Photo: Liz Chalmers
Expectant new mothers, parents of all ages and actually anyone looking for an awesome party trick—this childbirth simulation is one of the coolest things we’ve ever seen.
Let’s just say most childbirth lessons are lacking in terms of visuals. We’ve been told to picture the birth canal as everything from turtleneck sweaters (which, frankly, sometimes ruins turtlenecks for us) to the unfolding petals of a blossoming rose and the elegant flowing of blue satin ribbons. And we’re not even talking about the all-too-real videos of actual births and things you can never un-see. It’s pretty hard to find any of it helpful, much less entertaining.
Enter childbirth educator Liz Chalmers, who brilliantly demonstrates what happens during labour and childbirth by stuffing a ping pong ball (your baby) into a balloon (your uterus), blowing it up half-way and then squeezing it out with gentle “contractions” until the magic happens—with much suspense and drama.
Chalmers, an owner of the Puget Sound Birth Center in the Seattle, Washington area, created this video for her niece Charlotte, who is following in her footsteps by studying to become a childbirth educator in New Zealand.
You have to see this video, below:
The first tricky step is actually getting the ping pong ball successfully inside the deflated balloon, and once you’ve filled it up halfway, Chalmers shows us the difference between squeezing the sides of the balloon for Braxton-Hicks contractions ( a.k.a. practice contractions) and the real deal, by squeezing the top of the uterus-like balloon.
She goes on to explain how the muscle fibers at the top of the uterus get shorter and thicker, and eventually how the cervix effaces by thinning out and starting to dilate.
Most people get nervous at this part, warns Chalmers. “We always have a bit of a joke. It’s just like actual labour where you’ll be like, it’s OK, just breathe, do it gently. You’re stretching beautifully and then just give it one more push and the baby will be here—there you go!”
After the triumphant “pop!” and delivery of the ping pong ball, Chalmers says: “It’s always just an absolute riot in class.”
“Everybody laughs and has a blast with it,” she says. “And I always tell class, 'take it to your young kids,' if they already have kids and this is a refresher class. 'Show your older kids,' because they think it’s kind of funny, this is how babies come out. Or if you’re at a boring office meeting, take it along to that, too.”
We can certainly see this is as the ultimate new baby shower game.