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How to Use an Exercise Ball During Pregnancy

written by: TheresaHalvorsen • edited by: Lisa Lambson • updated: 1/24/2009

An exercise or a birthing ball is a must have for pregnant women. Doing exercise ball workouts during pregnancy help decrease pregnancy discomforts and prepare the body for labor and birth. Learn more about exercise ball exercises you can do during pregnancy such as pelvic tilts with a ball.

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    Choosing a Birthing Ball

    When using a birthing or exercise ball during pregnancy, you'll want to choose the right one. Make sure that whatever ball you choose is burst resistant. This means that if it gets a hole in it, it'll slowly deflate rather than popping. You'll also want to choose a ball based on your height. In general, women under 5 feet, 2 inches will be most comfortable on a 55 cm ball. Taller women (over 5 feet 10 inches) will probably prefer a 75 cm ball. Everyone else will like a 65 cm ball. Always inflate or deflate the ball so that your knees are directly over your feet and at a 90 degree angle.

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    Exercise Ball Workouts During Pregnancy

    Sit on the Ball

    Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Simply sitting on it can improve your posture, balance and even strengthen stomach muscles.

    Bounce on the Ball

    While in a sitting position, try rhythmically bouncing on the ball to strengthen leg and abdominal muscles (use caution so you don't fall off!). Some women will also rotate their hips in a circle while sitting on the ball to strengthen abdominal muscles.

    Lunge

    Place the ball against a wall and then place the small of your back against the wall. Stand with your legs spaced a little further than your hips. Extend your left knee (so you're lunging) and hold for 5-10 seconds. Return to the start position and then do the same with the right knee. Do this for 12-15 reps. You could also sit on the ball, with the pelvis tilted back and do the same exercise to strengthen leg muscles and improve balance.

    Hands and Knees

    Get into a hands and knees position and lean over the ball so your cheek is resting on the ball. Rotate your hips or do a pelvic tilt while in this position. To do a pelvic tilt, tighten your stomach muscles so the pelvis tucks under. When you do this, your upper back will naturally round.

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    Safety Precautions

    Always check in with your doctor before starting an exercise regime during pregnancy. When doing exercise ball workouts during pregnancy use caution--your center of gravity is not the same and it is possible to fall of the ball and injure yourself. If you've never sat on an exercise ball, have someone help you the first few times you try it untl you become comfortable.

    Use your ball on a stable surface away from sharp objects. In addition, make sure your feet are bare or you're wearing non-slip shoes when doing birthing ball exercises to prevent injures.

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    References

    Perez, Polly R.N. Birth Balls, Cutting Edge Press, 2000

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    Disclaimer

    The information in this article should not be considered medical advice. The information in this article is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Always check with your physician before taking any products or following any advice you have read on Brighthub.com. Always consult your doctor before you start, stop or change anything that has been previously prescribed. Certain herbs and holistic remedies are unsuitable to take if you are pregnant or nursing and must always be cleared by your doctor before use.