Second trimester pregnancy ball exercises are an excellent way to ease the aches and pains of pregnancy. Simple, safe and effective exercises can also help you condition your body for labor, shorten labor and prepare you to give birth comfortably. Ball exercises are a great way to get fit without putting too much stress on your body. While exercising, it is important to maintain proper posture and to keep your muscles relaxed. Second trimester pregnancy ball exercises help prepare you for labor by strengthening your core and increasing blood flow throughout the body.
This is an excellent second trimester pregnancy ball workout designed to give your body the support it needs to maintain strength and endurance during your pregnancy. Pregnancy ball exercises are an excellent way to stay active while pregnant. In the second trimester, it is important to avoid strenuous exercise and focus on more restorative work. That doesn’t mean you can’t be active during your pregnancy, just do so safely.
Birthing balls are essentially the same as exercise balls. They’re both made from a durable material that makes them extremely difficult to puncture. But exercise balls used at the gym tend to be smaller than birthing balls.
Birthing balls are larger for comfort and have an anti-slip finish. This is a must-have feature for sitting on the ball for long periods without slipping off.
So why are birthing balls frequently used during pregnancy, labor, and even after birth?
To put it simply, birthing balls can reduce pain and help you feel more comfortable during labor. Many birthing balls are round, but some are also in the shape of a peanut.
Peanut balls are made from the same material as a round birthing ball. But instead of being round, these balls are larger on the ends and have a narrow middle, like a peanut. You can’t use a regular birthing ball while lying down in bed — but you can use a peanut ball in this position.
It’s easier to get into a comfortable, relaxed position while resting or sleeping since you’re able to lift your legs over or around a peanut ball.
There are no rules that say you have to use a birthing ball during pregnancy or labor. Many women don’t.
But a 2015 review of studiesTrusted Source suggests that using a birthing ball (either a round or peanut ball) can be beneficial in many ways.
Let’s face facts. Pregnancy and delivery can be hard on the body. And while everyone’s experience is different, many women have the same general complaints of back pain, stress, and pelvic or abdominal pain. According to some personal testimonies, a birthing ball can improve some of these symptoms, allowing for a smoother labor and delivery.
But don’t think you have to wait until labor to use a birthing ball. A ball can also help relieve pain and pressure in the months or weeks leading up to delivery.
Sitting on the couch, a chair, or any flat surface can be uncomfortable during pregnancy. On the other hand, the curve of a birthing ball might relieve pressure in your pelvis, lower back, and spine.
Sitting on the ball in an upright position can also encourage the opening of your pelvic muscles, allowing room for the baby to descend into the pelvis in preparation for birth.
There’s also evidence suggesting that using a birthing ball during labor can reduce stress and anxiety, as well as labor pain.
In one 2013 studyTrusted Source, 203 pregnant women admitted to the hospital with labor pains completed 30 minutes of birthing ball exercises. When researchers measured their pain and anxiety level after the exercises, the women reported significant improvements.
There’s even research suggesting that a peanut ball can result in shorter active labor, although more studies are needed.
If a birthing ball has these potential benefits, you might wonder whether a birthing ball could also induce labor. Although some women might go into labor while sitting, rotating, or bouncing on a birthing ball, there’s no evidence to suggest that these balls can induce labor or break your water.
To be comfortable on a birthing ball, it’s important to choose the right size ball based on your size and height. Birthing balls aren’t one size fits all. They usually come in small, medium, or large. Some birthing balls are sold fully inflated, but other balls must be inflated after purchase.
For the most part, you should be able to sit on a birthing ball with your feet planted flat on the floor. If you’re on your tippy toes while sitting, the ball is too large. And if your knees are positioned higher than your stomach, the ball is too small.
As a general guideline, ball sizes correspond to height.
- if you’re 5-foot 4 inches or shorter: 55 cm
- if you’re 5-foot 4 to 10 inches: 65 cm
- if you’re 5-foot 10 inches or taller: 75 cm
Keep in mind that recommendations can vary depending on the ball. So read the package label to see the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Some manufacturers may recommend a different ball size based on your height and weight. Choosing the right size is important because sitting too high or too low to the ground could irritate your back and knees.
If you’re using a birthing ball for the first time while pregnant, do so with the assistance of another person to prevent accidentally slipping off.
Now that you know how to purchase a birthing ball, here are some suggestions for how to use the ball during pregnancy, labor and after delivery.
Lower back pain doesn’t only develop during labor. Some women also experience pain during pregnancy. If so, sitting on a birthing ball at work or while watching TV may relieve some of this pressure and help you feel more comfortable.
Sitting on a birthing ball is also great exercise. It can strengthen your stomach and back muscles, improve your posture, and prepare your body for delivery.
Sitting in an upright position can also change your baby from a posterior position to an anterior position, which may also relieve back pain.
Finding a comfortable position during labor is difficult. Yet, using a birthing ball and experimenting with different positions can help ease pelvic or spinal pressure.
You can sit on a birthing ball and rock from side to side, or from front to back. Some women also sit on a birthing ball while leaning forward on a table or bed, so that their partner can massage their back.
Getting into a hands and knees position while using a birthing ball may also take pressure off your lower back and pelvis. Place a pillow on the floor, and with your knees on the pillow, lean forward and hug the birthing ball.
This position can provide comfort if you’re nearing the pushing stage and can’t sit due to pelvic pressure.
If you’re using a peanut ball, you may want to use it to support your legs or body while you’re in the bed. There are various positions you can try to increase your comfort during labor.
After giving birth
After giving birth, it’s only natural to have pain or pressure in the area between your vagina and anus. So sitting down can be uncomfortable.
You can slightly deflate the birthing ball to make it softer and more comfortable. This way, you can sit on the ball while watching TV or relaxing, or while breastfeeding or rocking a fussy baby.
Once you’re feeling up to it, use your birthing ball for exercise or to help strengthen yourself postpartum.
For this exercise, you’ll gently bounce on a birthing ball for a few minutes at a time. This exercise can improve stability and balance and strengthen your legs.
Hula hoop exercise
Strengthen and tone your core with a birthing ball. Sit on the ball with your hands on your hips, and then rotate your hips in a circular motion as if you’re hula hooping.
Lie on the floor on your back with your legs elevated and ankles resting on top of the birthing ball. Slowly raise your upper body until you form a V-shape. Keep your hips on the floor. Hold this position for 5 counts and then slowly lower your upper body to the floor. Repeat for the desired number of reps to strengthen and tone your legs and abdomen.
Overhead ball squat
Stand in the position of a traditional squat with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the birthing ball in front of your body. Bend your knees and squat, as if you’re about to sit in an imaginary chair. As you squat, raise the birthing ball overhead. Hold his position for about 5 counts and then return to starting position. Repeat the desired number of reps to strengthen your legs, thighs, abdomen, and arms.
This is the key to a successful pelvic floor. Pregnancy ball exercises are designed to help build strength in your pelvis before and during pregnancy, which contributes to better pelvic floor functioning after baby is born.
Using A Birthing Ball In Second Trimester
Using a birthing ball in second trimester will: help you to engage your pelvic floor muscles, improve your blood circulation, promote better posture and balance and enhance strength and endurance. Using a birthing ball in second trimester can help to open up your hips and pelvic muscles, making it easier for you to give birth. Second-trimester pregnancy is an ideal time to use the ball, since your baby is growing quickly and causing pressure on your abdomen. Try sitting on the ball for five minutes three times a day.
Why use a birthing ball?
Moving around can get a little harder as your pregnancy progresses. A birthing ball can feel much more comfortable to sit on than desk chairs or sofas. It can also make it easier for you to get on and off.
Exercise and pain relief
Using your birthing ball can also improve your posture and balance and exercise your tummy muscles. As you rock or bounce on it gently, your tummy and back muscles will be working hard to keep you upright.
A birth ball can also help to distribute your weight more evenly. This can relieve spinal pressure and back pain, and provide support for your knees and ankles.
“I suffered with ligament pains from the second trimester, and sitting our plush sofa felt less comfortable than you’d imagine! When my birthing ball arrived, and I sat on it for the first time, I could feel the pressure come away from my hips, back, and knees. It was such a relief!
In the moments when my baby was kicking into my stomach – causing a lot of acid reflux – and pushing up into my chest which made breathing more laboured, kneeling over the birth ball let me stretch my body out and get oxygen into my lungs, taking the pressure off my chest. It felt nice to breathe again and not have to reach for the antacids so often!”
Flo – Mum of one
Using a birth ball in the later stages of pregnancy is great for getting your baby into the correct position for birth.
“Birth Balls are a brilliant way of your keeping hips and your pelvis flexible and supple thorough pregnancy. They are also fantastic in all stages of labour too – from helping to open up the pelvis and create space, to supporting you in swaying and moving to help baby drop down ready for birth.
“Start using your birth ball in pregnancy – as an alternative to your desk chair or for exercise so you can work out what feels right for you.”
Amina – Tommy’s Midwife
You can also use a birthing ball to help you during labour (as long as you’ve been using it during pregnancy so you feel comfortable and safe using it).
During labour, a birthing ball can reduce the pain of your contractions. You may find you instinctively sway and rock in rhythm with your contractions and a birthing ball gives great support for this.
It can also help you maintain upright positions, which lets gravity take some effect. Sitting on the ball with your legs wide apart can help open your pelvis ready for birth.
What is a peanut birth ball?
A peanut-shaped birth ball is effectively the same thing, just a peanut shape. They’re used during labour when mum needs to remain in the bed, for example, when getting an epidural.
The peanut shape allows you to lift one leg in a seated or laid down position.
Read more about the benefits and uses of a peanut ball here.
When can I use a birth ball?
You can start using a birth ball at any stage of your pregnancy, but from around 32 weeks you can use some gentle exercises to help with aches, pains, and getting your baby in to the correct position. If you don’t find birth ball exercises comfortable or helpful, ask your partner, a friend, or your midwife to help you make sure you’re in the right position.
Top tips for using a birth ball
- You’ll have more stability using your birth ball on a carpeted floor than a smooth one.
- Go barefoot if you can. If not, make sure you’re wearing non-slip shoes or socks.
- Place your feet flat and far apart (60cm/45 inch) on the floor, ensuring your knees are lower than your hips.
- Once you’ve become more used to your birthing ball, use it more and more further into the later stages of your pregnancy. At your desk while you work may be a good place to start!
“I swapped my office chair for my birth ball as I was working from home during lockdown. It kept my colleagues amused as I’d be bobbing up and down through our otherwise boring zoom meetings!”
Flo – Mum of one
How to get your hips moving
- Side to side – this stretches out any tightness and tension in your back and hips.
- Figure of 8 – this relieves lower back pain and helps move baby’s head down into the pelvic area.
- Circular motion – this can help baby get into the right position during labour.
You can adopt various positions whilst in labour
- Sit and rock your pelvis side to side, or forwards and backwards.
- Leaning on your birth ball from a kneeling position.
- Hugging the ball and raising your bottom up from kneeling position, rocking pelvis from side to side.
- Leaning over your birth ball from standing position with the ball placed on a higher surface.
Mat and gym ball exercises with pregnancy related Pelvic Girdle Pain
What to consider when buying your birth ball
Buy the right size for your height. Your knees should be about 10cm (4in) lower than your hips when you sit on it.
- If you’re up to 1.73m (5ft 8in) in height, get a 65cm ball.
- If you’re taller than 1.73m (5ft 8in), get a 75cm ball.
Birthing balls can take any weight, regardless of your size. Good quality birthing balls are pressure-tested to support weights up to 300kg (about 47st).
You’re not done yet! If you have a vaginal birth, it’s common to feel pain or pressure between the vagina and anus and sitting down may cause some discomfort. To help with the pain, slightly deflate the ball to make it softer to sit on.
- If your waters break or fluids are spilled anywhere near your birth ball, refrain from getting on it until the area is cleared from liquids to avoid slipping.
- Most birth balls are anti-burst, which means if they’re punctured, they will deflate slowly instead of burst. Still, try to keep sharp objects away.
- Pace yourself, and don’t rush to move until you feel balanced.
- Make sure you talk to your midwife before you use a birth ball.
Using a birthing ball in the second trimester can help relieve back pain, improve posture and balance, and encourage bonding with your partner. Using a birthing ball in second trimester can help relax tense muscles and ease your pain during the process of labor. In addition, it helps you to practice the best positions for delivery, so that you can get ready for an easier birth.
The second trimester is a great period of growth and development for your baby. It’s also a time when you’re most likely to experience less pain and discomfort, so you can enjoy more comfort at home. Many women find using a birthing ball during this stage really helps them feel more comfortable. A birthing ball is a great pregnancy exercise tool because it allows you to use your body weight to help you become more flexible and comfortable in your second trimester pregnancy. However, a lot of women confuse the birth ball with an exercise ball that’s used for pelvic floor strengthening. The two are similar in concept, but there are many differences between them.
How Does An Exercise Ball Help During Pregnancy
An exercise ball is a great tool during pregnancy. It helps to strengthen the abdomen, reduce back pain and also improves balance. As your body changes during pregnancy, you’ll find that certain exercises become more effective than others. Using an exercise ball during pregnancy helps to restore balance, improve strength, and maintain flexibility.
An exercise ball is a great way to keep fit during pregnancy. It improves posture, stimulates the baby and can burn more calories than running. An exercise ball is a great way to keep your body moving during pregnancy. It increases the strength of your back and abdominal muscles, which will help with the delivery. You can use it while sitting, standing or lying down. You can do just about any kind of movement while sitting on it with your feet flat on the floor, such as abdominal crunches or hip abductions.
An exercise ball is a great tool to use during pregnancy. It helps with strength and stability, and provides an alternative for those not ready for a walk down the road. During pregnancy, exercise balls help you to stay fit and strong. They also provide a safe workout that can include workouts for the belly, hips and back. Exercise ball exercises are similar to those done with weights and dumbbells so they provide resistance without adding weight.
What To Do With Exercise Ball When Pregnant
Exercise balls are wonderful tools for improving fitness. They’re simple to use, versatile and fun. When you’re pregnant, and need to exercise in your own home, they can be key. The exercise ball is a compact and versatile piece of equipment that can be used for stability and balance. When you are pregnant, you need both! By using an exercise ball during your pregnancy, you will gain strength in both the abdominal and gluteal muscles. And with each phase of pregnancy comes different challenges. Lying on the ball will help relieve some of the pressure on your back while also relieving back pain.
Doing birthing ball exercises will be a personal choice you will need to make. There are no rules that state you have to use a birthing ball during pregnancy or labor. In fact, many women don’t. But if you do want to know the best birthing ball exercises to help relieve labor pain then I want you to watch the video I have below.
Pregnancy and delivery can be hard on the body so any position, exercise or technique you can use to ease the pain and make it a more empowering experience for you the better. I have heard from many of our PregActive mamas that using a birthing ball helped to improve or relieve some of the general complaints of back pain, stress, and pelvic or abdominal pain.
Note: Always check with your GP or midwife before you use a birthing ball as your personal situation may prevent you from using one.
What is a Birthing Ball?
While we call them by a different name, a birthing ball basically the same as exercise balls. These balls need to be strong to hold your weight and support you through various exercises and movements, so they are made from a durable material. This makes them difficult to puncture.
When Should You Start Using A Birthing Ball?
You can start using a birthing ball from very early on in your pregnancy. There are many great exercises that will help to strengthen your core. And then, as you progress into your second trimester, you can use it to help you with some gentle pregnancy exercises that help you to prepare for labor.
What’s the Difference Between A Birthing Ball and A Gym Ball?
Birthing balls and gym balls are basically the same thing as they both need to be made from anti-burst materials. If they do puncture, they will deflate slowly so make sure the ball you buy is anti-burst.
Your birthing ball will be slightly larger to give you more comfort. It will have an anti-slip finish which is ideal when sitting on the ball for long periods without slipping off.
Birthing Ball Size
Birthing balls aren’t one size fits all. You will soon find that they come in small, medium, or large sizes. You can buy a fully inflated ball from a store or if you buy one online you will find that the ball must be inflated after purchase.
How To Choose a Birthing Ball
Your feet need to be planted on the floor. If you are on your tippy toes while sitting on the ball then it is too big. And if your knees are positioned higher than your stomach, the ball is too small.
As a general guideline, ball sizes correspond to height. You can use the following measurements as a guide but I would recommend trying out some of your friend’s balls or ones at your local gym first.
So What Is The Best Size For A Birthing Ball? If You’re:
1. 5-foot 4 inches (165cm) or shorter select a ball that is 55 cm
2. 5-foot 4 to 10 inches (178cm) select a ball that is 65 cm
3. Over 5-foot 10 inches (178cm+) select a ball that is 75 cm
Birthing Ball Exercises – 7 minute video
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What Are the Benefits Of A Birthing Ball?
Birthing balls are very popular as they can help reduce pain you may experience, and it will also help you feel more comfortable during labor. And don’t think you have to wait until labor to use a birthing ball. Many women find great benefit in using a ball to also help relieve pain and pressure in the months or weeks leading up to delivery.
Benefits of a Birthing Ball
Sitting on the curve of a birthing ball might relieve pressure in your;
2. Lower back
Sitting on the ball in an upright position can also encourage the opening of your pelvic muscles. This will allow room for the baby to descend into the pelvis in preparation for birth.
Using a birthing ball during labor can also reduce stress, anxiety and labor pain.
A study in 2013, studied over 200 pregnant women who were admitted to the hospital with labor pains. These women completed 30 minutes of birthing ball exercises and when the researchers measured their pain and anxiety level after the exercises, they discovered that the women reported significant improvements in reduced labor pain.
How Can You Use A Birthing Ball?
Here are some suggestions for how you can use the ball during pregnancy, labor and after delivery.
1. How To Use A Birthing Ball During Pregnancy
If you develop back pain when pregnant then you may find that sitting on a birthing ball may relieve some of this pressure and help you feel more comfortable.
Birthing ball exercises can also improve your posture, strengthen your stomach and back muscles, and prepare your body for delivery.
Sitting in an upright position on a ball may also change your baby from a posterior position to an anterior position. Achieving this may also relieve back pain.
2. How To Use A Birthing Ball During Labor
One of the main challenges during labor is to find a comfortable position. Before labor, try and experiment with various positions so you can find the best one for you to use during labor. And by knowing several exercises, you may find that you want to switch positions during labor.
In my video (above) I will show you the best birthing ball exercises and positions. These include showing you how to correctly rock from side to side, or from front to back.
Getting into a hands and knees position (while using a birthing ball) may help to take pressure off your lower back and pelvis. This position can provide comfort if you’re nearing the pushing stage and can’t sit due to pelvic pressure.
Some women also sit on a birthing ball while leaning forward on a table or bed, so that their partner can massage their back.
3. How To Use A Birthing Ball After Giving Birth
It’s natural to have pain or pressure in the area between your vagina and anus after giving birth. As a result, you may find that sitting down in a chair or seat can be uncomfortable.
Instead, what you can do is to get your partner to slightly deflate the birthing ball to make it softer and more comfortable so you can sit on the ball post birth.
Can A Birthing Ball Help Induce Labor?
If you’re overdue, then gently rocking on your birthing ball can help nudge your little one into the correct birthing position. But generally, using a ball will not induce labor.
Can Bouncing on Ball Break Waters?
So a common question I hear is whether or not sitting on a birthing ball can also induce labor. Although you might go into labor while sitting on a birthing ball; there’s no evidence to suggest that these balls can induce labor or break your water.
All of these Similar Questions have the Same Answer.
1. Does birthing ball help start labor?
2. How long do you bounce on a ball to induce labor?
3. Does bouncing on a birthing ball help you dilate?
4. How can I ripen my cervix to go into labor?
5. Can jumping up and down induce labor?
Answer: There’s no evidence to suggest that these balls can induce labor, break your water or help you dilate.
I have personally found that using a birthing ball can provide a lot of comfort before and during labor. It can help relieve your back pain and decrease pelvic pressure. I hope that by watching my video you are able to learn some of the positions that can help you during your labor.
When you’re pregnant, it’s all about what helps you feel your best. If you’re looking for a safe, inexpensive pregnancy workout that will help condition your body and reduce some pregnancy symptoms (like fatigue, heartburn, backaches), then throwing an exercise ball in the mix is a great idea. And, because this ball has been designed specifically with pregnant women in mind, it comes with an extra wide base that helps to prevent tipping — which means more confidence while exercising without sacrificing safety.
Exercise ball can help you during pregnancy. It works on your core, and also builds strength, stability and balance. Exercise ball also gives support to your back, keeping it aligned. You can use an exercise ball to help you stay fit during pregnancy and become more athletic than ever before. Just remember to get the go-ahead from your doctor before beginning any workout routine, especially if you’re pregnant. Also make sure that you use a low-impact ball (usually filled with air or water) to reduce strain on your joints and back.
If you are pregnant and it’s safe for you to exercise, the ball can increase your strength during pregnancy.