A pregnancy exercise ball is a great way for pregnant women to get relief from back pain, anxiety, discomfort during pregnancy. You might have seen gym exercise balls, which are very similar! A pregnancy exercise ball can be used in pregnancy, labor, and at the time of delivery.
As a mama-to-be, you can have a relaxing time with these bouncing balls while maintaining your body posture and also strengthening your muscles.
Let’s learn how a pregnancy exercise ball can help you!
What is a Pregnancy Exercise Ball?
A pregnancy exercise ball, also called a birthing ball, is a big comforting ball filled with air that usually has anti-slip durable material on the outside. This ball is large for sitting and extremely difficult to puncture, which is why it’s recommended for pregnant women to sit on for exercising, labor, and delivery. It’s also a better option to improve posture because of the positioning.
If you are pregnant and having a difficult time working or watching your favorite season, the birthing ball is an excellent option for you. It will help you strengthen your abdominal muscles and protect your pelvis and back from the pressure.
Most pregnancy exercise balls are round, which gives a vast area to comfortably sit while some are peanut-shaped, narrow at the middle, and larger on the ends. The latter is called a peanut ball, which gives the extra benefit of lying down on the bed, but the regular round ball is just for exercise or sitting.
How to Pick the Right Pregnancy Exercise Ball for You
You must pick the right pregnancy ball according to your weight and height. There are different sizes that you can select from, keeping your body type in mind. If you are taller, a ball that is wider and more inflated will suit you. For fitting purposes, it is important to make sure your knees and hips are at the correct angle when you sit on it.
Here are some general guidelines for choosing the right pregnancy exercise ball:
Average height: About 5’-5’10”- pick the ball that is 65cm in diameter
Tall height: Taller than 5’11” – pick the ball that is 75cm in diameter.
When you choose a birthing ball, make sure it is an “anti-burst ball,” which means that if it gets punctured, the pressure is slowly released from the ball rather than popping like a balloon. This is especially important if you have other kids around to prevent any injuries.
Birthing Ball and Pregnancy
The most common complaint of any expecting mama is lower back pain. Sitting and exercising on a pregnancy ball may give you significant relief from the pain. It will strengthen your stomach, improve your posture, muscles, and will also prepare your body for labor and delivery.
It can also help to change the position of your baby in the womb. If your baby is in a back to back position, you can try a leaning position to switch the position of your baby. Take a leaning position on the ball and get on your knees. It may encourage the baby’s back to swing forward and take a different position, ideal for labor. The baby may be head down and their back towards the front of your tummy. This is called the occipito-anterior position. It allows them to move more easily in the pelvis.
As your pregnancy belly grows, the ball will help give you extra support. You can practice some pregnancy exercises to keep your body warmed-up and active.
Here are a couple of exercises:
- Balance on the ball and gently rock your bottom from side to side. Try to rotate your hips and alter the direction from clockwise to counterclockwise.
- You can also do gentle push-ups using your ball. Press the ball with arms against the wall keeping your body straight and slowly press your chest into the ball while bending your elbows. Then slowly reverse the press action until you are upright.
- If you’re looking for more exercises while pregnant, read this popular post on 5 Pregnancy Exercises for an Easy Labor and Delivery
Using a Pregnancy Exercise Ball in Labor and Delivery
A pregnancy exercise ball has many benefits for helping you stay fit and active in pregnancy. Similarly, it can also help in labor, delivery, and even after the birth of your baby. You’ll want to find a comfortable position during labor through delivery that helps you maintain your stamina. A pregnancy ball can help you do just that while providing relief to your muscles while stretching on the ball.
Try different positions with the ball to relieve back pain and pressure during labor.
- Position 1: You can sit with legs stretched far apart on the ball and rock your pelvis back and forth or side to side. You can also try a kneeling position on the ball during labor. Place a soft pillow or cushion under your knees and lean on your ball, with your knees on the floor. It may help to shorten labor and reduce the pain of contractions.
- Position 2: If you want a more comfortable and relaxing position, go into a hands and knees position while hugging the pregnancy ball firmly. Keep a pillow under your knees and lift your bottom and rock your pelvis from side to side. This position will take some pressure off your pelvis.
- Position 3: Some women find it easier to be in a standing position during labor and lean over the birthing ball. You can place the ball on a solid surface and lean over it during contractions. In this position, your partner can even massage or apply pressure to your back.
Can I Use a Birthing Ball after Delivery?
Absolutely! You can use a pregnancy exercise ball after your delivery. A hard-sitting area may cause pain and discomfort after birth, especially if you have hemorrhoids and as your vaginal area heals. I wouldn’t suggest breastfeeding while sitting on the ball, as that could be tricky and you don’t want to lose your balance while holding your baby. However, you can gently sway with your baby on the ball. If you did this during your pregnancy, your baby might find it comforting as it is a familiar movement to him/her. You can reduce the pressure of the ball to make it softer.
If you’re looking for more pregnancy tips to stay healthy, read this post next – Top Pregnancy Tips for a Healthy Delivery!