Birthing Ball Exercises Explained
How To Use A Birthing Ball:
The Complete Guide
With a new baby on the way, there’s plans to make, appointments to remember, vitamins and supplements to take, and the list goes on and on and on…
The 9 months of pregnancy is a beautiful time in a woman’s life. However, it can also be stressful- and at times- painful.
By adding a birthing ball into your routine, you can help mitigate pain, and carve out some “me” time while you’re at it!
Before we get into the nitty gritty of your birthing ball, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Make sure to get the right size for your height. Having the right size birthing ball is very important, one size does not fit all. If you are 5’8” or under, choose a 65cm ball. If you’re 5’9” or taller, choose the 75cm option.
2. Make sure that your birthing ball is thicker than an average exercise ball. Our products are top-of-the-line, and are much thicker than the leading competitor.
3. Before sitting down on the ball, hold it with both of your hands to keep it steady.
4. Remain in non slip socks as much as possible. This will keep you from sliding around while seated, and allow you to have more control.
5. In the beginning, have your partner or a friend be present to help you.
6. Use your birthing ball on the carpet instead of a hard floor.
7. Check your ball regularly for leaks, to make sure it’s not in danger of collapsing or loosing too much air. A pump is included in your kit, so make sure to keep an eye out for the amount of air in your ball.
8. Don’t inflate your ball too much- you want it to have a little give. This makes it much more comfortable to sit on.
“I have a birthing ball, now what??”
Once you receive your new favorite pregnancy accessory in the mail, you may wonder what exactly you’re supposed to do with it, besides sit on it.
This may seem super silly at first, but you need to get accustomed with sitting on the ball PROPERLY, so as to avoid injuries. Using the birthing ball improperly could potentially cause you even more pain, which completely defeats the purpose of buying it in the first place!
If you’re wondering how to sit on a birthing ball correctly, here are a few tips:
Sit down on your ball, with your back as straight as possible.
Put both feet on the ground, shoulder-width apart.
If you feel unsteady, use a chair or your partner for support.
Rest your hands on your knees, and relax your arms.
Be aware of your breathing- take deep breaths to help relax and focus.
Roll your “sitting bones” so that you’re sitting squarely on top of them, not rolled to the back.
Just simply sitting on the ball offers a comfortable seating solution, because in reality you’re not going to want to sit on hard surfaces for extended periods of time!
BIRTHING BALL SITTING EXERCISES
Once you’re able to sit on a birthing ball correctly, and without any support, you can move onto performing some birthing ball exercises.
One of the many benefits of using a birthing ball, is that it relieves pelvic pressure- which can be a godsend for some pregnant mamas.
Read on to find out how to properly exercise with your new birthing ball!
ROCKING MOTION EXERCISE
1. Sit on your birthing ball, keeping your legs on either side of the ball.
2. Spread your feet shoulder width apart, while positioning your feet facing out, to help keep your balance.
3. Slowly (carefully) rock backwards and forwards, putting the weight first on your tailbone and then your pelvic area.
4. Rocking helps to relieve the pressure on your tailbone, and helps loosen the pelvic muscles.
1. Sit up straight, and plant yourself firmly on your ball.
2. Rest your hands on your hips, and make large, slow, circular movements with your hips- in hula dancer fashion!
Tip: Try clockwise first, then counter-clockwise. Try this exercise also in sets of 10. This exercise will help you maintain, and improve, your balance as your body changes shape with the baby’s growth.
ARM / LEG LIFT
1. Maintaining your balance while seated, straighten your left leg and raise it to be level with your hip.
2. While you’re raising your left leg, lift your arms straight out to the sides, shoulder height.
3. Hold for a few seconds. Return your arms and legs to your seated position, and repeat with your right leg.
Tip: Do reps alternating legs, and if lifting your whole leg is too difficult, lift just your foot off the ground.
The exercise helps safely strengthen your arms- you’ll be glad to have the extra strength when the baby is born!
1. Sit up straight on your ball. Hold out light hand weights at arm’s length, one in each hand. It is recommended that pregnant use no heavier than 5lbs.
2. Keeping your elbows pointing down, slowly curl the weights toward your shoulders.
3.Bring them back to the starting position, and repeat in groups of 10.
BIRTHING BALL STANDING EXERCISES
When you’ve comfortably mastered the seated exercises, you can switch things up a bit and try standing exercises. These can help a lot when it comes time to induce and dilate.
SIMPLE SQUAT EXERCISE
1. Standing in an upright position, rotate your feet outward.
2. Slowly lower yourself into a squatting position, keeping your legs shoulder-width apart.
3. Place the birth ball in front of you, and using both hands, allow it to help you keep your balance.
4. Draw in your abdominal muscles and make sure to keep your back straight.
Tip: Imagine that there is a string on top of your head, and someone above you is pulling it upwards.
THE BIRTH BALL HUG
1. Position the ball in front of you while you are kneeling on the ground.
2. Spread your knees shoulder width apart.
3. Lean forward and hug the ball to your chest, and rock your lower body back and forth.
Tip: This helps to release tension in your back and lower hips, and allows your to shift some weight onto the ball for a little relief, especially during labor.
1. Place your birthing ball on the wall and lean against it.
2. Lower your torso so that you hug the ball with your chest while resting your head on top of the ball.
3. Rock back and forth from one leg to the other.
4. Tip your belly forward if you need to take pressure off your lower back.
Tip: This is a great time to ask your partner for a back rub!
LOW SQUAT EXERCISE
1. Place your birthing ball between your lower back and a solid wall or steady surface.
2. Open your legs and slowly move into a squatting position, using the ball as support.
3. Bend your legs and gently roll downwards, as far as you can go without hurting yourself.
Tip: Concentrate on your breathing and steadying yourself. Slowly move back up into the squatting position and repeat.
STRETCHING WITH A BIRTHING BALL
Relaxin is a protein-based hormone that is secreted into circulation by your body during pregnancy. Relaxin does just what you'd think it does - it relaxes. This prepares your body for your baby’s passage through the birth canal.
Here’s the down side: You may feel that your ligaments are more loose- including your shoulders, knees, hips, and ankles. This can result in aches, pain, inflammation, and even clumsy tendencies.
Pregnant women should take extra care of their posture during pregnancy, especially during the first and the third trimesters, when the relaxin hormone is at its peak in the body.
Your hip flexors will most likely become very tight during your pregnancy. Stretching gently will become a very important exercise as the weight of your baby pulls you forward.
Here are some easy stretches that you can do on your birthing ball:
1. Kneel on the floor, ball by your side.
2. Bend forward at the waist and roll the ball out to your side until you feel a stretch in your chest.
3. Hold this for 30 seconds.
4. Repeat on your other side.
Tip: This helps stretch your chest muscles, and also your biceps.
1. Imitating a movement many of us did in gym class back in the day, sit down on the ground, with your legs in a “V”.
2. Place the ball between your legs, hands on top.
3. Slowly walk the ball out towards your feet until you feel a stretch in your legs.
4. Hold for a few seconds and walk it back towards your body.
Tip: Repeat this as often as you’d like to stretch your legs and hips.
1. Kneeling on the floor, hold your ball out directly in front of you, hands on top of the ball.
2. Slowly lower your head to the ground, between your arm, cat-style. Arch your lower back and hold for 30 seconds.
3. Repeat until you feel the tension slowly dissipate.
Tip: Pregnant mamas seem to love this stretch the most!
STAY SAFE & LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
TALK TO YOUR DOC
As is the case with many things you may have taken for granted prior to your pregnancy- be sure to check with your doctor before you make any major changes to your lifestyle, exercising specifically.
If you didn’t do much in the way of working-out prior to your pregnancy, you will want to be extra careful to not over-do any stretches or exercises. Only try the things listed above if you are confident in your balance and coordination.
At The Birth Ball, keeping mamas safe and happy is our main goal! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more exercises pick up our 18 page booklet