Peanut-shaped ball helps moms deliver at Banner Health

A valley hospital is using a new device to give women in labor a much more comfortable experience, but it's not anything high-tech, it's a rubber ball.

The nurse researchers at Banner Health were the ones who figured out that a peanut-shaped exercise ball could help women.

They found that the ball not only helps mothers with epidurals deliver faster, but it reduces the chance they'll need a c-section.

Exercise balls are common in gyms, but you may find them in the delivery room. The nurses at Banner University Medical Center recently led a study showing how the ball can help moms deliver.

"We wanted to address what can we do that would be non-invasive, but could be a simple intervention that could help moms progress," said Christina Tussey, a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Banner University Medical Center.

The answer was to place the peanut-shaped ball between moms legs. Since patients with epidurals cannot get up and walk around, the ball allows them to change positions from the bed.

Annie Rossman used the ball while delivering her last two children.

"It was comfortable, I would lay on either side or just sit up. Just different positions, the idea of just opening up my pelvis and allow the baby to come down," said Rossman.

Rossman's last labor was just five hours, not a surprise to Tussey whose study showed the peanut ball reduces labor time.

"We found that we were able to take at least two hours off the time of labor, and then shorten the time of pushing," said Tussey.

Tussey said patients who used the ball in her study were 1/2 as likely to need a c-section as those who did not. Rossman said she's a fan of the funny shaped ball and lets others know about it.

"After using it I told my sister in laws, there's no reason not to use it," said Rossman.

All of Banner's Labor and Delivery units now offer patients the peanut balls, so it's something to consider if you're having a baby on the way.
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