Using an exercise ball has so many benefits for pregnant women! Sitting on the ball helps activate proper postural muscles and aids baby in good positioning, and it encourages motion through the pelvis which makes it a great alternative to, say, sitting on the couch. Here’s an introduction to using the exercise ball in your daily life.
Pregnancy Ball Sizing
First, we must know how to size the pregnancy ball. Often the recommendation of ball height to user height are for exercise purposes and not necessarily what we would recommend for sitting on during pregnancy. Don’t be afraid to try a few to find the perfect one for you!
How to know when you’ve found the right size? When you are sitting on the ball with your feet flat on the ground, your hips should be 10cm or so above your knees. This helps to elongate the hip flexor muscles that so often get tight and cramped with seated positions! You should be able to stay upright on your sits bones while moving through a number of different positions.
Tip: Filling the bottom of the ball with sand helps to keep the ball in a good position!
Pregnancy Ball Sit
When we are sitting we want to make sure we rest smart! Enter, the stability ball.
As discussed above, we want keep our hips are always higher than our knees to save us from creating unnecessary tension. For good positioning, think of your belly as a hammock for Baby. lean forward a bit so that baby is able to rest in that hammock. Next, imagine a beam of light coming from your belly button; that beam of light should go forward or even down and never up. If it goes up, that means you’re back or your sacrum, and that puts a lot of tension on your pelvis.
The ball is an excellent tool you can use at home to create pelvic motion in the pelvis during pregnancy.
First we’ll discuss the Figure-8; we love this exercise because it creates movement in the sacroiliac (SI) joint and those are famous in pregnancy for giving us grief.
To execute, imagine you’re looking at yourself from above, and move your hips in a figure-8 pattern.
We also love the hip hike, where we’re rocking side to side. This asymmetrical motion from one side to the other is going to induce more motion here in your SI joint. It’s very subtle; we just want to go back and forth. Keep it gentle and controlled, no need to be throwing a hip out!
The last thing we’ll go over is the pelvic tilt, a great way to create motion in another plane of the SI joint. Whereas in the hip hike we’re tilting side-to side, in the pelvic tilt we tilt back and forward. Imagine your pelvis as a bucket of water that you’re gently pouring out the front and back.