As a doula I’m constantly answering some of the most random and personal questions about childbirth, women’s health and people’s most private parts. One of the most popular questions first-time-mom’s ask is “what does labor feel like?” That is such a difficult question to answer, but the following video is the most accurate labor simulation video I’ve ever seen! While it can’t fully describe the sensation of labor, it does a good job of pinpointing where those sensations are happening and what they’re doing! In this shockingly accurate demonstration, Liz Chalmers, owner at the Puget Sound Birth Center in Kirkland, Washington, and Renton, Washington, is going to change the way you think about childbirth:
The video, which was originally uploaded to Facebook and has over 2 million views, was a teaching exercise Liz made for her niece Charlotte, who is in the process of becoming a childbirth educator in New Zealand. Liz starts by explaining she learned this demonstration from a workshop called “Stomp Out Boring Childbirth.” She inserts the ping pong ball into the balloon and inflates it halfway.
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Then she uses her hands to demonstrate the difference between real contractions and Braxton Hicks contractions. Braxton Hicks are contractions that don’t do much (which is easily showcased with this object lesson) and real contractions help move the ping pong ball down and out. “Real contractions happen at the top of the uterus. That’s where the power of contractions happens. The muscle fibers at the top getting shorter and thicker which squeeze the top and pull up on the side of the uterus” teaches Liz.
Braxton Hicks tend to squeeze the uterus in general, while actually contractions can be felt more in the top and back of the uterus. She also explains effacement and dilation better than any book ever could, by squeezing the balloon the same way actual contractions do, showing how the cervix works. This video is such a good visual for women to understand that just because dilation isn’t happening doesn’t mean progression isn’t happening and dilation isn’t necessarily the best measure to validate labor.
Finally the balloon “delivers” the ping pong ball. How cool is that??! I’m absolutely amazed at how a balloon and a ping pong ball can so easily show the principles of dilation and effacement. I’ve never seen anything this visually effective!
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