A yoga ball is an expecting mum's secret weapon. Read on and discover 3 creative ways you can use a yoga ball to your advantage, both during and after pregnancy.
1. Use a Yoga Ball & Soothe Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy
Have you ever thought about using a yoga ball to soothe lower back pain? Chances are probably not. It's inevitable, the majority of us will experience some lower back pain due to weight gain, muscle separation and postural changes. It's part and parcel of pregnancy, right?
Even women in the best shape of their lives before pregnancy, begin to experience pain and stiff muscles around the pelvic and lower back area.
Fortunately, with the right balance of regular targeted exercise, you can counter the effects pregnancy has on your lower back, and this is where a yoga ball can help.
Pregnancy Stretches and Exercises with a Yoga Ball
Pregnancy stretches and exercises with a yoga ball are a great way to relieve stiff and aching back muscles.
How? Gentle rocking and bouncing on a yoga ball helps your abdominal and back muscles get much needed stimulation – which not only helps in maintaining the correct posture, but also improves blood flow to all the muscles around the pelvic region.
The backward stretch and pelvic tilt using a yoga ball, for instance, are just two exercises that can help gently stretch the lower back muscles and relieve tension, while also improving stability, flexibility and core strength.
The relaxed belly movement is another example of a pregnancy yoga ball workout, encouraging your pelvic floor to relax – which, in turn, eases off tension around the lower back muscles, improving overall posture as well.
And if exercise isn't your thing. Simply using a yoga ball for sitting can help strengthen your lower back. Your pelvis will be much better supported than it would when sitting on a chair. You can maintain an upright position more comfortably, where your abdomen acts as a hammock for your baby and can encourage them to move into an anterior position for a more comfortable birth.
2. Exercise on a Yoga Ball can help Induce labour
Does bouncing on a yoga ball help to induce labour? Absolutely!
Yoga ball exercises to induce labour have become really popular among women of all ages, because they help the baby turn and move easily into the birth canal. When your baby is in an optimal foetal position, your labour will likely begin.
Midwives have been using a yoga ball to induce labour for decades – as a way of speeding up dilation and helping mothers move the baby down more easily into the pelvis. And once labour begins, a yoga ball can also be used to manage pain and find a more comfortable birthing position.
If you’ve ever wondered how yoga ball positions to induce labour work or how to sit on a yoga ball to induce labour, then here’s what you should do:
This is actually one of the most common and popular yoga ball positions to induce labour. Before you baby is born they must be able to turn and move into the proper foetal position. Gentle up and down bouncing motions on a yoga ball can help move your baby’s head down the birth canal.
This also happens to be among the most popular yoga ball exercises to induce labour. Rocking can help the baby move into the optimal foetal position. Find a comfortable position, sit on the yoga ball and gently rock your pelvis back and forth, putting your weight first on your tailbone and then your pelvis.
Rocking (hands and knees)
Rocking on your hands and knees while leaning over a yoga ball can help loosen those tense muscles around the pelvic region. It can also encourage faster dilation, according to many medical experts and family physicians.
While you don’t need a yoga ball to rock your hips in this position, you can certainly use it to stay on your hands and knees more comfortably and a lot longer too – without unnecessarily putting too much stress on your wrists, arms or knees.
Unsurprisingly, something as simple as sitting on a yoga ball during labour helps ease off labour pains because your baby is in line with gravity, as opposed to working against it. This is why many pregnant mum sit on a yoga ball during pregnancy at their workplace, instead of resting their backs against an office chair – it strengthens the core and lower back muscles, and builds better core stability and strength over time.
Wall Supported Squats
This is undeniably one of the best yoga ball exercises to induce labour. Wall squats aid in opening up the pelvic region, which creates more room for the baby to easily move through your pelvis.
This yoga ball position to induce labour is best done when your baby has already starting moving downward into your pelvis. Place your pregnancy yoga ball between your lower back and a wall. Carefully roll downward as far as possible, as long as you don’t feel any discomfort. Let your knees roll outwards as you bend them more. Slowly straighten your legs to return to the standing position.
3. Bouncing on a Yoga Ball is Good for your Baby Postpartum
Just because you’re done with pregnancy doesn’t mean you should stop using your yoga ball. Research has found many benefits to using a yoga ball post pregnancy too.
Using a ball is a healthy way to speed up healing and recovery, but maybe most importantly, it's a great way to increase your overall energy levels, which are most definitely tested when looking after a newborn baby!
There are benefits for your baby too. Bouncing your baby on a yoga ball helps to comfort them and is a great way to induce deep sleep.
So go on give it a try, gently rock back and forth on your yoga ball and give you your baby a soothing bounce as you cuddle up.
What Size Yoga Ball is Right For My Height in Pregnancy?
Good posture is key to unlocking the best benefits. Be sure you are choosing a yoga ball that can safely hold your pregnancy weight; the best balls for pregnancy are marked to hold 500kg.
The right size along with good quality materials both ensure that your hips and feet are completely stable at all times, your knees should be ideally about 4 inches lower than your hips in a seated position on the ball, this ensures that you and your baby are completely safe and secure when using the ball.
Check out our size guide.