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How do I Use an Exercise Ball During Pregnancy?

By Amanda R. Bell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Using an exercise ball during pregnancy can be an effective way to do prenatal Pilates as well as other pregnancy exercises. It can also be used to help ease the aches and pains associated with pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. Exercising while pregnant can help you have a healthy pregnancy and can also ease recovery. You can also use an exercise ball, also known as a birthing ball, during labor to ease the pain of contractions and possibly speed up the process.

While your doctor has probably discouraged any excessively strenuous exercises, gentle exercises are usually recommended as long as you are experiencing a low-risk pregnancy. Using an exercise ball during pregnancy while engaging in Pilates moves like the bridge, for example, can make your workout safe and effective without significantly raising your heart rate. To perform a bridge, place the ball against something sturdy, lean against it, and walk out until the back of your head is lying on the ball. Place your hands on the ground and proceed to raise and lower your hips. This can be a good way to strengthen your back, thus helping you to better support your growing baby.

You can use an exercise ball during pregnancy for several other exercises, especially gentle abdominal moves. Maintaining the strength in your core during pregnancy is one of the best ways to quickly bounce back after giving birth. One of the easiest moves begins by sitting up on the ball and walking your feet out until your back is resting against the prenatal exercise ball. Make sure that your hips are lower than your shoulders and gently crunch forward. The ball helps to support your back and allows you to work your abdominal muscles without harming the baby or over exerting yourself.

Whether or not you are using an exercise ball during pregnancy to work out, it is important to always discuss any exercises you are doing or plan on doing with your doctor. They have the best knowledge of what is safe for you and your baby, and can keep a look out for any signs of potential issues. It is also a good idea to use a spotter while exercising in case you slip up, helping to prevent injury. Keeping yourself in shape while pregnant will help to keep you in optimal health, thereby preparing you for the strains of labor and the recovery period afterward.

You can also use an exercise ball during pregnancy for therapeutic purposes. Especially in the third trimester, pregnant women are often plagued with aches and pains due to the extra strain of carrying a growing baby. If you are one of these women, rolling your back on the exercise ball or slowly bouncing on it while sitting can help to alleviate many of these by massaging your hips and spine.

An exercise ball has been found to be such a useful tool during labor that many hospitals and birthing centers provide them to their patients. The ball allows you to change positions during the early stages of labor, which can help move things along more quickly, and provide you with the opportunity to find the best position to relieve pain. Exercise balls have many uses during pregnancy and may make your experience of pregnancy more comfortable and healthy.

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Discussion Comments
By Rotergirl — On Jan 26, 2014

Exercise balls are a godsend for pregnancy! I had one and it and swimming were the only things that kept my back from aching all the time. The ball supported my weight and took the pressure off my spine. All I wanted to do was sit on that ball!

If I could have taken it to work and used it at my desk, I would have. As it was, I kept my feet up 90 percent of the time and had a gel cushion on my seat for hemorrhoids. That helped some, but the exercise ball was absolutely my best friend the last six weeks I carried my son!

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