Birthing balls can be used for exercising, or getting into a comfortable position during pregnancy, labour and after your baby is born.
Benefits of using a birthing ball
Exercising on a birthing ball can help in reducing your back pain. It will also make it easier for you to move around during pregnancy. Talking about labour, exercising on birthing ball can reduce the pain of contractions, especially if you have started exercising on it 2 months in advance before you give birth. Along with this, birthing ball exercising also help you in reducing your anxiety levels and shortens the first stage of labour. However, if you feel dizzy or sick, just stop.
Difference between a birthing ball and a gym ball?
Birthing balls and gym balls are mostly the same thing. Both can be made from anti-burst materials which means they deflate slowly if punctured. But you have to make sure your ball is anti-burst. To be on a safer side, keep sharp objects away from the ball, just in case. Keep it away from rough surfaces or near heat like radiators, open fires and stoves.
Some birthing balls also come with a non-slip finish, which helps them to grip the floor. Mostly they are made of latex-free materials like PVC but if you have a latex allergy, make sure you check before using.
What size birthing ball should be used during pregnancy?
Your height will be the guide to the size of ball that will be right for you. Ideally, your knees should be about 10cm (4in) lower than your hips when you sit on it. Keep this in mind:
- If you are up to 1.73m (5ft 8in) in height, it’s best to get a 65cm ball.
- If you’re 1.75m (5ft 9in) or taller then it’s best to get a 75cm ball.
A birthing ball will take your weight, whatever size you are. Fine quality birthing and gym balls are pressure-tested to sustain weights up to 300kg.
You may have to buy a pump, as many balls do not come with one. Inflate the ball so that it is firm. If the ball is too soft then it may not be as effective so do try to get the right size for you.
Birthing ball during pregnancy
Sit comfortably while you’re working or relaxing
Birthing ball is much more comfortable, and easier to get on and off, than a hard chair or soft sofa.
Also, sitting on a birthing is a mini-workout. As you rock or bounce on it gently, your belly and back muscles will work hard to keep you upright.
Get some gentle exercise
Birthing ball can help you improve your posture and balance, and you can also exercise your belly muscles using a birthing ball. It will also protect your back and help you get back into shape after you’ve given birth. This will help your body support the weight of your pregnancy.
Try getting on to your knees and leaning forward over the ball. This may help your baby’s back to swing forward so it is in an anterior position, with his back towards your belly. Although your baby may not stay that way until you go in the labour but it will definitely give you some temporary relief from backache.
Practise positions for labour
Try out different positions for labour while you’re still pregnant, to discover which ones are more comfortable for you.
How to use birthing ball during labour?
Sit across the ball and move your pelvis from side to side or back and forth.
Lean on the birthing ball from a kneeling position on the floor.
Get into a hands-and-knees position by hugging the birthing ball. Lift your bottom up from a kneeling position. Next, move the pelvis from side to side.
Lean over the ball from a standing position, with the ball on the bed or another surface.
Techniques that can be used in first stage labour:
These positions will give your partner enough space to support you, massage you or apply pressure to your lower back during contractions.
When you enter the pushing stage, you will want to avoid sitting. Use the leaning or hands-and-knees positions. This will reduce the pressure off your bottom and will give your baby enough space to descend with each contraction.
Generally, hospitals wards and birth centres have birthing balls for women to use during labour. If you are used to your own birthing ball, take it along with you. Clean it afterwards by washing it with warm soapy water.
To get more such pregnancy related information, download Ango Health app today.