There are so many great ways to tone and strengthen your muscles using an exercise ball but there’s also so many ways it can help you transition smoothly into motherhood. In fact, a $12 ball was the very first thing I bought when I found out I was pregnant and I still use it every single day with my 5 month old daughter. I love it and here’s why…
I absolutely loved being pregnant but my biggest complaint was back pain. The weight of my belly took a huge toll on my mid-back and I was totally uncomfortable sitting on a couch. My exercise ball became my new favorite place to lounge because it was so much gentler on my back, hips, and tailbone. If I wasn’t simply sitting on it, I was on the floor on my knees and kneeling on my ball. It was such a relief to my body! Furthermore, it’s way easier to get back up off of a bouncy ball than trying to swing your belly up off the couch. An added benefit is that an exercise ball is a great place to do your kegels (which I mainly didn’t do and am now paying for it). Finally, bouncing on the ball in those last few weeks of pregnancy can help your baby engage in the correct position for birth which means he will be locked and loaded and ready to meet you!
Along those same lines, an exercise ball is great for labor because it allows your hips to be open and moving as contractions help to guide your baby down the birth canal. While sitting on the ball, you can simply bounce, rock back and forth, sway side to side, or do hip circles during contractions. Not only will the rhythm of your movement help you cope with pain but it can also move things along. Of course, you can also do all of these movements standing up but labor is long so it’s great to be able to sit and still work. For me in particular, the ball was especially helpful because I had Preeclampsia so I was not allowed to stand and walk around much as it could raise my blood pressure even higher so the ball was my favorite place to be. Finally, the ball is a great tool when you’re experiencing back labor and need someone to put pressure on your back during contractions, which feels amazing by the way. Looking back over my labor, the part I loved the most was the couple hours I was sitting on the ball, leaning against my bed and having either my sister, sister-in-law, or brother run a tube sock filled with tennis balls up and down my back as my husband talked me through contractions. It was great!
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My exercise ball probably helps me out the most before my baby’s three naps each day. I don’t know if it was because I bounced on the ball when she was in the womb or what but she loves to be held as I bounce on the ball. It soothes her and is her favorite way to fall asleep. I suppose it’s just like bouncing when you’re standing up, except you get to sit down! My mom even bought one for her house as it’s been so helpful for us. I can also rock, sway, or glide on it so it’s so versatile and probably the best part is that it’s so easy to take with us. That way, when we’re going away for the weekend, we aren’t stuck trying to find new ways to comfort her. It’s been a great help.
Do you use an exercise ball for anything other than exercise? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!