I’m sure you’ve seen them, but maybe you’ve wondered what on earth you’re meant to do with them? Also called a Birth Ball and a Swiss Ball, you can usually pick these up in Coles, Woollies, Kmart, Rebel Sport etc. With multiple uses during pregnancy, labour and post-natally, this will be the best $15 you ever spent! Here are five ways that I’ve used my fitness ball. Some of them might surprise you!
- For good posture and Optimal Fetal Positioning while pregnant
All the sitting that we do on sofas, in cars and at our desk is really bad for our posture and for Optimal Fetal Positioning (which is a fancy way of saying, getting your baby into the best possible position for birth). Sit on your ball (as per the main picture in this blog post) at your desk instead of your chair. And in the evenings instead of collapsing on the couch, sit on your fitness ball. It will do wonders for your posture and bub’s position (which will pay off BIG TIME in labour).
- During labour – sitting and rocking
As above but use it to rock side to side during your contractions. This is a supported squatting position which opens your pelvis AND changes the shape of your pelvis as you rock – allowing your baby the best possible opportunity to enter the birth canal in the way they need to. BONUS – you can take the birth ball into the shower and direct the water onto your back. Warm water is great natural pain relief during labour.
- During labour – kneeling behind it and leaning onto it
Kneeling on all fours is a favourite position during labour and we practice hip rotations on all fours each and every class. It takes the weight/pressure off your back (awesome for posterior labours) and is really good for getting bub into the right position for birth. But if your labour goes on for a long time it can become hard on the wrists. Why not lean forwards resting your upper body weight on the birth ball instead? Then you can still rock backwards and forwards using the birth ball.
- Bouncing on it to put bub to sleep
It’s hard for us adults to imagine going to sleep this way, but babies find it really soothing to be bounced up and down. All that bouncing gets tiring so I sit down on the ball and bounce up and down on it. Works a treat.
- Just for fun – toy for the older kids
I’m sure reason number 5 should be something to do with postnatal fitness – and I bet your ball will come with instructions and exercises you can do once you’ve had bub. But show a giant bouncy ball to any child and it will keep them entertained for hours! They’ll bounce on it, lie over it and throw it around. At least that’s how we roll in our house 🙂
Have you tried any of these ideas? Or do you use your fitness ball in another way? Leave a comment below.