A birthing ball is simply a standard exercise ball used during pregnancy. You don’t have to wait until labor to start using your birth ball. Here’s how a birthing ball can benefit you during all stages of pregnancy.
- helps with stretching, helps alleviate back and hip pain, strengthens your core muscles and prepares your body for birth, and helps get the baby in a position ready for birth. Some women replace their office chair for a birth ball in early pregnancy to help strengthen their core muscles early on.
- opens up the pelvis to allow baby into the birth canal, helps alleviate labor pains, allows for multiple positions and support. Studies have shown that women who use a birthing ball during active labor typically have less pain and experience a shorter labor.
- helps alleviate back and pelvic pain, helps your body recover more quickly.
Should you buy one? In my opinion, YES. I used one with this pregnancy and I HIGHLY recommend them.
For me, I used it to relieve pressure on my hips and back in my third trimester. I bounced on it and rotated in circles while sitting on the ball. It helped with the pain and made me feel like I was stretching and opening everything up. I also got on my hands and knees and leaned on it, again to help relieve back pressure.
What kind of ball should you buy? Make sure you get one that is between 65 cm and 75 cm, depending on your height. It is also a good idea to get one with skid-proof material. You don’t want to sit on it and it slide out from under you.
TIP: If your birthing center provides a ball for you during labor, make sure you have a barrier between you and the ball (hospital gown, chucks, towel, etc). I would hope that they get sanitized in between uses, but as a nurse, you can never take too many precautions to protect yourself from germs in a hospital.