How to Use Exercise Balls During Pregnancy & Labor

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Using an exercise or "pregnancy" ball during pregnancy can help to loosen up the pelvic joints and muscles in preparation for delivery. During labor, sitting on an exercise ball can relax the pelvic wall and make the spasms of childbirth less pronounced and more bearable.

How to Use Exercise Balls During Pregnancy & Labor
(Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Exercise or "pregnancy" ball, 55-85 centimeters in circumference
Step 1

Put the exercise ball on a clean floor, near a chair or other object that will help you to steady yourself should you lose your balance.

Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media
Step 2

Sit on the ball, keeping your legs between 20 and 25 inches apart and your feet on the ground in front of you.

Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media
Step 3

Slowly rock from side to side and back and forth, relaxing your pelvic muscles and ligaments. Have someone help you get onto the ball and stand up from the ball the first few times you practice the exercise until you are used to the sensation.

Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media
Step 4

Practice doing a "figure eight" rocking motion, as well as rocking in a circular fashion, clockwise, then counter-clockwise. Do this several times a day.

Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media
Step 5

Sit on the exercise ball when you are working at a low desk, watching television or just relaxing.

Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media
Step 1

Thoroughly clean and sterilize the pregnancy ball by wiping it with a sterile cloth dipped in an anti-bacterial cleaning agent.

Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media
Step 2

Place a soft, clean towel over the ball.

Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media
Step 3

Sit on the ball and rock back and forth or in a figure eight or circular motion during your contractions. This will help to relieve tension, loosen up your pelvic ligaments and lessen some of the potential pain of labor. You can place your upper body on the bed for support, laying your head on your arms.

Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media
Step 4

Hug the ball to your chest, resting your head on top of it as you kneel and rock your lower body back and forth to relax during contractions.

Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media
Step 5

Place the exercise ball on the mattress, and stand beside the bed, hugging the ball to your chest and resting your head on top of the ball for support. Rock back and forth from foot to foot to help your lower body relax through a contraction.

Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media

Tips & Warnings

  • Use the exercise ball after giving birth to help tone your pelvic and abdominal muscles.
  • Check your exercise ball regularly for leaks and to make sure that it is not in danger of collapsing during use. Talk to your doctor or midwife about your intention to use the exercise ball to make sure it is a safe option for you during pregnancy and labor.

References

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