When To Start Using Exercise Ball In Pregnancy

When should I start using an exercise ball in pregnancy? The best time to start using an exercise ball is after your third or fourth month, when your baby has reached the point where it’s too big to exert a lot of pressure on your stomach or back. Also, as you progress through pregnancy, your joints may begin to feel stiffer and less mobile. Exercise balls can help with mobility, which is helpful during labor and after delivery. The first phase of pregnancy is the perfect time to start using an exercise ball. By switching from running or riding a bike to exercising with an exercise ball, you can continue to get the benefits of aerobic activity while keeping joint stress to a minimum.

In a study conducted by the University of Hong Kong, it was found that women who used exercise balls during pregnancy had less pelvic floor muscle weakness and strain than those who did not. Exercise ball is a great tool to use during pregnancy because it helps strengthen and tone they’re core, while also helping in pregnancy. Start with an exercise ball as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. Your baby is well protected against injury by your muscles and the amniotic fluid in your uterus.

Exercise ball is a great equipment that you can use to get relief from the pressure of your abdomen while maintaining fitness and energy. This type of ball helps to improve strength, balance and coordination, therefore, it is highly recommended to use it during pregnancy. Exercise balls or Swiss balls are very effective for strengthening the core muscles of your body. They make balance and stability exercises more challenging, which ensures that the core muscles are working incredibly hard to maintain control. This is particularly important in pregnancy because of all the extra weight that is being carried around.

Can You Use A Exercise Ball In Pregnancy

You should not use an exercise ball in pregnancy unless it has been specified to be safe for use by pregnancy. The main benefit of using exercise balls in pregnancy is that they provide resistance to the muscles, which helps them tone. The ball will also help strengthen your core so it can support the growing weight of your baby. But remember that no form of exercise is 100% safe during pregnancy.

You’ve probably seen exercise balls in yoga classes and at the gym. But these inflated balls aren’t only great for workouts. You can also use them during pregnancy, labor, and even after giving birth — and when used in this manner, they’re often referred to as birthing balls.

Here’s what you need to know about birthing balls, including why some women consider them a godsend during pregnancy and labor.

What is a birthing ball?

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.

What are the benefits of a birthing 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.

How do you choose one?

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.

Shop for birthing balls online.

How can you use a birthing ball?

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.

During pregnancy

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.

During labor

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.

Can you do exercises with a birthing ball? 

Once you’re feeling up to it, use your birthing ball for exercise or to help strengthen yourself postpartum.

Bouncing exercise

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.

V-sit

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.

Exercise balls are great for pregnant women, especially during the third trimester when you may feel less able to exercise due to fatigue. You can use an exercise ball as part of your pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles around your pelvic area or use it for abdominal toning. The exercise ball is also a great tool for stretching back muscles and strengthening wrists and shoulders. Exercise balls are a great way for pregnant women to stay fit and active. An exercise ball is a basic tool that can be used in your pregnancy, as well as afterwards. It helps you change the way you sit at the computer or watch TV while exercising. A workout with an exercise ball can be any number of exercises:

Yes. An exercise ball is one of the best tools for toning your abdominal muscles during pregnancy. It will also help to improve balance and stability, which can be especially important throughout pregnancy. Yes. An exercise ball is one of the best tools for toning your abdominal muscles during pregnancy. It will also help to improve balance and stability, which can be especially important throughout pregnancy.

When Can I Use Exercise Ball In Pregnancy

Exercise ball is a great tool to use during pregnancy. It stretches the muscles and helps reduce aches and pains. It is also a way to make exercise fun and enjoyable. Exercise ball not only improves posture, strength, balance and coordination but also increases flexibility and can help with backaches. Exercise ball is a great tool for pregnant women. It helps you to strengthen your core and work on your balance, which are important for the health of both the mother and unborn baby.

Exercising on a birthing ball in pregnancy can help to reduce any back pain you are experiencing and make it easier for you to move around. It can also help ease labour pain, reduce the pain of contractions (especially if you use it for a couple of months before you give birth), decrease anxiety and shorten the first stage of labour.

Using a birthing ball can also help you adopt different upright positions, which can help you to labour effectively. It may even shorten your labour by an hour or so.

What’s the difference between a birthing ball and a gym ball?

Birthing balls and gym balls are basically the same thing. Both can be made from anti-burst materials. This means they deflate slowly rather than with a bang if punctured. Make sure your ball is anti-burst, but keep sharp objects away from it, just in case. Don’t store it on rough surfaces or near heat like radiators, stoves and open fires.

Some birthing balls have a non-slip finish, which helps them to grip the floor. Most are latex-free and made of PVC but if you have a latex allergy, it’s worth making sure.

Always check the small print when you buy a ball. This is particularly true if you’re ordering a gym ball rather than a birthing ball. What you need is a ball that’s 65cm (26in) or 75cm (30in) in height when inflated. Some gym balls come up much smaller than you expect when you get them home.

What size birthing ball is right for me?

Your height will give a guide to the size of ball that will be right for you. Ideally, your knees should be about 10cm (4in) lower than your hips when you sit on it. As a general rule:

  • If you’re up to 1.73m (5ft 8in) in height, it’s best to get a 65cm ball.
  • If you’re taller than 1.73m (5ft 8in) then it’s best to get a 75cm ball.

A birthing ball will take your weight, whatever your size. Good quality birthing and gym balls are pressure-tested to support weights up to 300kg (about 47st).

As well as traditional round birthing balls, you can also buy peanut-shaped balls. These only roll one way rather than in all directions. They can be useful if you don’t feel secure sitting on a ball. These tend to be a little smaller and can help you get into squatting positions for labour.

You may need to buy a pump, as many balls don’t come with one. Inflate your ball so that it’s firm, but gives a little when you press on it. If the ball is too soft then it may not be as effective so do try to get the right size for you

You could use a pencil to make a mark on a door frame or wall so that you inflate it to the exact height that’s right for you. For example, if you’re under 1.63m (5ft 4in), you may find it more comfortable to inflate a 65cm (26in) ball to 60cm (24in) in height.

Balls tend to lose some air over time. You may need to top yours up to keep it at the correct height for sitting comfortably, with your knees below your hips. Don’t over-inflate your ball as you may find it hard to use correctly.

What if I’m using a birthing ball for the first time?

Place your ball on a carpet rather than a smooth floor. This will make it more stable. When you first sit on your birthing ball, it’s best to have someone with you to support the ball from behind you (especially in the later stages of pregnancy). This will give you a chance to get used to staying balanced on it. Make sure you’re wearing non-slip shoes or socks. Better still, go barefoot.

Place your feet flat on the floor, about 60cm (24in) apart, so you’ve got a good balance. Now place one hand on the ball and lower yourself to sit on it.

Once you’re comfortable, place your hands on your knees and try rocking your pelvis from side to side or back to front. Then, if you feel secure, have a little bounce!

If you feel too unsteady to rock or bounce on your own, hold on to whoever is with you. Alternatively, put a chair in front of you, facing away from you, and hold on to the back of it for support.

If you’re going to use your ball for exercise, make sure you have a clear area around you. Exercise in a slow and controlled way. Breathe normally, and stop if you feel any dizziness, pain or discomfort.

Best birthing positions

Certain positions may help you have a quicker and easier labour and birth. Find out more.More labour and birth videos

How can I use my birthing ball during pregnancy?

You can use your birthing ball to:

Sit comfortably while you’re working or relaxing
You may find your ball much more comfortable, and easier to get on and off, than a hard chair or soft sofa.

Also, sitting on a birthing ball gives you a mini-workout. As you rock or bounce on it gently, your tummy and back muscles will be working hard to keep you upright.

Get some gentle exercise
Using your birthing ball is a fun way to improve your posture and balance, and to exercise your tummy muscles. This helps your body to support the weight of your pregnancy. It can also protect your back, and help you get back into shape after you’ve given birth. Try:

  • Sitting on the ball and rocking your pelvis from side to side and front to back. When you do this, try to keep your shoulders still so the movement comes from your waist and below.
  • Rotating your hips clockwise then anti-clockwise.
  • Leaning over your ball from a kneeling position, then rocking your hips forward and back.

You may also want to try exercising your pelvic floor while sitting on your birthing ball. It can be easier to feel what is happening and you’ll also be working your lower tummy muscles at the same time.

Help change the position of your baby in late pregnancy
If your baby is in a posterior (back-to-back) position, adopting upright, forward-leaning positions may encourage him to switch around.

Try getting on to your knees and leaning forward over your ball. This may encourage your baby’s back to swing forward so he’s in an anterior position, with his back towards your bump. Although your baby may not stay that way until you go into labour, it may give you some temporary relief from backache.

Practise positions for labour
If you try out different positions for labour while you’re still pregnant, you’ll know how they feel and discover which ones are more comfortable for you.

How can I use my birthing ball during labour?

It’s best to practise using the ball before you go into labour so you feel comfortable and safe using it.

Some midwives recommend a combination of birthing ball and TENS to help women cope at home in early labour.

You may find you instinctively sway and rock in rhythm with your contractions , and a birthing ball gives great support for this.

Ways to use your birth ball during labour include:

Sitting astride the ball and rocking your pelvis from side to side or back and forth.

Leaning on your birthing ball from a kneeling position on the floor.

Getting into a hands-and-knees position by hugging your birthing ball and lifting your bottom up from a kneeling position. You can then rock your pelvis from side to side.

Leaning over your ball from a standing position, with the ball on the bed or another surface.

All these techniques can be used during first-stage labour.

These positions also give your birth partner plenty of room to support you, massage you or apply pressure to your lower back during contractions.

During the pushing stage you’ll want to avoid sitting, so use the leaning or hands-and-knees positions. They will take the pressure off your bottom and give your baby lots of room to descend with each contraction and to be born.

Most hospital labour wards and birth centres have birthing balls for women to use during labour. If you’re particularly attached to your own birthing ball, take it along with you. You can clean it afterwards by washing it down with warm soapy water.

How can I use my birthing ball after my baby is born?

You may find your ball more comfortable to sit on than a hard chair, particularly if the area between your vagina and anus (perineum) is sore. Deflate it a little to make it softer and take the pressure off any stitches or bruising.

You could sit on your ball while you’re breastfeeding once you’ve got the hang of getting your baby latched on. It’s likely to be better for your posture than slumping on the sofa while feeding. Make sure you feel comfortable and steady on the ball before you try this though. Bouncing on your ball while cuddling your baby may soothe her.

You can use your birthing ball to exercise, using the same techniques described above in how can I use my birthing ball during pregnancy?

As your baby grows up, your birthing ball may become a favourite plaything. You may even want to use your ball instead of an office chair for desk work, as it’s so great for posture.

Exercise ball is a great way to work out in pregnancy, it gives good support and stability, encourages you to maintain correct posture and balance. But do not go beyond your limits, never bounce up and down. Exercise balls are great to use in pregnancy because they can help you ease the pressure on your joints and spine. Exercise balls help create a more natural body alignment, which supports proper posture while you exercise. They also promote better breath control and body awareness.

Exercises with the ball are great for pelvic floor muscle strengthening that will help to prevent or lessen the effects of urinary incontinence, which is commonly experienced in pregnancy. The ball’s shape supports your back and pelvis, allowing you to focus on moving your abdominals and back muscles. You can also do pelvic tilts on the ball that emphasize good posture and can help ease lower back pain (and counteract poor posture habits). Exercise balls are a great way to meet your fitness goals. You can exercise on one and prepare for labor and delivery, as well as build strength and flexibility. The exercise ball can be used by pregnant women to help safely work out their core muscles during adulthood (non-pregnancy), but it should be used with caution and under supervision.

When To Start Using A Ball In Pregnancy

When to start using a ball in pregnancy can be a little confusing, but there are a few easy rules that you can follow. If you are in your first trimester, it is generally safe to begin using a fitness ball for exercises and stretching. The only rule here is that you must take the time to do some research on the safety of pregnancy exercise, such as swimming and using fitness equipment, including balls. If you have established that it is okay for you to work out at this point, begin with some basic core strengthening exercises utilizing the ball as part of your routine.

Which Birthing Ball Should I Buy?

Don’t be fooled, a birthing ball is the same thing as an exercise ball. There’s no difference! Make sure the exercise ball purchased is a good quality ball that won’t burst if punctured. Make sure it’s “anti-burst” and you’ll be good to go!

Here are some good options for birthing balls at reasonable prices.

What Birthing Ball Size Should I Buy?

The taller you are the bigger birthing ball needed. Buy a…

  • 55 cm ball if you’re under 5’4″
  • 65 cm ball if you’re between 5’4″ – 5’10″
  • 75 cm ball if you’re over 5’10”

Most women can buy a 65 cm ball and will have the right size. (I own this birthing ball in black.)

IMPORTANT:  Please make sure that when sitting on a birthing ball the hips are higher than the knees. If the knees are higher than the hips the birthing ball needs more air or is too small. Having the knees higher than the hips can encourage a non-optimal fetal position for your baby which could mean a longer and more painful labor for you. No bueno!

A birthing ball is an exercise ball that helps ease pregnancy symptoms, but can also encourage a less painful more straightforward birth. A birthing ball is a must-have for every pregnant woman hoping for an easier pregnancy, better birth and happier postpartum.

A birthing ball is an exercise ball that helps ease pregnancy symptoms, but can also encourage a less painful more straightforward birth.

TIP:  Because keeping the ball inflated is so important, I highly encourage you to buy your own air pump if your ball does not already come with one. Many balls do, but if yours doesn’t make sure to add it to your cart.

Now that we know what we’re looking for in a ball, head on over here and get the perfect birthing ball for you.

When Should I Start to Use a Birth Ball?

The best time to start using a birth ball is during the first trimester. You can start using it later, but I wouldn’t wait longer than the second trimester.  Don’t wait until your due date to use a ball!

The second trimester is when your baby begins to GROW RAPIDLY which means your body will be adjusting quickly to compensate. Using a ball as your body accommodates a growing baby will help make pregnancy more comfortable.

Also, as soon as you begin experiencing signs of labor, you can begin to use a birthing ball. Many women find relief in sitting on a ball in early laboractive labor, and even transition. However, you may need to get off the ball during the pushing stage. 😉

How is a Ball Helpful?

One way a birthing ball is helpful is that it relieves pelvic pressure, which can be a godsend for some women. What the ball does is it gently pushes back on the pelvic opening which can provide mild relief. This can be especially helpful in the third trimester closer to 40 weeks.

One of the best benefits of using a birthing ball during pregnancy is that it encourages optimal fetal positioning (baby to move in the best position for birth).

Ever notice how you can’t slouch while sitting on a ball? Well, a birthing ball demands that we hold our bodies in alignment and with good posture. And believe it or not, those two things encourage baby to be in the best position for birth. And when a baby is in the best position for birth, things are usually less painful and not as long. Amazing!

Also, sitting on a birthing ball gently opens the pelvis and hips relaxing them and further encouraging an optimal fetal position in preparation for birth.

Another way a birthing ball is helpful is that it can relieve pregnancy back pain.  Natural pain relief during pregnancy is such a help!

How Do I Use a Birth Ball During Pregnancy?

Now that we know why a birthing ball is helpful, let’s talk about how to use one during pregnancy.

Figure 8’s

A simple and fun way to use a birthing ball during pregnancy is to sit and do hip circles or a figure 8 movement with the hips. This is a light exercise that strengthens the hips, relaxes muscles and joints, and of course, encourages optimal fetal positioning.  If this is to challenging, try rocking from side to side.

Office Chair

A more practical use of a birth ball during pregnancy is as a replacement for an office chair. When I had an office job during my first pregnancy, I brought my ball to work. For part of the day I would sit on the ball, and for the other part the office chair.

Sitting on a birth ball is a form of constant mild exercise as it engages different muscle groups to keep you balanced on the ball. Because of this, it exhausted me and I struggled to sit on it all day long. It seemed like an OK compromise to sit on it for only half of the day. 😉

TIP:  If you sit in an office setting all day long, using a ball in lieu of an office chair is 100% necessary to help promote optimal fetal positioning. Our bodies were not created to sit all day and if we are not proactive we will more than likely experience consequences.

Squats

Another way to use a birthing ball during pregnancy is as a stabilizer while doing squats. Squats are an excellent way to keep the pelvic floor and legs strong throughout pregnancy.

“Squat 300 times per day, you’re going to give birth quickly.” – Ina May Gaskin

Now, I don’t know if that is 100% TRUE, but I know that squatting will only benefit a woman. 😉

A birthing ball is a must-have for every pregnant woman hoping for an easier pregnancy, better birth and happier postpartum.

Leaning

Sometimes the weight of pregnancy becomes a bit too much and anything that alleviate the pressure feels amazing. Leaning forward is a wonderful position that helps take some of the burden off a mother’s back. Using a birthing ball to support the upper body while leaning forward is an excellent use of the ball during pregnancy. Parents can kneel with open knees like the woman below, or you could even stand and lean on the ball while it’s on the bed.

A birthing ball is a must-have for every pregnant woman hoping for an easier pregnancy, better birth and happier postpartum.

Massage and Counter Pressure

One of my favorite things about a birth ball is that it gives easy access to a woman’s hips and back, making massage and counter pressure a no-brainer for partners and other support people. While leaning on a ball a woman can receive:

  • Sacral Pressure
  • Double Hip Squeeze
  • Lower Back Massage
  • Shoulder and Neck Massage

Bouncing on Birthing Ball

Many women enjoy gently bouncing on a birthing ball, especially in combination with hip circles.  However, just so we’re clear, bouncing like a crazy person won’t make your baby come out faster and you could also possibly hurt yourself.  Say it with me – gentle, rhythmic, bouncing only!

Receiving a massage while leaning on a birth ball.

Can a Birth Ball Induce Labor?

Assuming that a woman’s body and baby are ready, according to Spinning Babies, sitting on a birthing ball can induce labor naturally.  Because a birthing ball encourages optimal fetal positioning, when a baby is in the best position, in my experience, labor is more likely to begin on its own.

Also, in my experience sitting on a birthing ball puts a little bit of pressure from the baby’s head on the cervix which can encourage and speed up dilation, and effacement before and during labor.

Besides simply sitting on a birthing ball, add figure 8’s or hip circles. As you get good at them, do them faster and faster. This exercise can encourage labor!

Best Exercise Ball for Labor

The taller you are the bigger birthing ball needed. Buy a…

  • 55 cm ball if you’re under 5’4″
  • 65 cm ball if you’re between 5’4″ – 5’10″
  • 75 cm ball if you’re over 5’10”

Most women can buy a 65 cm ball and will have the right size. (I own this birthing ball in black.)

IMPORTANT:  Please make sure that when sitting on a birthing ball the hips are higher than the knees. If the knees are higher than the hips the birthing ball needs more air or is too small. Having the knees higher than the hips can encourage a non-optimal fetal position for your baby which could mean a longer and more painful labor for you. No bueno!

How Do I Use a Ball in Labor?

During my first birth the sensations of labor were so overwhelming for me and sitting on a ball felt terrible. I quickly got off and that was the end of that.

However, for my last two births I used a birthing ball each time. It was very helpful! Some women will like a ball in labor and some women won’t. And some will like it for one birth and not their next. Either way it’s important to have a ball on hand so she has the freedom to try and see if it’s helpful.

Sitting on a birth ball at a hospital birth.

Here are some ways to use the birthing ball for a natural birth:

  • Sit for relief from pelvic pressure
  • Sit and rock, sway or make circles with the hips
  • Stand and lean on a ball that’s on the bed
  • Sit and lean on bed or partner
  • Lean on the ball while pushing
  • Sit and receive counter pressure and/or massage
A birthing ball is a must-have for every pregnant woman hoping for an easier pregnancy, better birth and happier postpartum.

TIP:  When at the hospital put a chux pad or towel (or both) on top of the ball. This will ensure a clean sitting space for a laboring woman. (You don’t want hospital floor germs getting on mom. Ew.)

How to Use a Birth Ball Postpartum

A birthing ball is not something you would use in the third stage of labor or immediately after birth. So if you’re still in the hospital, you don’t need to be bouncing quite yet.

If you’ve had a perineal tear, damage or bruising to the lady bits, wait to use a ball until you have the green light from your care provider. But you read my post about how to prevent tearing so you won’t need to wait, right? 😉

A simple, fun and soothing way to use a ball during the postpartum period is to bounce and settle a fussy baby. Simply sit on the ball while holding baby and gently bounce and/or rock. I’ve even had success using the birthing ball postpartum while I was wearing my baby in a wrap.

The same movements used in pregnancy and labor can be similarly helpful with a baby in arms.

Use a Birthing Ball for a Better Birth

A birthing ball is a must-have for every pregnant woman hoping for an easier pregnancy, better birth, and happier postpartum. To recap:

  • Most women will need a 65 cm ball.
  • Birth balls should be properly inflated so the hips are higher than the knees.
  • It’s ok to use a ball at any point in pregnancy, even at the office.
  • There are many different ways to use a birth ball in labor – in and out of the hospital, and in and out of bed.

Did you know that the time to start using a ball in pregnancy is during your first trimester? Here are some of the benefits of starting early. Using a ball in pregnancy can improve posture and balance, increase energy, and provide relief from numerous discomforts including back, neck and pelvic pain.

It’s best to start using a ball in pregnancy from week 17 at the earliest. If you haven’t used one before, start by sitting on a chair and rolling back and forth for 30 seconds, then go for 60 seconds. After that, stand up, knees bent and hands on hips, and roll the ball under your feet for 60 seconds. While most women start using a weighted ball in pregnancy, it’s important to ease into your routine. Always talk to your doctor about any exercise program and progress slowly. If you’ve never used one before, try a light ball that’s just slightly heavier than a tennis ball—like this soft exerciser. Start with five minutes at a time every day and work your way up as you get stronger and more comfortable with the movement.

In the final trimester, when baby is getting bigger and your abdomen has increased in size, your center of gravity is changing. Instead of sitting on the floor with your legs crossed in a yoga pose, now it may be more comfortable to sit on the ball with your legs extended in front of you.

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