How to use exercise ball to induce labor

The last few weeks of pregnancy were really tough as we patiently waited for our lovely baby to arrive. You've been thinking about using a yoga ball to induce labor. There are many techniques that can help speed up the labor process, including walking, intercourse (if your water hasn't broken), yoga ball exercises, and simply waiting out nature. If you are thinking of using a exercise ball to induce labor, this article will give you information on how it can help induce labor, as well as some ideas on how to use an exercise ball to induce labor.

Benefits of Using a Exercise Ball to Induce Labor

Exercise balls are a staple in the lives of many pregnant women. They can be used throughout pregnancy for added comfort while sitting. They can also be useful tools for exercising. But did you know you can use a yoga ball to induce labor in late pregnancy?

While it won't directly induce labor, an exercise ball can help you get into the right position and help push your baby down the birth canal. A yoga ball can help:

Open pelvic area

Sitting on a yoga ball can help open up your pelvic area. This helps your baby "drop" into the pelvis. For women with smaller hips, the more you open your pelvis, the faster labor will begin.

Encourages head pressure on the cervix

If you're sitting on a yoga ball to help guide the baby down the birth canal, this encourages head pressure on the cervix. Pressure on the area helps the uterus to contract. While at first you may just experience more Braxton-Hicks (practice contractions) at the right time, these may not go away and full labor will begin.

Positioning baby

Rocking and rocking motions on the ball help guide baby into the birthing position. In some cases, babies who roll over incorrectly are unable to rest on the cervix. The baby does a full rotation as it descends into the birth canal. If they're facing the wrong direction, they can get stuck above the pelvic bone and be unable to descend. It can also happen to babies who are in a "breech presentation," where their buttocks face down instead of their heads.

Promotes increased blood flow

Using a yoga ball late in pregnancy can help increase blood flow to the pelvic area. This helps all supporting tissues; the baby, labor and delivery get adequate nutrition and the oxygen they need. As they say, "babies come when they're ready," so having good nutrition and blood flow helps them get ready faster. It also reduces the chance of complications during childbirth.

How to Use a Yoga Ball to Start Labor

Studies have shown that if mothers start using a birthing ball to induce labor at the beginning of the last trimester, it can proceed more quickly through the first stage of labor. Gravity has been found to work naturally to help start labor and keep it going. Women who lay flat have a much higher rate of cesarean delivery.

To get the most benefit from an exericse ball, start these exercises around week 32 of pregnancy:


Sit on a yoga ball with your hips on the ball and your knees apart. Gently rock the ball from side to side, back and forth. Do this for 15 to 30 minutes a day. You can even do this birthing ball exercise while watching TV, using a yoga ball instead of a couch or chair.

Infinite circle

Sit on the ball with your knees and pelvis open. Make sure your feet are firmly on the floor. Gently rock the ball from left to right in a "figure of eight" motion. Rock to the right and shake to the left in a circular motion. This creates the greatest hip-opening effect. Do this exercise for 10 to 20 minutes a day if you can bear it. It might burn your thighs a bit at first, so keep working your way up.

Gentle bounce

Sit on your yoga ball, slightly forward from the center. Place your feet flat on the floor, about shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on your thighs for stability. Using your thigh muscles, push the ball down and bounce. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes a day.

Pelvic Slimming

Get down on the floor. Put your knees on the floor, about shoulder width apart. Place your hands on an exercise ball in front of you. Rock yourself slightly forward as far as you can, then back on your knees. Continue back and forth for 15 to 20 minutes. You can do this several times a day. It's also good for lower back pain because it shifts the weight of the baby to the front of your body.


This one is a little tricky, so you can do it one of two ways. The first is to place the yoga ball between your back and the wall. Make sure to drop the ball through your lower back. Bend your knees into a squat position and squat down as far as you can. Stand up slowly, and repeat. Do 5 to 10 squats and increase as you can handle.

Some Helpful Tips

If you plan to use a yoga ball to induce labor or exercise during pregnancy, here are some helpful tips:

Make sure your doctor gives you permission to exercise.

You can use any "explosion proof" exercise ball or yoga ball

Make sure the ball you choose is large enough that your hips are higher than your knees when you sit on the ball. Medicine balls are sized according to your height. Here's a handy reference:

If you're near the end of your pregnancy or have given birth and your waters may break, be sure to cover the ball with a towel or waterproof pad.