Exercise | Birth balls during pregnancy and labor – Are they good?

Most of us should have heard about exercise balls or birth balls. Nothing too scientific about them, they are simple balls which are flexible and can withstand pressure. These balls can be really helpful in your pregnancy period, to the extent that they can be used in labor. This may sound surprising but this is true. Here are a few things which you should know about these birth balls.

Safety first..

Birth balls, exercise balls and gym balls are essentially the same thing with different names. A good quality product should be made up from anti burst material so that in case of a puncture they do not burst or cause injury. They just deflate slowly which make them very safe to use. But make sure to get a good quality product. You should not get cheaper or low quality products when it comes to fitness equipment. Some of these balls can also have a non-slip finish so that they can grip the floor nicely.

A birth ball should be able to take your weight comfortably irrespective of your size. Some of the brands can support weights in excess of 300 kg and are pressure tested.

Which one is right for you?

Although you can choose any good ball for yourself but ideally the size should match your height. When you sit on it, your knees should be lower than your hips by about 10 cm. Generally the size varies between 55cm and 65 cm. As stated earlier, make sure you get a good product.

It should be easy to inflate, some of them come with extra stoppers to prevent them from slipping.

Benefits –

These balls are a bit flexible, so they can be used for some gentle exercise. You can also use them for sitting. They are much more comfortable to sit than a sofa or chair. In fact, you can also get ball chairs. They can help you maintain a good sitting posture because your tummy and back muscles have to move to keep you in an upright position. So this can be a fun way to work on your balance or posture.

Now how can you benefit from them during your pregnancy?

First of all, they are gentle to sit on, so you get some low impact, low intensity movement whenever you use them.  You can rock or bounce on them gently which is a kind of a mini workout. Such gentle workouts are good for your abdominal and back muscles especially when your baby is growing. This way you are exercising the supportive muscles in your lower part of back and spine.

You can also use these balls in labor as you can get into different upright positions which are more comfortable than chairs or beds. You can use them while doing any kind of home work in pregnancy which requires sitting for long time.  When you are in a comfortable position, the contraction pain is also reduced to some extent. Getting one for yourself can be really effective during your pregnancy if you use it in the right way.

Precautions –

When you are new to this, make sure you have someone by your side to help you maintain your balance and not let you fall. Many people underestimate the bounce of ball and end up falling off.

You will be surprised, how such simple and easy equipment can help you with your fitness.

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