During Pregnancy – The ball can be used to help strengthen your body for pregnancy and birth. Gentle exercises that strengthen and promote flexibility, particularly in your core muscles, will help support the baby, take pressure off your back and help to carry the baby more comfortably.
In early pregnancy- plank, then advanced plank – Lie on the birth ball, stomach on the ball, with feet on the ground. Lean forward until your hands touch the ground and walk your hands forward until the ball in on your thighs. Tighten stomach muscles. Once this is comfortable, try the advanced plank… walk hands forward until the ball is at your shins and keep your shoulders aligned with your hands.
As pregnancy progresses you will want to increase flexibility in your hips and make room for baby. Sit on the birth ball, rocking side to side then forwards and backwards, then spiraling – making big circles on the ball in one direction then in the opposite direction.
During labor – The ball allows more movement, which eases pain and opens the pelvis, and helps to dilate and efface your cervix, while bringing baby down upon the cervix.
Sit on ball, rocking back and forth, side to side and spiraling in both directions. This is a great way to promote comfort, open the pelvis and help baby move down into the pelvis. While sitting on the ball you can rest your head on the bed, or in your partners lap between contractions.
Lean over the ball with your upper body while kneeling on the floor and rock, and sway. This position helps improve ‘back labor’ pains.
During the postpartum period – Sitting on the birth ball while gently bouncing and holding baby, will help to calm and sooth baby with movements like in a rocking chair, all while strengthening your core and helping to tone muscles after birth.
Most hospitals and birth centers have birth balls for you to use during labor, but many women choose to purchase their own for use during pregnancy and the post-partum period.
When buying a birth ball, your height will determine the size of the ball you need. If you are 5’9” or tall get the 75cm ball, if you are 5’8” or shorter get the 65cm ball, if you are 5’4” or shorter, you can inflate the 65cm ball to only 60cm. The balls are made to take your weight, no matter your size but you don’t want to over inflate your birth ball.