Pregnancy is a rewarding experience for people who choose to have kids. However, this does not take away from the fact that the process takes a huge toll on the person carrying the baby.
One of the main tools used to make it a little more comfortable is a birthing ball. This article goes over everything you need to know about it.
Start using your birthing ball at the end of your first trimester or the start of your second trimester. This is when your body begins experiencing physical changes and requires support. Birthing balls make the process more comfortable.
Continue reading for more information on when to start using an exercise ball in pregnancy and how it can help you during the different stages of it.
Why Using A Birthing Ball Early on is Beneficial
Birthing balls can help you deal with back pains during the early stages of pregnancy. You can use it while working or watching TV.
Either way, it will reduce back pain and help your baby move to an anterior position.
The posterior position can lead to a lot of lower back pain which isn’t ideal, especially if you’re a working parent.
Sitting on a birthing ball during this period can prepare your body for labor, strengthen your stomach and back pains, and improve posture. These benefits are super helpful during the early and later stages of pregnancy.
Later Stages of Pregnancy
Back pains only worsen as the pregnancy progresses, so birthing balls continue being helpful.
Use them as necessary during each stage of your pregnancy and consult your gynecologist if back pains and other symptoms get too severe.
Here are 4 of the most important benefits of using birthing balls during this period:
- Reduces spinal pressure allowing you to move around with ease
- Decreases pressure on your knees and ankles, which makes standing easier
- Reduces the pain of contractions making the last month of pregnancy more comfortable
- Helps open up pelvic muscles, which is a big help during labor
Birthing Balls During Labor
Birthing balls can help a ton during labor as well. They’re great for reducing pressure on your spine, easing pelvic pain, and toning down labor pain.
Sit on the ball and rock from front to back or side to side. You can also lean forward while someone massages your back. Both are excellent ways to utilize the birthing ball and get benefits from it.
Using A Birthing Ball After Giving Birth
Once you’ve given birth, your body will take a while to get back to normal. This means you’ll continue to experience pain and discomfort, especially in the area between your vagina and anus.
A deflated birthing ball is soft and quite comfortable to sit on. It provides support to this vulnerable part of your body.
You can use a birthing ball for breastfeeding or rocking your baby to sleep. Furthermore, it is a great alternative to chairs. So you can use it while sitting at the dinner table or at your desk.
5 Tips for Using A Birthing Ball for the First Time
1. Choose the Right Size
The ideal birthing ball size for you depends on how tall you are. Consult this table for guidance:
|Height||Birthing ball size|
|Less than 5”4’||55 cm|
|Between 5”4’ and 5”10’||65 cm|
|More than 5”10’||75 cm|
Choosing the right size is important because it ensures you are comfortable. If the ball is too big, you won’t be able to sit on it properly. Your grip will go down, and there is a good chance of you falling off the ball.
Conversely, if you get a super small ball, you will fall off as well. There won’t be enough space on the ball for you to sit on.
2. Make Sure Your Feet Touch the Floor When on the Ball
Keep an eye out for whether your feet touch the floor when you’re buying the birth ball. While you can largely rely on the table given above comparing height and ball size, it is crucial to try out the ball.
If you can’t comfortably place your feet on the floor, you won’t have control while sitting on the ball.
This can lead to accidents and makes the ball basically worthless. It won’t help you and will be more of a burden.
3. Buy A Pressure-Tested Ball from A Reputable Brand
Ensure that the ball you’re getting:
- is from a reputable brand
- has been pressure tested to support up to 300 kg weight
Don’t waste your money on unreliable birth balls. Instead, get one reliable ball that will last you the entire duration of your pregnancy.
Also, take a quick look at the user manual to check if the ball has been pressure tested to support up to 300 kgs. You’re expected to gain around 12 kgs during the entire period. So you may not weigh this much right now or even during your pregnancy.
It is still important because you want a sturdy ball that can not only handle your weight but can also deal with you bouncing on it, putting your entire weight on it, squishing it, and throwing it around. This requires high-pressure tolerance.
Make sure you’re getting the best for yourself and your child.
4. Start Using the Birthing Ball Early On in Your Pregnancy
Don’t wait till back pains become unbearable in the third trimester to start using a birthing ball. Do it early on. This helps you because:
- You can prevent a lot of labor pains because this is a form of preventative care.
- You have more time to get used to how the ball works, which makes it more effective down the line when discomfort increases.
- You can be productive in terms of doing work etc., for a longer portion of your pregnancy because you have an effective coping mechanism for the pain and discomfort.
- You’re more mobile and can pick out your own birthing ball which ensures that you’re getting the right size.
You’ll be looking back on your pregnancy and thinking about how much your birthing ball helped in no time. Until that time, use this tool as much as you need.
5. Keep the Ball Away from Sharp Objects, Heat Generators, and Pets
Sharp objects, heat generators like radiators, and pets can damage your birthing ball very easily.
Since the ball is filled with air, a sharp object can burst it open and destroy it. A deflated birthing ball is of no use to pregnant women.
Heat generators can heat up the air molecules inside your birthing ball. This increases their pressure. After a certain point, the pressure will become too much, and your ball will burst from the inside out.
Pets tend to have sharp nails and teeth, which do the same thing as regular sharp objects.
Start using your birth ball as soon as you start noticing physical changes in your body.
Your spine will need support, and you will need time to get used to how the ball works for the later period of your pregnancy and during labor, when spinal support becomes crucial.
Becoming familiar with the birth ball and birth ball exercises can go a long way in making the process easier for you. It has several benefits, including:
- Ensuring you have a proper posture which helps support your back
- Getting the baby in the right position before labor
- Helping you stay upright
How to use a birthing ball during labor?
There are 2 main types of birth ball exercises. You can sit on it and rock from front to back or right to left.
This will support your back and get your baby’s head into an upright position. Alternatively, you can try leaning forward on the ball while your partner massages your back. Both are effective ways to use the ball that will reduce your discomfort.
Can a birthing ball help induce labor?
No, birthing balls can not induce labor or break your water.
Birthing ball exercises can help your pelvic muscles feel more comfortable through the process, but they can’t make it go by any faster. If you’re experiencing extreme discomfort and would like labor-inducing techniques or pain relief, consult your doctor.
What is the ideal size of a birthing ball?
The right size of a birthing ball depends from person to person. You can figure out what’s right for you by using your height as a reference.
- Below 5”4’- 55 cm
- Between 5”4’ and 5”10’ – 65 cm
- Above 5”10’ – 75 cm
What is the difference between a gym ball and a birthing ball?
Birth balls are bigger than gym balls, and they are made with an anti-slip finish which means there is a very low chance of you falling off them.
Beyond this, both kinds of balls are very similar. They’re made from the same material, have the same shape, and are almost equally comfortable.