The Pregnancy Ball, also known as the Birthing Ball, labor ball, yoga ball, and exercise ball, etc., is the standard therapy ball you'll find in the gym. It is made of blast-resistant materials and usually has a non-slip surface so that it can grip the floor securely. The inflated height of the therapy ball for pregnancy and childbirth should be between 65cm and 75cm.
A birthing ball can be used as an alternative to walking or bed rest to help relieve discomfort during labor. It can also be used during pregnancy for exercise or to help reposition your baby, supporting you throughout your motherhood journey.
From relieving pregnancy discomforts to encouraging labor and soothing your newborn after birth, you'll be amazed how helpful a birthing ball can be!
What is a birthing ball?
This is a question I get asked all the time, but really, a birthing ball is just an exercise ball for pregnancy and childbirth! There are no special "birthing balls", we just use medicine balls for labor and prenatal comfort.
It's a good idea to get one during your second trimester, as they're great to have around the house during pregnancy for stretches, exercises, sitting, or even just kicking.
Once you get closer to your due date, there are many things you can do with a birth ball to encourage your baby to adopt the correct birthing position.
Of course, there are plenty of ways you can use it during your actual labor and even after your newborn is born.
Birth Ball vs. Yoga Ball vs. Pregnancy Ball
You guessed it - they're all the same! Like I explained above, the terms are used interchangeably and are identical in terms of design and product.
Pregnancy ball size
When it comes to getting the exercise ball, size selection matters more than you might think. Many people don't even realize that birthing balls come in different sizes!
The recommended basic pregnancy ball sizes based on height are:
5'4" and under: 55 cm diameter ball
5'4" – 5'10": 65 cm diameter ball
5'10" and over: 75 cm diameter ball
In addition to considering height, it's also important to have your hips at or slightly higher than your knees when your feet are flat on the ground.
When you sit on the birthing ball, your knees should not be higher than your hips (as in a squat). This position helps keep your pelvis in a more open position, which is not only better for labor and baby positioning, but can also help with back pain and general discomfort associated with pregnancy.
When to Start Using a Birth Ball
It should be safe to use a birthing ball throughout your pregnancy as long as your pregnancy risk is low and you are approved by your healthcare provider.
My advice is to increase the time spent on the birthing ball and the intensity of the exercises as your due date approaches.
Once you hit 39 weeks, you really can't do much on the ball anymore. But you can sit back and relax on your birthing ball and help baby drop as much as you can!
You can use it while watching TV, working at your desk, reading, or even eating.
Benefits of birthing balls
Let's take a look at all the benefits of birthing balls for pregnancy and labor preparation:
Relieve lower back pain, strengthen your lower back and core, improve posture, and more, all of these muscles are important for labor and postpartum recovery.
Helps open the pelvis and encourages deeper contact of the baby's head with the pelvic bones, which may aid in natural childbirth.
Can help your baby adopt a good birthing position
The baby's head bounces up and down, putting pressure on the cervix, which promotes softening and dilation.
The biggest postpartum benefit of pregnancy balls is helping to soothe fussy babies.
You can sit on the ball with your baby in your arms. But before trying to sit on a ball with a baby, make sure you're comfortable sitting on the ball and able to maintain your balance when getting on and off the ball.