'Accurate' birth video using balloon and Ping-Pong ball goes viral

This birth video is going viral thanks to its realistic depiction of childbirth. (Photo: Facebook/Liz Chalmers)

A birth video featuring a balloon is going viral thanks to its uncanny accuracy about the labor process.

When it comes to knowing exactly what’s happening during birth, we’re a little in the dark. Women in labor are generally too busy concentrating on doing the work to focus on what’s going on down-there (most don’t take a mirror into the birthing suite), and partners are often too busy trying not to freak out.

Which is what makes this birthing video so incredibly important.

Liz Chalmers, an experienced midwife and owner of the Puget Sound Birth Center in Seattle, originally made the video for her niece, who is studying to be a birthing instructor in New Zealand.

Using just a balloon and a Ping-Pong ball to reenact childbirth, Chalmers is able to demonstrate what contractions, uterine expansion, and vaginal crowning really look like, in order to put expectant mothers at ease.

In the video, Chalmers inserts the ball into the pink balloon. She then inflates the balloon, letting the ball fall, then settle, into the neck. Next, she gently squeezes the balloon, explaining that this is to simulate contractions.

“If you just squeeze the sides of balloon like this, not much is happening here to the neck of the balloon, and it’s not opening very much,” she says.

Because no air is let out of the balloon, Chalmers explains, this demonstrates that contractions do little to help open the cervix.

She continues that “real contractions” take place higher up in the uterus, where fluctuating muscles pull on the uterine walls.

The midwife is able to mimic these contractions by squeezing the top of the balloon repeatedly until the Ping-Pong ball “crowns” (when the baby’s head starts to show) and eventually pops out, simulating birth.

Certainly, childbirth isn’t that easy, but the video is a great way for expecting parents to understand a bit more about how it works.

After posting to Facebook, the video quickly went viral with more than 2.5 million views, 25,000 shares, and 10,000 likes. Chalmers has since posted a version on YouTube.

The explanatory approach clearly has resonated with parents-to-be, many of whom went online to praise Chalmers for the realistic depiction despite using only a couple of props.

“What a brilliant way to visually explain dilation!” one user wrote.

“This is BRILLIANT!!! How has this not been used before? Thank you, thank you….It does an amazing visual for ‘what happens to the cervix?’”

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