Pregnancy is a journey. Every new stage brings many changes to an expecting mom both mentally and physically. Any chance to provide comfort and relief from symptoms is very appreciated. Enter the Birthing Ball! A birthing ball (or yoga/exercise ball) is an excellent tool to have at home or the office for any pregnant mama.
Whether using a birth ball at your work desk, at home, for gentle exercise or during labour and deliver, make sure you choose the right size for you. Not all birthing balls are the same - they come in three main sizes according to your height. When you sit on it, your hips should always be around 4 inches higher than your knees. If you are up to 165cm tall, a 55cm ball is recommended; up to 173cm, 65cm ball and if you’re over 173cm, you’ll need a 75cm ball. Ensure you buy one with an ‘anti-burst’ feature.
Below are four reasons why using a exercise (birth) ball during pregnancy can be an amazing tool for any pregnant woman:
1) Discomforts in the low back, hips and pelvis can be alleviated from continued sitting on an exercise ball at home or at work. The buoyancy gives space to the lumbar spine (low back) as opposed to crunching it together when sitting on a tradition chair and it helps distribute your weight more evenly, relieving spinal and pelvic floor pressure as well as easing back pain.
2) You will help improve your posture when sitting on an exercise ball which is helpful during pregnancy. Sitting on a ball helps engage your core and back muscles, maintaining strength required for labour and delivery. It prevents slouching which is always a good thing!
3) Because it takes strength to balance yourself on a birth ball, it is an excellent place to work in some gentle exercise! You can :
Sit on the ball and rock your pelvis back and forth, keeping your shoulders and upper body straight with movement coming from your lower body only.
Move your pelvis in circles in the same position as above.
Rotate your hips clockwise and then in the opposite direction.
Gentle bounces with knees bent.
Leaning over the ball from a kneeling position on the floor, rock your hips back and forth.
4) Sitting on a birthing ball can encourage you to be mindful and in tuned with your new, temporary and every changing body during pregnancy. It requires mental focus and energy to remain sitting upright on an exercise ball, allowing time for your mind to only focus on a single activity. This is excellent labour and delivery preparation for both the body and the mind!
It is ALWAYS a good idea to check in with your midwife or OB before starting anything new during pregnancy to ensure the safety of both your and your beautiful baby. Enjoy the process and happy bouncing!