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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Here are some suggestions for how you can use the ball during pregnancy, labor and after delivery.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.