What is a Birthing ball or exercise ball?
A birthing ball is an exercise ball for pregnant women that helps in adequately preparing the mother’s body for pregnancy and delivery. These are stronger than regular exercise balls and are designed to be anti-burst. Upon accidental puncture, they deflate slowly rather than bursting suddenly. They have a non-slip surface to ensure that they do not slide or roll easily.
Birthing ball or exercise ball is recommended to expecting mothers to strengthen their stomach and back muscles during pregnancy. Studies have shown that using a birth ball reduces back, hip and pelvic pain. It also lowers anxiety levels of women in labor and shortens the first stage of labor.
Does birthing ball encourage labor?
Exercising on a birthing ball in labor helps to encourage contractions for a natural delivery. During labor, the birth ball helps the baby to move into an optimal position for the process of birthing by facilitating foetal head rotation and descent. This speeds up dilation, making the first stage of labor shorter, easier and less painful.
Birthing ball advantages
The use of birthing ball has manifold advantages and benefits during pregnancy as well as labor.
- Birthing ball helps maintain a good posture during pregnancy.
- During pregnancy, regular exercise on a birthing ball strengthens muscles of the lower back.
- The ligaments and tendons of the pelvic muscles are adequately exercised and stretched and are ready for delivery.
- Birthing ball increases blood flow to the uterus, placenta and the growing baby, which leads to the development of a strong and healthy baby in the womb. Lack of adequate blood flow to the uterus is linked to miscarriages.
- Use of a birthing ball relieves pressure on the spinal muscles.
- The use of a birthing ball puts the expectant mother in some control of her delivery and offers great emotional and psychological benefits.
- It helps to reduce anxiety levels of the mother and greatly assists in undergoing an easy and natural delivery.
- It provides the freedom of mobility during labor, which is crucial for pain management.
- Increased mobility or freedom of movement during the initial stages of labor reduces dependency on medicines for pain management.
- Birthing ball reduces pressure on the lower abdomen, perineum and thighs during labor.
Birthing ball exercises
Birthing ball exercises strengthen, comfort and prepare your body muscles for labor.
- Sit on the birthing ball upright with your feet flat on the ground and apart from each other. Your ball should be large enough so that your hips are at the same level or slightly lower than your knees. Sitting straight helps the baby to move into a favorable anterior position.
- Replace the chair with a birthing ball while sitting on the computer or watching TV.
- Rock your hips from left to right slowly while sitting on the ball. Make sure that your feet are wide apart.
- Sway your hips front to back slowly while sitting on the ball.
- Make small circles with your hips while sitting on the ball.
- Move on to making a small figure 8 on the birth ball by moving your hips.
- Gently bouncing on the ball during pregnancy strengthens your legs and improves your balance.
After the birth of your baby, birthing balls are great to condition the core belly muscles and get back in shape.
Source of banner image: 4thtrimesterfitness
Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.
Also read: Prenatal Exercises to do at Home With Home Equipment