Does this viral video perfectly sum up a “textbook” childbirth?

Liz Chalmers demonstrates birth

A viral video depicting the mechanics of a textbook birth – with some help from a balloon and a pingpong ball – is actually way more helpful than it sounds.

So simple it’s genius!

Midwife Liz Chalmers – who owns the Puget Sound Birth Center – uploaded the video to Facebook, so her niece Charlotte could see how a simple balloon and pingpong ball really do help to demonstrate how the basics of birth work. 

“I put this together for my niece Charlotte who, to my absolute delight, is working toward becoming a childbirth educator in New Zealand,” Liz posted alongside the now wildly viral clip. Her upload has now had well over 2 million views! It wasn’t just Liz’s niece who found the video helpful, it would seem.

Liz explains that she first learnt this demo technique at a birth-related workshop called “Stomp Out Boring Childbirth” and was keen to share it with parents and childbirth educators, near and far.

I put this together for my niece Charlotte who, to my absolute delight, is working toward becoming a childbirth educator in New Zealand :)(Edited to add…wow! This little video has gone much further than I ever expected. I've had several requests for a YouTube version, so I uploaded it there too.

Posted by Liz Chalmers on Thursday, 26 October 2017

Birth 101

In the clip Liz, who incidentally has the most excellent manicure we’ve seen today, proceeds to inflate the balloon and go through a really helpful explanation of what happens to a woman’s uterus – aka pink balloon – and her cervix – aka neck of pink balloon – as labour progresses. For those still catching up, the pingpong ball represents the (very small, very round) baby in this exercise.

So, let’s go through Liz’s demo, step-by-step style:

1. First, Liz stretches the entire balloon RIGHT open – not only the neck – and pops the pingpong ball inside. So far so good. Liz then blows the balloon up “about halfway”. 

2. Next, Liz positions the balloon with neck down and gives the open end a little tug to settle the pingpong ball into place at the bottom. “And then you can let go of it and it’ll stay inflated,” Liz says. And guess what? It does! Magic.

Liz then goes on to explain the mechanics of labour in more detail, using the balloon and ball to demo how things usually go (not always, we know this!)  It’s actually a genius illustration of how Braxton-Hicks and full-blown contractions impact labour, and how the cervix changes as things progress.

3. Then, finally, the ping-pong-ball baby is birthed with a popping sort of “whoosh!” much to our/Liz’s delight. If only actual labour was as jolly as this!

It’s not surprising that this clever clip has gone viral. We think this could be a great one to do with kids, if you’re expecting a baby at your place.

Thanks, Aunty Liz!

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