April 30, 2021
Series: Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators - Have a Ball - Learning about Birth and Peanut Balls
By: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE | 1 Comments
Here we are at the end of April, and virtual teaching for childbirth classes is still the norm as the world works to put this COVID pandemic behind us. With that in mind, here is another teaching idea that is very easy to do in a virtual format. This Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators is a twist on a fun idea I learned from Ildi Sebestyen, an LCCE colleague. I have taken Ildi’s in person activity and modified it to work virtually on many different online conferencing platforms. Helping families use the tools they will have at their disposal in their birth location of choice is important. This activities reinforces ideas for birth and peanut ball use during labor. You can find all the Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators for free here by following this link.
Lamaze’s second Healthy Birth Practice - “Walk, move around and change positions throughout labor” is an important message for families to master as they prepare for labor and birth. The birth ball and the peanut ball are two tools available to them at most hospitals and birth centers. For home births, their midwife or doula may bring one or both balls, or families can purchase them online. I want families to leave my class with some ideas on how to position themselves using these balls to promote both comfort and labor progress. Having fun while learning these techniques helps the info stick.
A blank copy of the birth ball and peanut ball activity template (link to download a copy can be found at the end of this article)
Online virtual meeting platform of your choice (Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or others) that allows participant annotation.
Class participants will need to access their device to start and use the annotate feature.
When to do this activity
I use this activity during my section on physiological birth as we are covering comfort and coping and position changes. I revisit the peanut ball portion when talking about an epidural, as it can help labor to move forward.
This activity can be done in 10 minutes or less.
How to conduct the activity
When we are working through the positions to try during the different phases and stages of labor, I remind participants that they can use the birth ball and peanut ball to help make them more comfortable and promote their labor progress. I share my screen and I bring up the templates below that I have placed in a google slide, though you can use Jamboard or even just open in your pdf viewer. I instruct the families to find the annotation feature in our conference platform and ask them to select draw from their annotate dashboard and each “grab a ball” and draw someone in labor using the ball. No judgement on the drawings, just get it down! After they are done and we have discussed the results, I grab a screen shot and send it out after class so they have it for future reference.
Modifications you can make
There are several ways to do this activity, depending on the size of your class. If the class is large, you will want to put these templates into Jamboard with several pages of the same drawing, so everyone gets a chance to draw some little figures. Just assign them to different “frames” so not everyone is working on the same one. Alternately, you can divide them into breakout rooms and have them work in small groups to complete a sheet together, with the bonus of building community at the same time.
Birth balls and peanut balls are effective and handy tools to use during labor and birth. While teaching virtually, having families do the drawings themselves to remind them and reinforce the different ways they can use the balls is an easy way to make sure they can recall the information when they need it most - during their labor.
Would you be willing to try this activity in your virtual class? What changes might you make?