Exercise ball used in delivery process decreases labor time, reduces number of C-sections

February 11, 2015, GYMR

According to a new study by nurse researchers at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, a Phoenix hospital part of Banner Health, a peanut-shaped exercise ball can be a highly effective tool to accelerate the labor process for women with an epidural. The research shows women utilizing the peanut ball were half as likely to undergo a cesarean surgery and delivered babies faster than those who did not use the ball. The results are published in the 2015 winter edition of the Journal of Perinatal Education.

"The peanut ball is a low-risk, low-cost nursing intervention that promotes positive labor outcomes and reduces the duration of the delivery process," said Christina Tussey, MSN, RN, CNS, lead author of the study and a clinical nurse specialist at Banner Good Samaritan. "Of U.S. who require a primary cesarean surgery, more than 90 percent will have a subsequent repeat cesarean. Women utilizing the peanut ball during labor had a statistically lower rate of needing a for delivery thus reducing the risks associated the primary cesarean surgery and implications for subsequent pregnancies."

Epidurals, which help relieve pain during birth, along with size and position of the fetus can prolong labor and are associated with an increased need to perform C-sections. C-sections currently account for more than 30 percent of childbirths nationwide and are often perceived as benign. However, the procedure can increase the risk of infection and hemorrhage for delivering moms while also causing damage to her abdomen and urinary tract. By undergoing a surgical procedure, women generally experience a longer recovery time, and potential complications from anesthesia, which can increase health care costs.

The ability to change a woman's position during labor is associated with multiple benefits that include decreased labor time, increased circulation, fetal descent, and improved quality of contractions. But women who use an epidural are usually limited in the number and capacity to try different position changes during labor.

The nurse-led randomized, controlled trial conducted at the nonprofit hospital in Phoenix examined differences in groups who used the peanut ball and those who did not, including decreased length of labor and increased rate of vaginal birth. The study findings suggest that labor is enhanced by optimally positioning the fetus to increase the pelvic diameter and allow more room for fetal descent.

Women using the peanut ball had a significantly shorter labor period during the first and second stages. Additionally, 21 percent of women assigned to the control group required cesarean surgery compared to only 10 percent of women who used the peanut ball.

"Organizations have begun assuming responsibility for limiting elective procedures, especially C-sections, recognizing that the best outcomes overall for both mother and child occur in facilities with cesarean surgery rates in the 5-10% range," said Emily Botsios, BSN, RN, an author of the study and clinical nurse at Banner Health. "Our findings show that mothers can ask for a risk-free option to help promote labor when receiving an epidural. Based on the success of the study, we have implemented use of the peanut ball in all and delivery units across Banner Health."

Explore further: AAFP advocates for planned vaginal birth after cesarean

Related Stories

AAFP advocates for planned vaginal birth after cesarean

January 28, 2015
(HealthDay)—A planned labor and vaginal birth after cesarean (LAC/VBAC) is an appropriate option for most women with a history of prior cesarean birth, according to a clinical practice guideline published in the January/February ...

The effect of expanded midwifery on cesarean delivery

February 2, 2015
In a study to be presented on Feb. 5 in an oral plenary session at 8 a.m. PST, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in San Diego, researchers will report that changes to the ...

Fewer attempted labors drive increase in cesarean rate

December 4, 2013
(HealthDay)—Increases in the primary cesarean delivery rate appear to be driven by changes in rates of attempted labor as well as changes in rates of labor success, according to research published in the December issue ...

Fetal decent and maternal feedback substantially shortens second stage labor

February 2, 2015
In a study to be presented on Feb. 5 in an oral concurrent session at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in San Diego, researchers will report that the use of a system that provides ...

Study finds pregnant women with prior cesarean choose the delivery method preferred by their doctor

February 9, 2012
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in Dallas, Texas, researchers will report findings that women who have undergone one prior delivery via ...

Review: Physical activity in pregnancy cuts cesarean risk

October 8, 2014
(HealthDay)—Physical activity in pregnancy is associated with a reduction in the risk of cesarean delivery, according to a review published in the October issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Recommended for you

Transgender women can breastfeed, first case study shows

February 16, 2018
The first scientific case study has been published describing how a US transgender woman was able to breastfeed her adopted infant by taking hormones that induce lactation.

Controversial pregnancy test drug shows deformities in zebrafish embryos within hours of exposure

February 13, 2018
The components of a controversial drug, allegedly linked to birth defects in the 1960s and '70s, caused deformations to fish embryos just hours after they received a dose in new studies by researchers at the University of ...

Direct link between glands and implanting embryos critical to pregnancy

February 9, 2018
Researchers used 3D imaging with molecular testing to uncover new insight into the earliest stages of mammalian pregnancy—offering clues to unsolved questions in pregnancy.

Lab-grown eggs could pave way towards new fertility treatments

February 8, 2018
Human eggs have been fully grown in a laboratory, in a move that could lead to improved fertility treatments.

Ibuprofen in the first three months of pregnancy may harm future fertility of baby girls

February 2, 2018
Pregnant women who take the pain killer ibuprofen in the first 24 weeks of their pregnancy may be reducing the store of eggs in the ovaries of their daughters.

Monitoring fetal movements helps detect musculoskeletal malformations

January 24, 2018
A team of researchers with Imperial College London and Great Ormond Street Hospital, both in the U.K., has found that monitoring fetal movements in pregnant women can help in detecting fetal musculoskeletal malformations. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.