After reading the results of a study done at Banner Hospital system in Arizona describing decreased length of labor and decreased cesarean rate in women using the Isokinetics peanut ball, I invested in a bright orange one, 50 centimeters, that fits nicely in the back seat, and I bring it to all my births.
My anecdotal findings concur with the Arizona study. It's been intriguing and encouraging to see several first-time mothers have productive, relatively quick second stages of labor. One woman with an epidural was on her way for an urgent cesarean due to fetal distress. Her obstetrician suggested she try some pushing even though her baby was “high” while they were organizing the surgical team. The woman's pushing was so effective the baby was born before the team was ready! Another woman with an epidural discovered very quickly how to push effectively, and had a short thirty-minute second stage. And my final anecdote: a first-time mother without an epidural calmly gave birth to her nine-pound baby using a birth stool with a short, twenty-minute second stage. All had used the peanut ball during labor.
I continue to see positive outcomes with women who use this ball during labor and enjoy hearing comments from experienced nurses, midwives and obstetricians on the ease of the pushing stage of labor for these women. Given the interest in reducing cesarean rates nationwide, it makes sense that hospitals and birth centers would have these balls routinely available to all pregnant women.