Who doesn’t love to sit on a bouncing yoga ball? It is even better for you when you are pregnant. These balls have been known to help your posture and back even at work, so it seems fitting that mothers-to-be would want to get in on the action.
Sitting in a static position is not good for anyone, especially pregnant women. The responsiveness of the ball allows you to keep your body in motion at all times. Whether you need to move your hips, lower back, shoulder or neck – this ball will allow you to move in all directions without falling off.
A stiff chair, on the other hand, is rigid. You cannot move and you become as stiff as the chair by the time you stand back up. Yoga balls, or birthing balls, are great for pregnancy pain because the micro-movements can target the area that hurt you the most.
Yoga balls are also used during labour. These days at the hospital, women lay on their back with their feet resting upward. Back in the day, women used to squat and roll or do whatever they had to in order to get through the labour the best they could. Why did we change? The Medical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology states that
“the use of a birthing ball appears to result in a shorter duration of first and second stages of labor.”The Medical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
The National Library of Medicine published a study revealed that
birth ball exercises provided statistically significant improvements in childbirth self-efficacy and pain. Specifically, self-efficacy had a 30-40% mediating effect on relationships between birth ball exercises and childbirth pain. Mothers in the experimental group had shorter first-stage labour duration, less epidural analgesia, and fewer caesarean deliveries than the control group.The National Library of Medicine
So now that you know the medical benefits of yoga balls and pregnancy, let’s have a look at the best yoga balls in the market, the benefits on your body and the exercises you can do with them.
Top 5 Yoga Ball For Pregnancy Reviewed and Rated
Baby Bump Birth Ball with Base Legs
This birthing ball is probably the best yoga ball for pregnancy and is unique compared to the others. It has six little legs that give pregnant women that little extra bit of stability when you need to move around a bit. They are strong enough to hold the extra weight too. This ball has been called the new rocking chair because it is both stable and flexible at the same time.
Also, if you are an eco-conscious buyer, this ball is perfect for you. It is made out of 100% recycled materials and is free of phthalate, latex, and BPA. This means that you and your baby are free from any toxic risk which is always something good to know.
Taking care of your belongings is part of making them last longer. The ball comes with care instructions so that you can keep your birthing ball durable throughout all three trimesters of your pregnancy. This ball is not going to pop, leek or burst!
Wekin’s Anti-Burst Exercise Ball Chair
Speaking of bursting, if you are worried about such an occurrence then check out Wekin’s Anti-Burst Exercise Ball Chair. Production of this ball is all about durability. This ball is about 400 grams more dense than the average ball making it more durable and stable.
This ball is also great if you would like to use it after your pregnancy. The office, rehabilitation, and gym are all activities that this ball is suitable for. You can buy this ball in three different sizes too, so you can make sure that you get the right one for you.
URBNFit Yoga Ball
URBNFit yoga balls are some of the best on the market. These balls are affordable and made from top-quality anti-burst and slip material, making them perfect for pregnancy, home-gyms or casual use.
They come in a wide variety of colours including : black, grey, purple, red, pink, and more. They also come in 5 different sizes making it easier to tailor your purchase to your needs.
Another reason why women love this ball is because of the exercise sheet that you get with it which is always useful. You never really know where to start and what is safe and not safe. Having a sheet given from a company who focuses on the product is nice to have. Just remember to bring it to your yoga teacher to makes sure you are doing the poses correctly!
The Birth Ball
The Birth Ball is another yoga ball for pregnancy that includes easy-to-follow exercises for you to do. This company cares about safety. It is designed to give pregnant women peace of mind while they sit on it, because in the end – anything can happen and women should not be so dependent on reflexes in case they fall.
This product is anti-slip which is so critical when you do not have little legs to support or a stability ring. It is also made very thick – about three times thicker than most of the yoga balls on the market. This gives it its anti-burst appeal.
It is also worth noting that it is three times thicker compared to leading competitors, which will prevent it from bursting. As an extra gift with your purchase, the company includes a hospital go bag so that you can be really prepared when the time comes to deliver.
Yogu Stability Ball
Yogu Stability Ball is popular because of the labour induced exercises that are included with the purchase. Labour takes a huge toll on your back and this birthing ball also helps you to get your back back into shape after the delivery.
It is made from quality materials giving it a nice texture and enough anti-slip that you can do your exercises without any worry. Some buyers even see it as a good luck charm. A few women have bought the ball to practice sitting and squatting. The next day, they went into the hospital for a fast delivery! Now if that isn’t a reason to buy it, we don’t know what is.
GalSports Pregnancy Yoga Ball
If you are looking for a ball that is non-toxic, durable and comes in pale glitter colours, then this ball is the one for you. The shine on the ball comes from its matte surface that increases anti-slip. Perfect for enhancing friction and doing yoga birthing poses safely without slipping.
The honeycomb structure helps support a heavier weight and prevents the ball from bursting incase there is a puncture from a sharp object on the floor. Instead, it will slowly deflate and won’t put any pregnant women in danger by taking them by surprise.
Benefits of a yoga ball during pregnancy
Being pregnant is hard on the body. Each woman will have a different toll on her body but most will complain about their back, stress, pelvis, and abdomens. Women who exercise every day even before they are pregnant are not immune either. Everyone will go through some sort of discomfort, stiffness or pain in their muscles.
With the correct yoga ball, the right balance and special exercises for pregnancy, women can alleviate the pressure on their bodies. From helping with back pain, hip pain, inducing labour and getting you back into shape after delivery, the yoga ball is definitely worth the investment and the keep.
Yoga balls have also proven to help both mothers and babies post pregnancy. It is a great way to heal and recover quickly. It even gives you energy boosts which is exactly what mothers need after a new baby is born.
Your baby can get in on the fun too. Sitting and bouncing on a yoga ball with your baby gives them great comfort and can also help them to get into that deep sleep that you will be very grateful for. The more your baby sleeps, the more the parents sleep! Just rock back and forth with your baby in your arms and presto! Sleep town.
Using a yoga ball to sit on also creates counter-force to the perineum and thighs. It also adds extra support in your legs. The gentle movement you make while sitting increases the blood flow through the placenta.
Yoga ball for pregnancy back pain and hip pain
No matter how comfortable your sofa is, it is hard to find that right position when you are pregnant. It gets even more difficult as you reach your third trimester. Once you have sunk into those cushions, you won’t be getting up anytime soon as it keeps getting more and more difficult.
A yoga ball works to avoid slumping and helps you maintain a good posture. This is so crucial towards the end of the nine months when you need your baby to get into the right position before giving birth.
You can always alternate by watching TV on a chair and after a certain amount of time, moving onto the yoga ball. You will feel how much your body relaxes and helps you to get more comfortable immediately. The reason you are more comfortable is because your weight is balanced and your spine is free from pressure which relieves you of back pain.
Yoga ball and labour
Pregnancy yoga ball exercises have been said to help women of all ages to induce labor. The exercises in the last trimester help turn the baby into the direction of the birthing canal. Once the baby is in the best position, your water will break.
Ask any midwife, they will probably tell you that they use birthing balls and have been using them for a long time. Most people believe that the ball helps with dilation as well as moving the baby down the birthing canal. Once contractions begin and you get ready for delivery, the yoga ball acts like a giant stress ball and physical support. Women can find a way to handle the pain and find more suitable birthing labour positions.
Below is a list of a couple of go-to yoga ball positions that help induce labour:
This is a common exercise that helps to induce labour and help your baby get into the correct position for delivery. All you do is bounce on the ball gently. The soft movements help your baby’s head turn towards the birthing canal.
Rocking is exactly the same principle and is said to bring about the same outcome. Sit on the yoga ball and gently rock your pelvic bone back and forth to ease any pain that you may feel and also help the baby to rotate.
Put your weight on your coccyx first and then towards your pelvic bone. You will start to feel better immediately while at the same time, help your baby get ready to come into the world!
This one may seem a little more complicated position to get into but once you are in it, it is worth it! Lean over the ball so that your hands and knees are on the ground and supporting you. Make sure you get the right size yoga ball to do this. You will feel the tension loosen up around your hips. These muscles are the ones that promote quicker dilation.
You’ll notice how comfortable it can be to be in this position. What’s even better is that the yoga ball supports you and removes pressure from your wrists, forearms and knees. All you have to do is get the motivation to get up again. And with the yoga ball, it becomes that much easier than getting off your sofa.
Sitting on a yoga ball is not just for pregnant women. Exercise balls have been brought into the office to replace normal office chairs for a reason. It can be strenuous to sit on a stiff chair for 8 hours a day at the workplace.
Yoga balls help you avoid resting on your back and instead free your back to stay upright and strengthen your core muscles. You learn how to be more stable and increase your muscle strength in your lower back. Your baby is also in line with gravity and is rotating into the right position.
Wall Supported Squats:
This is the most popular and effective exercise to help induce labour. Wall squats are known for loosening the pelvis to generate more room for your baby to move smoothly to the birthing canal. This position is optimal when you are getting closer to the big moment and your baby has already started to get into position.
All you need to do is have the yoga ball between your back and the wall starting with the ball at top of your back. Slowly roll down with the ball going towards your lower back and your knees squatting outwards. Go as far as you feel is far enough and then slowly roll the ball back up towards the top of your spine.
Best size yoga ball for pregnancy
So you know that the yoga ball, or birthing ball, is going to be part of your journey. You have some ideas about the brand you will buy, but there is still one important question to answer. What yoga ball size for pregnancy is best?
Some balls come in three to five different sizes. Why not just get all of them?! They each have benefits, but the best ones to get can be measured according to your height.
In order to know which one is best for you try out this test:
Ask your yoga instructor if you can sit on a birthing ball during class to help you understand which size is the best for you. Sit on the ball and put the soles of your feet flat on the ground. Your hips should be at knee-level or fraction of centimeters higher.
If your hips are below your knees it will be both discomforting and will close the pelvic muscles which is the exact opposite of what you want. You want your pelvis to open and help your baby get into position.
You can also choose your yoga ball using your height:
- 55 cm – for women under 1.6 meters
- 65 cm – for women between 1.6 and 1.77 meters
- 75 cm – for women over 1.7 meters
Are you in between sizes? Women have shared that they usually go bigger rather than smaller. You can always underflate the ball a bit so that it is customised to your needs. Make sure to get the right size yoga ball. If not, then you will narrow the pelvis region, the ball will be unstable and will increase loss of balance.
Exercises on yoga ball for pregnancy
Pregnancy yoga ball workouts are great once you know which ones to do and how to do them. Make sure that you go to your yoga instructor and doctor first. You can always bring the exercises sheet that some yoga balls give you when you purchase the product. Here are another two you can try out that we didn’t mention earlier:
Shoulder Blade Squeeze:
When you sit on your ball, stay upright and straight. Let your arms rest down the sides. Start to bring your shoulder blades together gently and hold for a few seconds – then release. Do this 8 times. This position is known to help your posture and release pressure from your upper back which comes from both the baby and your breasts growing.
This shoulder exercise is done with weights or dumbbells. Sit once again on your ball the same way that you did in the previous shoulder blade squeeze exercise. Have the dumbbells in your hands or get someone who can give them to you.
Lift the weights by bending your arms towards your face so that the dumbbells are at eye-level. Then bring your arms above your head. Hold for a breath and bring the weights down. Do this 8 times. This will help increase your upper body muscle strength and will also release tension on your neck and shoulders.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
There are many ways to use your yoga ball. You can do some simple yoga exercises and bends, you can do positions that help to induce labour and you can simply sit on the ball to help relieve any pain that your muscles feel during the nine months of your pregnancy.
As mentioned earlier – follow your height, your knees and your feet. If you feel like your toes are hitting the floor on their tips, then the ball is too big. If your knees come too high over your seated position, then the ball is too low.
Check the height measurements that we indicated and remember – if you are in between sizes, it is better to go bigger and make the ball smaller when you inflate it rather than getting a smaller ball that you can never adjust to your size.
According to Mama Natural, a yoga ball can:
Help balance the ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the pelvic area so baby can settle into an optimal position
During labor, it may coax baby into a better position
Helps strengthen the lower back
Helps to open the pelvis
May support an easier, shorter labor
May reduce pain during labor
May increase blood flow to the uterus
Can relieve back pain and back labor
Reduce the likelihood of needing an epidural or C-section
Reduce stress and anxiety
It relieves pain, helps you stay comfortable when it is difficult to sit on a chair or sofa and supports you during yoga practice. Using a yoga ball during pregnancy has been known to help induce labour and is used as a tool during labour.
It helps you get the baby into the birthing canal just before delivery, can help you to dilate and can support you in the different positions you may need to be in during labour. It also helps you after delivery! Just bounce on the ball with your baby to help your posture, and relax both of you!
In general, you can start at any time. But it is important to note that any exercise in the first trimester must be minimal. Avoid postures that bend your abdomen or risk a miscarriage. The ball is especially great during your second trimester and even more of a god send during the third trimester.