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Birthing balls

Spotlight on:

Why birthing balls

Exercise and birthing balls

What to watch out for

 

My online week-by-week pregnancy Pilates programme incorporates lots of birthing ball exercises which will keep you strong, mobile and ache-free throughout pregnancy and beyond.

Want to give it a FREE try?

 

 

Birthing balls are not some magical piece of equipment designed specifically for the 9 months of pregnancy, but are in actual fact exactly the same as the Swiss balls that you see in gyms or at physiotherapy clinics. They are also frequently referred to as fitballs, and the great piece of news is that if you decide to buy a birthing ball now, you’ll also be able to incorporate it within your post pregnancy exercise regime and eventually build up your core strength to levels that you probably never dreamed of achieving.

As long as you are aware of the dos and don’ts of pregnancy exercise and use your birthing ball safely, it will become an essential and incredibly beneficial tool in your pregnancy survival kit. Just make sure that you keep safe by downloading my FREE Pregnancy Exercise Guide with 15 top tips on keeping exercise safe in pregnancy.

 

Download your FREE guide from the top right hand corner

Why birthing balls?


Birthing balls can help


• With posture in pregnancy

• Relieve pregnancy back pain

• With performing pelvic floor exercises

• Keep your deep layer of abdominals toned

• Support you during an active birth

• With relaxation

• You cope with contractions during your labour

Exercise and birthing balls


Birthing balls are an incredibly versatile piece of fitness equipment during pregnancy and beyond but even if you never get round to using them for specific exercises, they make excellent seats at mealtime or when watching television because they encourage you to sit tall. This will, in turn, help reduce back pain.

Many of my online workouts include exercises on a birthing ball but in the meantime here’s a little taster to get you started. Just remember to keep things safe by downloading my FREE Pregnancy Exercise Guide with 15 top tips on keeping exercise safe in pregnancy.

 

Download your FREE guide from the top right hand corner

 

Now, let’s get you started with a birthing ball:


Pelvic tilts on a birthing ball


Pelvic tilts are perfect for relieving tension in the lower back, especially as your bump gets heavier and your pelvis starts to tilt forward. Take a look at the two pictures and then carefully follow my step by step instructions:

 

Pregnancy exercise on a birthing ball Pelvic tilt on a birthing ball
Start position End position

 

  1. Sit tall on your birthing ball with good posture: shoulders back and down, neck long, chest lifted and abdominals gently pulled inwards.
  2. Tuck/tilt your pelvis under so that you are rounding and lengthening through your lower back (lumbar spine) – see the second picture.
  3. Feel the lower abdominals tightening around the bottom of your bump, and a pleasant release of tension in your lower back.
  4. Repeat until tension in lower back releases.


Child’s pose using a birthing ball


This is an incredibly relaxing stretch for pregnancy and you will feel the tensions in your back, shoulders, neck and chest wash away as you let yourself sink into this move.

 

Pregnancy exercises on a birthing ball

  1. Place your hands on the birthing ball in front of you.
  2. Sit back onto your heels.
  3. Relax through the whole of your spine, from your neck down to your tailbone. Inhale deeply and as you exhale, let yourself sink downwards.


Pelvic floor exercises on a birthing ball


Doing your pelvic floor exercises on a birthing ball will encourage you to focus on posture, so why not do at least one of your three daily sets of PFEs on the fitball and get double the benefit?

 

Pelvic floor exercises on a birthing ball

 

  1. Sit tall on your birthing ball with good posture: shoulders back and down, neck long, chest lifted and abdominals gently pulled inwards.
  2. Start off by pulling up at the “back passage”, as if stopping yourself from passing wind in public!
  3. Now pull up at the “front passage”, as if stopping yourself from weeing.
  4. You can place a hand at the very bottom of your abdominals (just above your pubic bone and at the very bottom of your bump) to see if you can feel your deep abdominals co-contracting with the pelvic floor. If you can feel this area tensing up under your hand, then you know that you are doing your PF pull ups correctly.
  5. Try to relax the rest of the body, and remember to BREATHE as you pull up.

 

Birthing balls: what to watch out for

 

  • The first thing you need to do is make sure that you buy the correct size birthing ball - 65cm or 75cm – and this is determined by how tall you are
     

Up to 175cm tall you should choose the 65cm ball

Over 175cm in height and you will need the 75cm ball

  • Once the ball is well pumped up – that’s your partner’s job! – take a seat on it and check the angle of your knees. The angle should be more than 90º as this will encourage good posture, and shift the weight of your baby forwards, thus relieving pressure from your lower back.
     
  • Balance: as your pregnancy progresses, you will find that your balance is affected and this is due to a shift in your centre of gravity caused by your growing bump. Just be aware of this when sitting on a birthing ball as the last thing you want is to actually fall off it. If you do find yourself wobbling around towards the end of pregnancy, I would suggest placing the birthing ball in the corner of a room and then taking a seat on it. This means that the ball is safely wedged in position which will, admittedly, make it hard to do certain exercises – such as hip rotations – but, on the other hand, it will still enable you to perform upper body work and pelvic floor exercises without the worry of falling off.

 

My online week-by-week pregnancy Pilates programme incorporates lots of birthing ball exercises which will keep you strong, mobile and ache-free throughout pregnancy and beyond.

Want to give it a FREE try?

 

Pregnancy exercise programme

 

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Pregnancy Exercise
Now that you are pregnant you need to make sure that you know the "dos and don'ts" of prenatal exercise. Here's the perfect guide for you!


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