Our ancestresses didn’t use them. Lightweight as they are, they would have perhaps been somewhat cumbersome to carry out into the fields, where many of our ancients had their babies. I ask my mothers not to sit on them until we are absolutely certain that the baby has its head in the correct position. In fact, I prefer they don’t use them at all.
It is true that sitting in a squat-like position on a birth ball can help to open the pelvic diameter, yes – but if the head is misaligned/asynclitic/posterior – it will drop down into the larger area and quite possibly become committed to the unfavorable position. Women without balls have birthed babies over the millennia – just as babies have been successfully breastfed since the beginning of time even when their mothers, poor things, haven’t received a boppy at a baby shower.
Oh, and don’t get me talking about those horrid Bumbo chairs – pity the baby who has had to spend one waking moment in one of those – burn them (the chairs, not the babies, just in case there was any doubt)! Wait, don’t, they’re made out of plastic. Oh dear, now how are we going to get rid of all of them???
All birthing women have balls. You know what I mean. Or, as midwife Harriet Hartigan calls them, “Bold ovaries.”