The use of a yoga ball during pregnancy has become more popular in recent years. There are many great yoga ball pregnancy exercises that can help with balance, alignment, and support during pregnancy.
What is a Yoga Ball?
A yoga ball, also known as a stability ball, birth ball, or exercise ball, is a large rubber ball used in exercises. It is helpful for balance and stability and can be used to improve core strength.
A Yoga Ball can also be used for gentle stretches and for kegel exercises. In addition, Yoga balls are great to use during labor, which is why they are often referred to as birthing balls.
Yoga Balls can also be useful after pregnancy to gain back stability and strength but also to gently bounce on them with your baby to help calm him or her.
How to choose the right Yoga Ball
It is important to find the right ball that fits your height:
- If you are 5’0″ and under: you should get a Yoga Ball that is 45cm in width
- If you are 5’1″ – 5’8″: A 55 cm width ball would be the right size for you
- If you are 5’9 – 6’2′: A 65 cm width ball would be the right size for you
- If you are 6’3″ and up: A 75 cm width ball would be suitable
If you are in-between sizes, it is advised to choose the smaller Yoga Ball, especially if you also want to use it as a birthing ball.
9 best Yoga Ball Exercises for Pregnancy
There are a number of different yoga ball pregnancy exercises that can be beneficial for both the mother and the baby. Below are some of the most popular yoga ball pregnancy exercises.
1. Pelvic Tilts
This exercise is helpful in relieving lower back pain and improving posture. It is also great to help prepare the body for labor by opening up the pelvis.
How to do Pelvic Tilts
- Start by sitting on the yoga ball with your feet hip-width apart.
- Place your hands on your hips and tilt your pelvis forward and then back
- Repeat this movement 10-15 times.
2. Kegel Exercises
These exercises are important for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, which can help to prevent incontinence after giving birth and prepare the body for labor.
How to do Kegel Exercises
- Sit on your Yoga Ball, and elongate your spine.
- Take a couple of deep breaths.
- On your inhale imagine how your diaphragm expands downwards, and with it feel how your pelvic muscles relax.
- On your exhale, try to picture how your diaphragm moves upwards and with it contract the muscles of the pelvic floor as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine or as if you pull the pelvic floor inwards and upwards together with your diaphragm.
- Repeat 8 times with your flow of deep breaths.
3. Cat-Cow Pose and Puppy Pose
This pose is a gentle way to warm up the spine and prepare the body for labor. It is also a great exercise to help relieve nausea, back pain, and fatigue.
How to do Cat-Cow with a Yoga Ball
- Start on all fours.
- Place your hands on your Yoga ball.
- As you inhale, extend your arms out, by rolling the ball away from you.
- Come into a modified puppy pose with your hands on the ball.
- As you exhale, round your back, pull the ball back towards you, and tuck your chin to your chest.
- Repeat 10 times.
4. Puppy Pose Side Stretch
To get a nice lateral side stretch of your torso this modified Yoga pose with the help of the Yoga ball is a great exercise to relieve tension.
How to do the modified Puppy Pose side Stretch using a Yoga Ball
- Start on all fours.
- Place your hands on the Ball and by the next exhale roll your ball out away from you so that you come into a modified puppy pose.
- Hold this pose for a couple of breaths and enjoy the heart-opening pose.
- On the next inhale, roll the Yoga ball slightly to the left and breath into the right side of your torso.
- Hold this position for a couple of breaths and then change sides.
- As you exhale roll the ball towards you as you exit the pose gently.
5. Leg Lifts
This exercise helps to strengthen the muscles of the legs and improve balance. It also helps to reduce swelling in the legs.
How to do Leg Lifts with a Yoga Ball
- To do this exercise, start by sitting on the yoga ball with your feet hip-width apart.
- Place your hands on either side of the ball for support.
- Slowly lift one leg straight out in front of you and hold for a count of 10.
- Lower the leg and repeat with the other leg.
6. Child’s Pose
This is a restful pose that can be used throughout pregnancy. It helps to stretch the back and hips and can be helpful in relieving fatigue and nausea.
How to do Childs Pose with a Yoga Ball
- Start on all fours with your hands and knees shoulder-width apart.
- Place your forearms on the ball and grip both elbows with your hands.
- Place your head onto your arms.
- As you exhale, slowly move the ball away from you to get enjoy a gentle stretch in your back.
- Hold for 5-10 breaths.
This pose is also a great pose to endure labor pains.
7. Wall Squat with a Yoga Ball
For this exercise make sure to wear shoes that don’t slip. Wall Squats are great to strengthen your legs and glutes as well as your core muscles.
How to do Wall Squats with a Yoga Ball
- Put the Yoga Ball between your lower back and a wall
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and a bit more to the front than the rest of your body so that when you go into a squatting position you can have a good sitting alignment. this means that your feet are in line with your knees and your hips are in line with your head.
- Go into a squat and push back up into a standing position.
- Repeat 8-10 times.
8. Ball Bridges
Ball Bridges are another great way to train your glutes and hips, which need to be strong during natural labor.
How to do Ball Bridges
- Start this exercise by sitting on your yoga mat with your upper back leaning on your Yoga Ball
- Push your hips up towards the ceiling by rolling your upper back slightly back onto the Yoga Ball and pressing firmly through your feet.
- Avoid arching your back and only go as far as it is comfortable for you.
- Lower back down gently
- Repeat 8-10 times
9. Figure 8
A great exercise to open up your pelvis. It is also a great exercise to do if you experience back pain during aswell as after pregnancy.
How to do Figure 8 with a Yoga Ball
- Sit on the Yoga Ball with your feet firmly on the ground, a bit wider than hip-width apart.
- Draw your belly button towards your spine and move your hips as if you would draw an 8 on the ball.
- Change directions aswell.
- You can also draw an infinity sign, or a side-lying 8.
These are just a few of the many yoga ball pregnancy exercises that can be beneficial during your pregnancy. Consult with your doctor or midwife before beginning any exercise program.
Final Thoughts on Yoga Ball Pregnancy Exercises
Overall, the use of a yoga ball during pregnancy can be very beneficial. It can help with balance, alignment, and support throughout pregnancy. There are a number of different exercises that can be done on the ball, each of which provides its own set of benefits.
Before starting any exercise program, be sure to consult with your doctor or midwife.
What are the benefits of using a yoga ball during pregnancy?
The use of a yoga ball during pregnancy can help by gently improving strength, balance, and alignment. It is also great to relieve back pain and to enjoy some great stretches. Yoga balls can also support you throughout labor.
After your pregnancy, you can use the yoga ball to gently rock your baby on it during those sleepless nights.
How can a yoga ball help with balance and alignment during pregnancy?
A yoga ball can help with alignment and balance during pregnancy because it helps to keep the spine elongated, it strengthens the core and it can be used to gently stretch the back and open up the hips.