Why and How to Use a Birth Ball During Pregnancy?

A birthing ball is a great prop to use during pregnancy, and despite what everyone calls it, it can be prepared and used not only during labor and delivery. They're also great for yoga, fitness, physical therapy, stretching, and more!

Pregnancy/birth balls can actually be used in a variety of ways throughout pregnancy, labor and even postpartum, and may actually prove to be one of the best purchases you can make during pregnancy. And they're really affordable too (you can find some good ones for around $20-30)!

Benefits of birthing balls

Because a birthing ball will naturally encourage you to adopt a better, straighter posture and support your weight more evenly with your feet flat on the ground, sitting on a birthing ball is much more effective than armchairs and most soft furniture such as couches It is more suitable for the body of pregnant women. This is especially true later in pregnancy, when it can be harder to get comfortable on the couch and get up from a sitting position.

A birthing ball is also great for helping you enjoy a range of motion without weight bearing and encouraging your baby to maintain good posture as you near the end of your pregnancy.

This will help relieve tension and discomfort in your lower back, stabilize your pelvic joints (good if you have PGP/pelvic pain), give you more room to breathe, and can also help with heartburn/reflux flow.

A birthing ball is also a great resting prop.

How to choose a birthing ball

Birth balls come in different sizes and it is important to choose the right size for your height. The goal you want to achieve is for your knees to be about 10 cm lower than your hips, with your feet flat on the floor. In general, this means that if you're 1.73cm (5'8") or shorter, you're best off with a 65cm ball. If you are tall, it is best to get a 75cm ball.

Exericise balls will lose some air over time and use, so check periodically that your ball is still inflated to the proper size and inflate it as needed (you can make a discreet mark on the wall showing it should is a quick altitude view).

How to use a birthing ball during pregnancy?

You can start using gestation balls at any time during pregnancy. From 32 weeks onwards, you may wish to use the ball daily instead of a table chair or sofa. Many of the moves you can do on the ball are also great to use during labor, so you'll be helping your body and health and labor preparation all at once!

Here are some easy and enjoyable pregnancy yoga moves you can try!

Pelvic Rings and Spirals

Simply roll your hips in circles on the ball, one way and then the other. You can start with small circles and make them bigger and bigger like a spiral, then get smaller again. Stretch your arms out to the side for better balance if needed (and feel happy too!)

Warrior 2

The ball is a great way to get the Warrior 2 grounded feel and build strength until the end of your pregnancy (without having to bear weight on your belly) and/or stay in shorter stances (if you have any pelvic pain). Make sure your feet are fully on the ground.

Extended Side Stretch

From Warrior 2, enjoy this lateral stretch (bend the elbow of your arm if you have high blood pressure) to find more breathing room, stretch your abs and relieve back tension!

Stretched child pose

Kneel on the floor with your knees apart to make room for your hump, and enjoy the back stretch with your arms stretched over the ball. You can roll the ball side to side a bit for a slight rocking motion, then roll it close to you and rest your head on your crossed arms for a comfortable rest.