Woman effectively demonstrates how childbirth works using a balloon and pingpong ball
This simple but clever child birth demonstration can truly put anxious mums-to-be at ease. Watch it below!
In a viral video that’s been viewed more than 2.8 million times, a woman brilliantly delivered a child birth demonstration in a simple but effective way. What was so special about it? She explained it using just a balloon and a ping pong ball.
Child birth educator Liz Chalmers simply wanted to shoot a child birth demonstration for her niece who was training to teach child birth classes.
Child birth demonstration: How giving birth works, simplified
Before the demonstration, Chalmers slipped the ping pong ball into the balloon by making sure her fingers are all the way down in the deflated balloon. Then she retracted it outward.
In the video, the pink balloon represents the uterus, while the ping pong ball represents the baby.
Step 1: Early Labour
Once the ping pong ball is inside, Chalmers inflates the balloon halfway to demonstrate how the uterus has grown.
“Then, you can let that ping pong ball settle into the neck of the balloon. Sometimes, giving the neck a little tug really helps. Then, you can let go of it,” she instructs. “And it’ll stay inflated.”
Step 2: Braxton-Hicks contractions
Then she proceeds to squeeze the sides of the balloons gently.
“Not much is happening to the neck of the balloon and it’s not opening very much. These are the Braxton-Hicks contractions that are just ‘practice contractions,'” she explains, “that are more and more common towards the end of pregnancy. But they don’t do all that much to what happens to the cervix.”
Step 3: Active Labour
She then moves her hands to the top of the balloon.
“Real contractions happen at the top of the uterus. That’s where the power of contractions happen,” she says as the “labor” starts.
“It’s the muscle fibres here getting shorter and thicker, which squeeze at the top and pull up at the side of the uterus here,” she goes on.
Step 4: Transition phase
After squeezing and letting go, she demonstrates how “effacement,” or the thinning of the cervix (or the balloon’s neck), starts to happen.
“Not much dilation is happening, while we’re still working on shortening the cervix…” she continues, while turning the balloon’s opening towards the camera.
“This is a lot of the work that goes into early labour,”she adds. “It’s mostly about shortening and less about dilation.”
Step 5: Birth
Once we get to the point where the cervix is much more effaced and thin, then we’re going to start dilating.
As labour progresses, the mum is usually told to push gently, and that the cervix is stretching beautifully.
Chalmers then proceeds to squeeze the balloon until we see the pingpong ball “crowning” in the opening. Then it finally pops out!
Does this viral child birth demonstration accurately depict labour?
Aside from the praise she got from netizens, doctors also approve of the method.
“This is a great way to explain anatomically how the uterus plays a role in the delivery process and how the cervix dilates,” says Dr. Jessica Shepherd, an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine.
Though she understood why millions were fascinated by the video, she clarified that the cervix dilates better and “with more grace.”
“The whole aspect of childbirth is so magical and mystical that unless you’re there to see it or have gone to medical school, you don’t know all the mechanics of the cervix and uterus,” continues Dr. Shepherd.
It also helps mums-to-be accurately visualise their own anatomy. Take for instance, the cervix. Some women can’t exactly picture how their cervix works, but it is an integral part of childbirth.
Chalmers appreciated the comments saying they found the video helpful and educational, but she refused to take all the credit because she learned it in a past workshop she attended called Stomp Out Boring Childbirth Classes.
“Birth is one of our superpowers,” she tells SELF, “with good support from people with kind voices, it’s not work you need to be afraid of.”