Pregnancy balls can help relieve labor pain, and if you use them for a few months before labor, they can be effective in relieving painful contractions, reducing anxiety and shortening the first stage of labor. Using a pregnancy ball can also help you adopt different standing positions, which can help you work efficiently. It can even shorten your labor by an hour or so.
What is the difference between a birthing ball and an exercise ball?
Birthing balls and exercise balls are basically the same thing, and both can be made of explosion-proof materials. This means your ball is also blast proof if punctured. But take care to keep it away from sharp objects, just in case. Also do not store on rough surfaces or near heaters, stoves and open fires.
Some birthing balls have a non-slip surface to help them grip. Most maternity balls are made of PVC and are latex free, if you are allergic to latex be sure to check the small print when buying balls and choose latex free maternity balls.
If you are ordering an exercise ball and not a birthing ball. All you need is a 65cm inflated ball height (26 inches) or 75cm (30 inches). Some exercise balls are smaller than you expected when you brought them home.
What size birthing ball is right for me?
Your height will guide the size of the ball that is right for you. Ideally, your knees should be about 10 cm (4 inches) lower than your hips when you sit on it. As a general rule:
A 65cm ball is best if you are under 1.73m (5ft 8in)
If you are taller than 1.73m (5ft 8in) then it is best to buy a 75cm ball
The pregnancy ball can hold your weight no matter your size. The premium birthing and gym ball is stress tested to support up to 330lbs or more.
In addition to the traditional round birthing ball for pregnancy, you can also purchase peanut-shaped birthing balls. These will only scroll one way, not in all directions. If you don't, they might be useful to sit on the ball and feel safe. These tend to be a little small to help you suck in the squat labor.
You may need to purchase a pump, Trideer exercise balls will come with a pump to inflate your ball. The exercise ball is firm, but softens slightly when you press it down. If the ball is too soft, it may not be very effective, so try to get the right size for you.
You can use a pencil to mark the door frame or wall so you can inflate it to your exact height. For example, if you are shorter than 1.63m (5ft 4in), you may find it more comfortable to inflate a 65cm (26in) ball to a height of 60cm (24in).
Balls tend to lose some air over time. You may need to top up to stay at the correct sitting height with your knees lower than your hips. Do not over inflate your ball as you may find it difficult to get it right.
What if you are using a birthing ball for the first time?
Putting the ball on carpet rather than a smooth floor will make it more stable.
When you first sit on the birthing ball, it's a good idea to have someone with you from the ball behind you (especially in the later stages of pregnancy). This will give you a chance to get used to your balance. Make sure you wear non-slip shoes or socks, but bare feet would be better. Place your feet flat on the floor, about 60 cm (24 inches) apart so you have good balance. Now place one hand on the ball and lower yourself to sit on it.
Once you feel comfortable, place your hands on your knees and try rocking your pelvis from side to side or back to front. Then, if you feel safe, give it a jump! If you feel too unstable to shake or bounce on your own, grab someone who is with you. Alternatively, place a chair in front of you, with your back facing you, and grab the back of the chair for support.
How are birthing balls used during pregnancy?
Exercising with a birthing ball during pregnancy can help relieve your back pain and allow you to get around more easily.
If you plan on exercising with a ball, make sure you have a clean area around you. Exercise in a slow and controlled manner, breathing normally, and stop if you feel any dizziness, pain or discomfort. Sit comfortably while you work or relax, and you may find that your ball works better than a hard chair or soft sofa. Plus, sitting on a birthing ball can give you a little exercise. When you gently rock or bounce on it, your abdominal and back muscles will work hard to keep you upright.
How to use a birthing ball during labor?
It's best to practice using the ball before labor so you'll feel comfortable and safe using it. You may find yourself swaying instinctively to the rhythm of contractions and contractions, and the birthing ball provides great support for this.