Best Tips On How And When To Start Using Birthing Ball For Moms-To-Be

when to start using birthing ball

Birthing ball exercises are a great way to relieve lower back pain, open up the pelvic muscles in preparation for the delivery of your baby, relieve spinal pressure, and improve posture and flexibility.

Many pregnant women have heard that a birth ball can be beneficial during pregnancy, but many women aren’t sure when to start shopping for birthing balls or when to use birth balls regularly to prepare for childbirth.

This article is about birth ball exercises when to start using birthing ball, how to use it, and the difference you may experience in using a birthing ball versus exercise balls—hopefully, all questions you may have about using a birthing ball.

If not, you can always speak with birthing ball specialists for more exact and individualized information.

When to start using birthing ball

You may have already got some experience with exercise balls, and you don’t need to be shown how to use one for pain relief of everyday joint pain in the hips and knees and stiffness and soreness of the spine.

Even if this is the case, understanding that moving your body, finding your balance and maintaining it, and moving during birthing ball exercises is different when you’re pregnant than when you’re simply sitting on it for yoga, meditation, or regular exercises outside of pregnancy.

The sooner, the better

You may think there’s only a point in using birthing balls once you get close to your due date. However, it’s best to be prepared.

If you already have a birthing ball or an exercise ball, you can start sitting on it and practicing exercises right away.

This way, you’ll learn how your body has changed and how much you need to compensate for the bigger belly, growing uterus, and slower reflexes.

Many doctors tell pregnant women that the best time to use a birthing ball is in the second trimester when the body is starting to change and your belly is growing at a noticeable pace.

If you are further along than that or haven’t chosen which birth ball is best for you, that’s okay. Starting to use a birthing ball in the third trimester is fine, as well.

You just want to be able to practice with it before you have an urgent need for it, if at all possible.

when to start using birthing ball

Different kinds of balls

A round birthing ball is something that most of us can picture in our minds. Most of us probably imagine what equates to a huge playground ball.

However, there are actually a few different types of balls that can be used to practice birthing ball exercises, and there are slight differences between them.

1. Birthing ball

An actual birthing ball is a bit different from other sorts of balls because it is designed to be sat on by a pregnant woman. They usually have grips or ridges, so they are textured, and you won’t slide off them easily.

A birthing ball is also usually a bit larger than other balls. This makes getting up and down from it easier for soon-to-be moms. 

You want to avoid falling at all costs.

2. Exercise balls

An exercise ball is essentially the same as a birthing ball. Made from the same puncture-resistant material you find in a birthing ball, an exercise ball is smaller and sleeker and may only come in one size in some brands.

People who substitute one of these for a birthing ball will see the same results as they would a birthing ball. These balls made for exercise are just a bit trickier to maneuver and stay on.

3. Peanut ball

Like a birthing ball, a peanut ball is sturdy and resistant to bursting. However, it’s the shape that matters with this ball. 

Larger at the ends and thin in the middle, these balls are shaped like peanuts.

A peanut ball is great because you can use it on a bed or put your legs wide around it or over it.

Birthing balls like these are generally a bit more pricey, but many women say it’s worth the extra investment for the comfortable position they are allowed to assume on a peanut ball.

Exercise ball for pregnancy

Although there are a few different types of birthing balls to choose from, you only need to purchase an actual birthing ball if it’s within the budget or if you already have an exercise ball.

Many women use exercise balls in place of a birthing ball and have no issues whatsoever.

That being said, there are a few special precautions that you should consider taking when using a birthing ball that isn’t manufactured for maternity purposes.

1. Start using it earlier

If you have an exercise ball instead of an actual birthing ball, you should start practicing using it before you begin showing. 

These sorts of balls don’t usually have grips and tend to be smaller than exercise balls.

Practicing a little bit daily throughout your pregnancy may be the safest option.

2. Select a safe and padded area

You won’t care much about labor pain relief if you’re injured trying to use a birthing ball that’s not marketed or sold for pregnancy purposes.

To avoid injury on your makeshift labor ball, practice birthing ball positions on a carpeted floor where there are no obstacles that can injure you.

Try not to be alone when you use your birthing ball so that if an injury does occur or you slip off and can’t get up, you will have someone close who can help you.

You should avoid sharp objects in the room, wear nonslip shoes, and slightly deflate the ball if it does not have an anti-slip finish.

To do this, deflate slowly until you sink into the ball. This will help you to stay on the ball and not slide off.

3. Get the right size birthing ball

For optimal results in pain management and increased safety, always select a birthing ball that is the correct size for you.

There are three standard sizes of birthing balls, and each brand may differ slightly.

Make sure you read the manufacturer’s manual or box to select the correct size before purchasing a birthing ball.

when to start using birthing ball

The benefits of birthing balls

Mothers-to-be, doctors, and midwives swear by birthing balls for their many benefits. Understanding how they can help may allow you to decide to try one of these reasonably priced and invaluable tools.

1. Reduce pain in back muscles

During pregnancy, our backs take their toll! 

Sitting on a birthing ball while working or watching TV can help relieve back pain during pregnancy, especially in the final months.

It can also help your posture, as the core muscles are strengthened during exercises. And it’s never bad to work out your tummy muscles and increase blood flow.

2. Helps move baby to an anterior position

Leaning forward or rocking on a birthing ball helped many women to switch their babies from the posterior position, which can put a lot of stress on the mom’s body.

This shift can cause a huge difference in the level of pain and soreness you experience in the last stages of pregnancy.

3. Labor pain management

Labor pains are no joke. Using gym balls or birthing balls during labor pain can make for less painful labor for most women.

To achieve this, you can assume a standing, kneeling, sitting, or bouncing position.

How to use a birthing ball

Now that we’ve established that a birthing ball can benefit you before and during the process of giving birth and that they’re good exercise, we should discuss how to use them.

The following are some ways you can use a birthing ball to benefit yourself before and after childbirth.

  • Sit upright and rock back and forth with your hips while keeping your upper body still. This will encourage your baby to start descending into the birth canal and help your pelvic floor relax.
  • Try the hula hoop exercise. If you have ever used a hula hoop, imagine that you’re doing it while sitting on a gym ball. To relieve pelvic pressure, rotate the hips in a circular motion.
  • Gently bounce to help induce labor. The birthing process sometimes needs a little bit of help to get started. Some women claim that bouncing on a ball gently can help induce labor. Choose upright positions that don’t cause pain, sit comfortably with your feet shoulder-width apart, and bounce gently.
  • To relieve pain in a vaginal birth, lean on a birthing ball when a contraction occurs, and have your partner apply counter pressure to your back or your hips. This will relieve some of the pressure in your pelvic area and make giving birth less painful. Sit back up in an upright position, and then lean forward again when the next contraction hits.

Birthing ball exercises

Nearly 2.5 million women give birth vaginally in the US every year. If you are one of them, you can make it a more comfortable experience by utilizing the benefits of birthing balls. 

You can also use the birth ball during pregnancy to prepare your body for the impending delivery.

Women who go to the gym tend to be more receptive to using a birthing ball, but any woman should try it. It’s relatively safe and incredibly beneficial.

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