-soft GOTS-certified organic cotton that's free of chemicals, lead, and phthalates. Newborn pieces feature thoughtful details like fold-over mittens and feet.

Finn + Emma

@finnandemma

"Here boring designs and toxic chemicals are a thing of the past while modern colors, fresh prints and heirloom quality construction are abundant." We couldn't agree more. Made from 100% organic cotton, eco friendly dyes, and in fair trade settings, we love this modern collection's mix of style + sustainability.

We especially love the Basics Collection, an assortment of incredibly soft, beautiful apparel + accessories including bodysuits, zip footies, pants, hats, and bibs, all available in a gender-neutral color palette that can work together to create multiple outfit combinations. The pieces are perfect for monochrome looks or for mixing with prints for a more modern style.

SoftBaby

@littleaddigrey for @softbaby_clothes

You'll come for SoftBaby's organic fabrics, but you'll stay for their adorable assortment of prints. From woodland foxes to urban pugs, there's no limit to their assortment (meaning you'll even be able to find something for the new mama who's hard to shop for). Plus, the name says it all--these suckers are soft. Get ready for some serious cuddle time.

Gap Baby

@gapkids

Organic may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Gap, but this popular brand actually carries a wide variety of organic (and adorable) baby + toddler clothes. From newborn layette basics to toddler sleepwear—and more—there's something for everyone in this collection. Everything is 100% cotton, super soft + cozy, and perfect for eco-conscious mamas.

Winter Water Factory

@winterwaterfactory

Certified organic cotton with Brooklyn-based swagger? Be still our hearts. Winter Water Factory features screen-printed textiles in bold designs you'll want to show off (get ready for some major Instagram likes). And the husband-and-wife co-founders keep sustainability at the forefront of their brand, meaning you can feel good about your purchase--and what you're putting on your baby.

The company makes everything from kids' clothes to crib sheets (all made in the USA). For even more cuteness, pair their signature rompers with a hat or bonnet.

Under the Nile

@underthenile

Under the Nile has been making organic baby clothes since before it was cool. Seriously, they were the first baby clothing company in the USA to be certified by The Global Organic Textile Standard. They've kept up that legacy of high standards by growing their Egyptian cotton on a biodynamic farm without the use of pesticides or insecticides, and all of their prints are made with metal-free colors and no chemical finishes.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

You might also like:

Shop

How much time our kids spend in front of a screen is something we have almost always been “strict" about in our household.

Generally speaking, we're not big TV watchers and our kids don't own tablets or iPads, so limiting screen time for our children (usually around the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines) has proven to be a reasonable practice for us.

It wasn't until this past summer when I started working from home full time that I found myself stretching an hour to an hour and a half or allowing just one more episode of Pokemon so I could get in a few more emails quietly. (#MomGuilt)

I also realized that I wasn't counting when we passively had the news on in the background as TV time and that we weren't always setting a stellar example for our kids as we tended to use our phones during what should have been family time.

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play