'Accurate' birth video using balloon and ping pong ball goes viral

This birth video is going viral thanks to it’s realistic depiction of childbirth [Photo: Facebook/Liz Chalmers]
This birth video is going viral thanks to it’s realistic depiction of childbirth [Photo: Facebook/Liz Chalmers]

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

Despite our addiction to ‘One born every minute’, which is sometimes a little on the ‘realistic’ side, when it comes to knowing exactly what’s actually happening during the birth process, we’re a little in the dark.

Women are too busy concentrating on actually doing it to see what’s going on down-there (plus most don’t take a mirror into the birthing suite) and partners are too busy trying not to freak out!

Which is what makes this birth video so incredibly important.

Liz Chalmers, a super experienced midwife and owner of the Puget Sound Birth Center in Seattle originally made the video for her niece who is studying to be a birthing instructor in New Zealand.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 re-enact childbirth, Liz is able to demonstrate what contractions, a uterus expansion and vaginal crowning actually look like in order to put expectant mothers at ease.

In the video, Liz inserts the ping pong ball into the pink balloon, and 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.

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

She goes on to say that “real contractions” take place higher up the uterus, where fluctuating muscles pull on the uterus walls.

The midwife is able to mimic these contractions by squeezing the top of the balloon repeatedly until the ping pong ball ‘crowns’(during birth this is when the baby’s head starts to show) and eventually pops out, simulating the birth of a new born baby.

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

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

The explanatory approach clearly resonated with mums and dads to be – as many went online to praise the midwife for the ‘realistic’ depiction, despite only using a couple of homemade 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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