You may be familiar with a birthing ball. They’ve popped up in birthing suites across the country. But have you heard of a peanut ball?
It’s hard for moms-to-be to keep up with all the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy. This is especially true the closer you get to your due date. When you prep for the big day it can feel like getting lost in a whirlwind.
It seems like everyone wants to weigh in on your birth plan. From yoga poses to sure-fire diets, you’re sure to hear plenty of opinions about how to make your labor as short and smooth as possible.
You are most likely familiar with traditional birthing options such as epidurals and breathing techniques. The peanut ball, however, is a relatively new birthing tool gaining popularity. The research is still out for examination, but plenty of testimonials speak to the pros of purchasing one for your delivery.
A Peanut What?
Pregnant women have known the perks of birthing balls for some time now. They can help ease labor pains and reduce the strength of contractions. This is particularly helpful if you have used one for a couple of months before you get to the delivery room.
Additionally, using a birthing ball can decrease anxiety and shorten the first stage of labor.
Why are birthing balls so helpful?
Because they help open up your pelvis during labor.
A peanut ball has the same effect. This unique peanut ball has an oblong shape with a dip in the middle, similar to a peanut shell. Now you see where the name comes from. The dip makes it more comfortable to wrap your legs around for comfort and support.
Does size matter?
Choosing the right size is essential. Peanut balls tend to be smaller than birthing balls, allowing you to comfortably open your hips instead of over-extending your leg.
Typically, there are four different sizes of peanut balls. If you are petite, you should opt for the smallest (40 centimeters) size. Women who are average height should consider the middle (50 centimeters) size. And tall women might feel more comfortable with the large (60 centimeters) peanut.
You can also choose to buy a variety pack, including two sizes, so you can find the best fit for you.
Manufacturers also offer an extra-large (70 centimeters) peanut ball, but these should only be used for sitting on or hunching over. If the ball is too big in a reclined position, it may put too much stress on the hop joint.
How can I care for it?
Be sure to buy a peanut ball that is hospital-grade quality, burst-resistant, and latex-free. Keep it away from sunlight and sharp objects.
For best results, inflate your peanut gradually over a few days at room temperature to help the ball stretch to its natural shape. They naturally lose air through their pores, so add a little air once a week to keep it sturdy. But there’s no need to deflate your ball between uses.
Avoid placing them on the floor to keep them clean and safe from sharp objects. Clean your ball by wiping it down with hospital-grade wipes.
How to Use a Peanut Ball During Labor
The peanut ball is most commonly used when mom needs to remain in bed during labor. This can be for many reasons, such as opting for an epidural or various complications that may arise.
It is often a useful tool in the birthing suite simply because mom is exhausted and needs a break to recharge.
The curve of the ball works in tandem with your body’s natural hormones to encourage your body to relax, while simultaneously helping to enhance dilation or fix infant positioning.
Many doulas have noted that using a ball like this helps women reach full dilation when other techniques feel like the process has stagnated.
In fact, a few studies suggest that using a peanut ball during labor can shorten the first stage by 90 minutes. They also report that the peanut ball as a labor tool can cut the second stage in half.
Specialists do recommend, however, that you practice with the peanut ball in advance to feel comfortable with it while in labor. Try rolling a towel under the end of your peanut ball to keep it from slipping and help you comfortably settle into position.
There are a few positions you can try to assist with your labor or help you find a moment of rest. Try switching from one side to the other every hour or two, though some women prefer to change as often as every 20 minutes.
While resting in a semi-reclined position in her bed, mom will sit with one leg draped over the peanut ball and the other leg resting alongside. Push the ball as close to her hips as she can tolerate, but be sure not to put too much stress on them.
Many women feel this position promotes dilation.
In this variation, mom lays on her side. The peanut ball is used to lift the upper leg and open the pelvis. The curve of the ball allows mom to comfortably hook her leg around the ball to keep from sliding off.
A lot of women find this position relieves enough pressure to allow them brief naps during extended labor.
Other Clever Ways to Use Your Peanut Ball
If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should invest in one, you should know that there are many other uses for these tools outside the delivery room. So you may feel like you’re getting your money’s worth more if you have a secondary use for your peanut ball.
The peanut ball is the perfect addition to your playroom. It’s stable design naturally makes them a safe toy for your little ones.
Playing with it helps a child build better balance and gross motor skills. They can be useful tools for kids with developmental delays, low muscle tone, or sensory seeking behaviors.
When your baby is ready to be mobile, there are plenty of infant exercises you can do together to get them moving along. Various movements can promote stronger neck muscles, improve hand-eye coordination, and encourage baby to walk.
We all know the importance of tummy time for our infants to improve motor skills as well as strengthen neck and head muscles. At the same time, we know not all babies are keen on participating in tummy time. Incorporating one can make the exercise more playful.
Carefully place your baby belly down on top of the peanut ball and hold on. Then slowly roll baby back and forth, allowing it to do most of the work. This movement will help encourage them to hold up their necks and heads.
Toddlers and grade-schoolers
There are many games you can play with your child to incorporate a little core-building exercise into playtime while still keeping it fun. She can lay with her stomach on the ball and use her arms to walk out forward while the ball rolls under her feet. Similarly, she can do the opposite by laying on her back and reaching her arms out behind her head.
Two children can play together by sitting back to back on the ball. They can take turns crossing the midline by passing an object back and forth around in circles. Have them reverse the circle to maximize the results.
Not to mention all of the imaginative ways kids will come up with when including this toy in their play. They’ll take off in a rocket or ride their horse into the sunset. Or perhaps they’ll simply throw it up in the air, intrigued to see which way it’s unusual shape will send the peanut ball bouncing.
Fitness and rehab
Like other exercise tools, it has a multitude of potential benefits when trying to get your body into shape. It can also be incorporated in therapy sessions aimed at improving balance and coordination, strength, and gross motor skills.
Many people are already incorporating an exercise ball into their daily routines. However, the peanut ball may offer more stability and support for those that find the round ball too challenging.
This is particularly true for young children. It allows users to harness the benefits of a ball in exercise and therapy in a less-intimidating nature. Then they can focus on building confidence as well as motor skills, balance, and core strength.
Balance and core strength
Improve your balance by sitting on the ball or lying on the ball and holding yourself in position. Try lifting your arms or legs to increase the difficulty.
Sitting on a peanut ball forces you to focus your movement to steady the ball, working your abs, and building your core strength. You can also try lying with the ball under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Walk your hands out in front of you, allowing your legs to roll it.
Muscle toning and strength training
Incorporating a peanut ball would be beneficial for people who are a novice, looking to tone muscles, or are attempting to regain strength. Similarly, using a peanut ball would be helpful during physical therapy for an injury.
By gradually introducing increased weight-bearing activities throughout your workout regime, you will be able to improve muscle tone and strength. You can use other tools such as light weights and therapy bands to maximize your time toning with your peanut ball.
The peanut ball is can also be a useful tool to incorporate into ball therapy sessions for children and teens. It allows them to burn off the extra energy and wiggles while giving them more stability and support than a traditional therapy ball.
You can use various activities to build coordination and motor skills, improve cognitive abilities, encourage cooperation, and build strength.
Holding steady on the ball helps kids learn how to focus on an activity and attend to a task. Sensory activities with the ball, such as applying deep pressure, enable children to find coping mechanisms to calm.
How We Reviewed Each Peanut Ball
The peanut ball is a relatively new tool, both for labor and therapy or exercise. Currently, there isn’t much research available. Though the available research is promising.
A recent study concluded that birthing balls could be a useful tool for easing pain during labor. Another small 2015 study showed that fewer women who had had an epidural needed a cesarean delivery after using one.
Though initial research is promising, we need more extensive studies to prove the benefits of the peanut ball.
Since there is little research available on the peanut ball, it should come as no surprise that there are also limited reviews. We found many anecdotal blogs from doulas and other health practitioners who rave about the results of using one during labor or as a therapy tool.
When it comes down to reviewing each ball listed below, we turned to the comments of Amazon and eBay to see what consumers had to say. We also compared ratings of various products to bring you the list of the top peanut balls on the market today.
Peanut Ball Review: 8 Best
Here’s our list of the best peanut balls out there today.
When purchasing remember to get the right size for your height. You work too hard to spend your money on the wrong product.
1. Milliard Peanut Ball Orange
This orange Millard peanut ball is the smallest in their fleet. It measures at 60 centimeters long with a diameter of 30 centimeters (about 23 inches by 12 inches).
Millard boasts non-toxic, anti-burst rubber, making it suitable for any delivery suite, playroom, or therapy office. This orange peanut pall also features non-slip grip ridges, meaning you’ll get better traction on any surface.
This size peanut ball has universal uses. You can use it in the gym or the birthing center. It’s suitable for playtime or therapy, and even useful for training small dogs.
2. Black Mountain Products Peanut Stability Ball
The Black Mountain peanut ball has dense walls to provide ultimate support and durability. They claim their balls are weight-rated up to 2,000 pounds. Plus they offer a full lifetime warranty on all their products should something go wrong.
This peanut ball measures 14 inches round in the center and 32 inches on either end. It comes in two different colors. As an added bonus you get an easy-to-use foot pump to inflate upon arrival.
3. Gymnic Physio-Roll Ball
While most of the other peanut balls weigh in just under 2 pounds, the Gymnic Physio-Roll Ball is significantly heavier at 5 pounds. That weight comes from the durable rubber designed to be burst-proof.
Another issue is that this ball needs a powerful electric pump or compressor to be filled as opposed to a regular foot pump.
4. Gaiam Kids Peanut Balance Ball
The Gaiam Kids Peanut Balance Ball is another petite size on our list. It measures 50 centimeters by 100 centimeters (approximately 20 inches by 39 inches). It’s also bright orange, which signifies its small size.
Consumers appreciate that smaller balls can serve multiple purposes, especially providing entertainment and exercise options for their kiddoes. The ribbed edges help this peanut ball stay in place even with the roughest of roughhousing.
5. Milliard Peanut Ball Variety Pack
If you’re unsure which size would suit you, consider this variety pack. Millard has combined the two smallest balls (and most popular sizes) they offer into one package.
Not only do you get the small 60-centimeter by 30-centimeter (23-inch by 12-inch) orange peanut ball, but you also get the 80-centimeter by 40-centimeter (31-inch by 15-inch) blue ball.
Though you may practice many times with your peanut ball at home before the big day, once you’re in the delivery room things may not feel the same. Having the option between the two sizes means you’re more likely to find that comfortable sweet spot to help ease you through labor.
Having two balls also gives your little ones more room for play and imagination. You can also accommodate your child’s therapy needs as they continue to grow and develop.
6. HnjPama Peanut Ball
The HnjPama peanut ball is made with high-quality PVC. The manufacturer claims they build their ball with anti-burst technology that’s passed 15,000 hours of compression tests. Therefore they promise you a long life span of this tool and safety for the entire family.
Like many PVC products, there may be a smell associated with the new ball. HnjPama assures its customers that this peanut ball is non- toxic and non-irritating. To get rid of the odor, wash the ball in warm water upon arrival, soaking it for at least 10 minutes.
Another added perk is that this peanut ball comes with a hand pump. Fill the ball halfway; wait 12 hours and fill until it is fully expanded.
7. Bintiva Peanut Ball
This purple Bintiva peanut ball measures 40 centimeters by 80 centimeters (about 15.5 inches by 31.5 inches). It is similar in size to a standard peanut ball. Bintiva has included a foot pump to assist with inflation.
The good news, however, is that Binitiva offers a manufacturer’s warranty on all of their products.
8.Wekin Peanut Ball
Wekin built their peanut ball with an extra thick material, designed to be burst-proof. They claim the ball is 200 grams (nearly half a pound) heavier than their competitors, meaning they are built to stand even the roughest use.
They’ve included a foot pump with your purchase, so you can start benefitting from your ball the moment it arrives. This purple ball measures 50 centimeters by 100 centimeters (19.5 inches by 40 inches). That means it’s a good fit for taller women and bigger kids.
One More Word About Your Peanut Ball
We’re no doctors, merely enthusiasts about helpful labor tools. Curious about using a peanut ball during your delivery? Then talk to your doctor about the benefits and possible risks.
You should also confirm whether your health care providers will have a peanut ball available in the birthing suite, or if you should invest in your own.
Thus far, the research is promising. More women are singing the praises of the peanut ball in the delivery room. And parents seem pleased with their results when peanut balls are used as therapy balls for their children.
Do you agree? How has using a peanut ball helped you out? Let us know in the comments below.