Berkeley Parents Recommendations for What to Buy & Where to Buy It

Birthing Ball

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October 2001

Does anyone know where I can buy a birthing ball either in San Francisco or the East Bay? Any recommendations or experiences with a specific brand? Thanks! Sierra


There's a nice selection at "Relax the Back" stores. I found mine in Walnut Creek and they will blow it up for you. These are really just standard exercise balls and shouldn't be difficult to find. There's a massage resources store on College Ave. in Rockridge that carries them as well. Jessica
If by "birthing ball" you mean one of those big plastic balls that you can sit/squat on during labor, I have a couple of suggestions. These are sold as excercise balls in a number of different places. I went over to the back store in the center with the Orchard Supply (can't remember the name of the store, but the shopping center is more or less at the corner of Ashby and San Pablo), and checked out their range of sizes. It turned out they didn't have the size I wanted in stock. I actually ended up getting mine on sale at Hearthsong in Berkeley (the toy store on 4th street). Dawn
Call Back in Action at Ashby and San Pablo, in the same building as Orchard Supply Hardware.
Although I did not get to use mine during labor, I found it to be very useful after our daughter arrived. When I got tired of pacing around the house, rocking her in my arms, I could take a load off and sit down and still give her the motion that she craved. Holding her in my arms and sitting on the ball and gently bouncing was very calming to her and helped her fall asleep when nothing else worked. Rachel
I found a great one through a company called Spry Products (1-800-222-7774, ext. 7913; $35). It was featuring in "Fit Pregnancy" June/July 2001 issue (p. 32). It has an oblong shape and is blue, so it looks like a giant blue Robin's egg. Because of its shape, the Resist-A-Ball is easier to stay seated on. I planned to use it for my labor and put it in my birthplan, but an emergency C-section did away with that! I use it quite a bit though as a baby soother. Baby *loves* to be cuddled while mom or dad sits and bounces on the ball. An almost guaranteed cry stopper in our house. Constance
I don't know about "birthing balls" but I know that Toys R Us have excellent big, blow up rubber balls that suit the same purpose and come in 30", 40", and 50" sizes. The small one is about $10, the biggest I think is $22.99 or so. We have the smallest size, inflated to be really comfy for my 10 year-old. Heather
The Theraband Exercise Ball is great. I didn't actually use it while I was in labor, but it's invaluable for soothing a cranky baby--if we hold the baby and bounce on the ball, he quickly quiets down. And toddlers like being bounced on the ball or pushing it around. You can get one at LaFoot on College Ave. in the Elmwood. See http://www.lafoot.com/catalog/4sportsmed/theraball.htm (I got the blue one, even though I am only 62" tall. I think the size recommendations they give are for using the ball to exercise your back.) Nomi
Regarding the search for a "birthing ball". I bought an "exercise ball" from a sporting goods store (Big 5 in El Cerrito on San Pablo Ave., near Target) and it worked GREAT!!! I would highly recommend it. I barely felt my contractions when I was on it! We used it in many other ways as well (e.g. a bouncy toy for kids, a foot rest, stretching your back -- sit on the floor and lean back on it while the ball is up against a wall or something sturdy, etc.). -- Sandra Sandra
sold in Target as an excercise ball Susan
Also to the question about birth balls.They do not have to be a specific "birth ball". I usually recommend that my students go to Big 5 where the exercise balls go on sale for about $15 very regularly. The green ball is the size I usually recommend. I have also found them at the Discovery Store at Metreon in SF where they came with an exercise video geared for expectant moms and ran about $35 and at a couple of the stores on 4th street in Berkeley for about $30. Sport Mart in Emmeryville apparently has good prices as well. At Alta Bates we use the regular sports ball in the green size (the different colors represent different sizes in the sports balls but not in the fancier "birth balls") they are really wonderful prenatally and especially in labor but I have also had parents tell me how great they are after birth with a fussy baby, sitting on it and bouncing up and down really seems to settle them, it is such a buoyant movement! Jennifer
we bought a ball at the 'back store,' i think it's called, off ashby between san pablo and 6th--behind Osh hardware. it's a little hard to find--you have to go in like you're going to Osh and/or that large furniture store on san pablo to park. Jessica
you can buy it in the Discovery store on 4th st. in Berkeley (it comes in a kit with pump and exercize video) or order it online from drugstore.com Anne
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