Are you dreading your time of delivery?
This could be your first, second, third, or more time of pregnancy and the pain that comes with labor is excruciating.
Even though labor can be stressful, the journey of pregnancy can also be fulfilling.
To put enjoyment in your pregnancy and reduce labor pain, here in this article, you will find 11 safe pregnancy ball exercises.
Recent research has shown that ball exercises can also have a number of other benefits for pregnant women. For example, one study found that ball exercises can help to reduce the risk of preterm birth.
Another study found that ball exercises can help to improve labor outcomes, such as the length of labor and the need for pain medication.
Not to mention staying active during pregnancy helps improve your hip stability.
Continue reading to learn about the different kinds of exercises you can do with a birthing ball, safety tips on using the ball during pregnancy, and the ideal size for you.
Does the size of the birthing ball matter?
Of course, it does!
The ball’s size is influenced by your height.
Your feet should really touch the floor when you sit on it.
If a ball is too big or small then your posture will be affected giving you a reverse effect.
So, before you buy a birthing ball, check the size you need which depends on your height:
|Your height||Ball Size (Centimeters)|
|Less than 5’2”||45cm|
|5’2” – 5’8”||55cm|
|5’9” – 6’3”||65cm|
Also, check that the birthing ball can withstand 300 kg of weight and undergo pressure testing.
In any event, keep these birthing balls away from sharp objects, rough surfaces, and direct heat sources like stoves, heaters, radiators, and blowers.
What are the safety tips for using a birthing ball during pregnancy?
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind before using a birthing ball during pregnancy:
1. Make sure that the size you choose corresponds to your height. One size does not fit all when it comes to birthing balls, so getting the proper size is crucial.
2. Ensure your birthing ball is thicker than the typical workout ball.
3. Hold the ball before sitting down on it steadily with both of your hands.
4. As much as you can, wear non-slip socks to give you greater control while seated and prevent you from slipping about.
5. Have a buddy or partner assist you when you first use a birthing ball.
6. Instead of a hard surface, use your birthing ball on the carpet.
7. Regularly check your ball for leaks to ensure that it won’t collapse or lose too much air. You have a pump in your kit, so be sure to pay attention to how much air is in your ball.
8. You want your ball to have a little bounce, so don’t overinflate it. Because of this, sitting on it is considerably more pleasant.
Read on to learn how to work out effectively with your new birthing ball!
An Ultimate List Of 11 Ball Exercises During Pregnancy To Ease Your Body Pain
As with any workout program during pregnancy, begin slowly and build up.
Know that your exercises will change during the duration of your pregnancy because of morning sickness, fluctuating energy levels, or pain.
A birthing ball tests your equilibrium so make sure you are steady through your ball exercises and avoid falling to protect your baby.
No exercise without both your feet on the floor is suggested as there could be a risk of falling.
If you have any severe pain or dizziness then stop right away, do not overextend yourself.
Let us now dive into the different kinds of exercises that can be done with a birthing ball:
1. Wall ball push-ups
- Hold your pregnancy ball at arm’s length and at chest height while standing in front of a wall.
- Pressing the ball against the wall requires you to spread your arms just wider than your shoulders.
- Keep your feet firmly on the ground and your body straight.
- Take a breath in and lean into the ball, bending your elbows slightly as you press your chest against the ball.
- As you exhale, gently push the ball aside.
- Put your body back in the beginning posture by straightening your elbows.
- Feel the tension dissolve in your abdominals, glutes, and quads.
Repetition is key, so work within your body’s constraints.
2. Hula hoop
- Place your feet firmly on your ball and sit up straight.
- Make broad, leisurely, circular hip motions in the style of a hula dancer by placing your hands on your hips.
- Start by going clockwise and then counterclockwise.
- Try this practice in sets of ten as well.
Your balance will be improved and maintained as a result of this activity as your body adapts to the growing baby.
3. Ab crunches
- Place your feet immediately in front of your knees while sitting upright on an exercise ball.
- Up until your lower back reaches the ball, keep taking little steps.
- Your arms should be at an angle with your hips lower than your shoulders, your feet should remain flat on the ground, and your knees should be bent.
- Lift your head, arms, and shoulders up and forward while placing your hands behind your head and contracting your abs toward your spine.
- To prevent the ball from slipping out from beneath you, place it on a non-slip surface or up against a wall. If you experience any pain, please stop.
4. Do Pelvic tilts
Your pelvic bones move apart and split during vaginal birth to make room for your baby’s head.
Exercises involving the pelvic tilt could help keep the joints flexible.
- Bend your knees while lying on your back with your feet flat on the ground.
- Lift the pelvis gradually until it is parallel to your body.
- Return to your starting position after a 10-second hold, then repeat numerous times.
5. Wall Squat
- Squat against a wall while standing with the ball between your back and the wall.
- As you stoop down and crouch down, push on the ball with your hands.
- Along with you, the ball will roll down the wall.
- To get back to the beginning position, straighten your legs.
- Repeat a few times, then relax before performing another set.
6. Cat Stretch
- Place your hands on top of the ball as you hold it out in front of you while kneeling on the ground.
- Slowly place your head between your arms in a cat-like position.
- Hold an arch in your lower back for 30 seconds.
- Keep doing this until you start to feel the tension releasing.
7. Take the butterfly position
- Sit upright on the floor, bring the soles of your feet together, and bend your knees to achieve the butterfly posture.
- To experience a stretch in your hips and inner thighs, bring your feet closer to your torso.
- Remember to breathe into it as well.
8. Ball march
- Put your feet firmly on the ground and sit on the ball.
- As you slowly raise one leg without allowing the ball or your hips to move, exhale while pulling your belly button toward your spine.
- Repeat on the opposite side, putting your foot down slowly this time.
- Continually switch sides for 10 repetitions and remember to breathe!
If this is too hard, you can merely raise up your heel and maintain your toes on the ground.
9. The birthing ball hug
- While on your knees on the ground, place the ball in front of you.
- Separate your knees to a shoulder’s breadth.
- Rock your lower body back and forth while leaning forward and hugging the ball to your chest.
Doing this, especially during labor, helps to relieve stress in your back and lower hips and lets you shift your weight onto the ball for some relaxation.
10. Child’s pose with the ball
- Kneel with your legs hip-width apart in front of the pregnant ball.
- Roll the ball away from you using both hands.
- Lean forward and droop your head between your arms.
- Extend your glutes.
- Deep breathing and relaxation are key; when you exhale, allow yourself to descend.
- Feel the relief on your back, shoulders, neck, and chest as you hold for as long as is comfortable.
11 Side-to-side hips
- Keep your knees higher than your ankles while you sit on the pregnant ball.
- Your hips should move from side to side.
- As you go from left to right, transfer your weight via your glutes.
- Feel the stress releasing.
- Change the direction.
- Repeat the motion as often as required or until you start to feel weary.
What are the benefits of using a birthing ball?
Here are a few advantages of utilizing a birthing ball:
- Enhances your mobility and relieves back pain
- Reduces the strain on your spine
- Can shorten your labor length and lessen labor pain
- Aids in releasing the pelvic muscle
- Helps in maintaining your upright posture, which helps the baby descend effectively using gravity
- Eases anxiety and contraction pain
- Helps correct the baby’s position
- Stimulates blood flow to your pelvic region, which includes the uterus and placenta
- Provides counterpressure to your thighs and perineum
- Gives good knee and ankle support
Can you use the birthing ball during labor?
If you have been using a birthing ball during your pregnancy and feel secure using it, then you can also use it during your labor for assistance.
Using a birthing ball will help ease the pain of your contractions during labor where you can sway and rock with the rhythm of your contractions.
It can also help keep you upright for gravity to do its thing.
Not to mention your pelvis could become more open when seated on the ball with your legs spread apart making you ready for birth.
Should you use a gym ball as a substitute for a birthing ball?
Well, you could but it is not recommended because you won’t benefit from the same flexibility that a birthing ball has.
They both are visually similar and function the same but the difference is that exercise/gym balls are manufactured from thinner materials than birthing balls.
It will be challenging to sit on an exercise ball as the ball won’t be able to maintain the balance of 2- you and your unborn child!
Not to mention that the ball could burst from the extra weight.
Birthing balls are designed to carry extra weight and are made from anti-burst materials
FAQs about Ball Exercises During Pregnancy
Q1: Are ball exercises safe during pregnancy?
A1: Yes, ball exercises can be safe during pregnancy, provided you follow proper guidelines and consult your healthcare provider. Using an exercise ball, also known as a birthing ball or stability ball, can help improve posture, strengthen muscles, and ease discomfort.
Q2: What are the benefits of ball exercises during pregnancy?
A2: Ball exercises can help relieve back pain, improve pelvic alignment, and strengthen the core and leg muscles. They also encourage proper posture and balance, which can be beneficial as your body changes during pregnancy.
Q3: When is the best time to start ball exercises during pregnancy?
A3: You can start ball exercises at any point in your pregnancy, but it’s recommended to begin during the second trimester. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise routine.
Q4: What size exercise ball should I use?
A4: Choose a ball size that allows you to sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle. Generally, a ball with a diameter of 55-65 cm is suitable for most pregnant women.
Q5: Can ball exercises induce labor?
A5: There is no strong evidence to suggest that ball exercises directly induce labor. However, using a birthing ball in the later stages of pregnancy might help encourage optimal fetal positioning, which could potentially ease the labor process.
Q6: How often should I do ball exercises during pregnancy?
A6: Aim for at least 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Listen to your body and don’t overexert yourself. If you’re new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase intensity.
Q7: Are there any precautions I should take?
A7: Always prioritize your safety. Avoid exercises that strain your abdomen, and if you experience dizziness, shortness of breath, or any discomfort, stop immediately. Stay hydrated and use the ball on a nonslip surface.
Q8: What are some safe ball exercises for pregnancy?
A8: Pelvic tilts, gentle bouncing, hip circles, and seated marches are safe and effective ball exercises. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles through Kegels can also be done using the ball.
Q9: Can I do ball exercises if I have certain pregnancy complications?
A9: If you have any pregnancy-related complications, such as preterm labor, placenta issues, or gestational diabetes, consult your healthcare provider before attempting any new exercises, including ball exercises.
Q10: How can I use the ball for labor preparation?
A10: Sitting, swaying, or gently rocking on the ball can help alleviate discomfort during labor. Consult childbirth education resources to learn more about positions and movements that can aid in labor using the ball.
Ball exercises during pregnancy are a safe and effective way for pregnant women to stay active and healthy. They offer a variety of physical and mental health benefits, and they can help to improve labor outcomes.
Utilizing a birthing ball can be really comforting both before and during labor as it can lessen your pelvic pressure and aid with back pain relief.
It is vital that you consult your doctor before making any significant changes to your lifestyle, especially with regard to exercise, as is the case with many other things you could have taken for granted before becoming pregnant.
You should take additional caution to avoid overdoing any stretches or exercises if you didn’t exercise much before becoming pregnant.
Try the 11 pregnancy ball exercises on the above list only if you are confident in your coordination and balance. If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about whether ball exercises are right for you.