The Birth Ball Experience: Outcome Evaluation of the Intrapartum Use of Birth Ball Abstract

Winny SC KWAN, Sze-wing CHAN, Wan-hon LI

Nowadays, the normality of labour and birth has been blurred by risk-focused management. The routine use of medical devices and connection to intravenous lines make it more convenient for midwives and obstetricians if the labouring women remain in bed. While close monitoring of the high-risk women with advanced technology is well justified to strive for optimal birth outcomes, the sense of normality should be maintained at least for low-risk women so as to encourage control over their own birth process. Birth ball has been introduced to the obstetric setting to facilitate the mobilisation of the labouring women. This article reports outcome evaluation of using the birth ball in the intrapartum period. The relationship between the duration of use and the perception of pain intensity has been explored. Although not statistically significant, the clinical significance of the high satisfaction rate reported should nevertheless be recognised. Outcomes including the duration of the first and second stages of labour and the mode of delivery were also evaluated. No detrimental effects on babies were identified as evidenced by satisfactory Apgar scores and low admission rates to the neonatal intensive care unit. Further research is recommended to explore the effect of the birth ball on these outcomes and to understand the perception of women and their partners towards its use during labour. Midwives should extend their role in promoting normal birth with vigilance by using complementary therapies like the birth ball.

Hong Kong J Gynaecol Obstet Midwifery 2011; 11:59-64

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