Before beginning any pregnancy exercise routine, please get the green light from your midwife, OB-GYN, or doctor.

During pregnancy, exercise is a simple solution for stress relief and energy gain that will allow you to regain a sense of self-control.
When combined with known benefits that exercise has for conditioning and strengthening the body, you achieve an effective mind-body solution.

Now let’s talk about those bright colored bouncy, oversized orbs often found in hospital birthing rooms.

They are not JUST FOR LABOR! They are good for so much more than that.

Why Do Exercise Ball Workouts While Pregnant?

Moms-to-be can use exercise balls in all stages of pregnancy.
These workouts will help to strengthen their legs, back, improve posture, coordination and core muscles – a crucial area for pregnant women.
Also, these balls can aid in relaxation and physical relief from general pregnancy-related physical woes such as back and pelvic pressure to easing breathing during the 3rd trimester.
Most moms that have tried them say it’s a must-have for every pregnant woman!

Prenatal exercises on the ball will help you open your pelvis and place your baby in an optimal position for childbirth (it’s called LOA or “left occiput anterior”). Ever notice how you can’t slouch when sitting on a ball?
Well, an exercise ball demands that we hold our spine in alignment and with good posture.
It’s hard to believe, but those two things encourage a baby to be in the right position for labor!
When babies are in the best position for delivery, things are usually less painful and can assist in it not lasting as long.

Important facts to remember:
The best time to start on pregnancy exercises is when you learn you’re pregnant.
The second best time to start pregnancy exercises is now.
It’s absolutely crucial to understand your limits while pregnant, do not hurt yourself.
Make sure you buy an “anti-burst,” exercise ball and you’ll be good to go!
If you need a recommendation for a really good, reliable, and inexpensive ball to use, check out my review on the Urbanfit Exercise Ball.

What Size Ball Should I Buy?

Most of them will come with some kind of size chart on the packaging or the product description (if purchasing online), but here is a general guideline.

55 cm ball if you’re under 5’4″
65 cm ball if you’re between 5’4″ – 5’10″
75 cm ball if you’re over 5’10”

Or better yet, here is a nice chart for determining what size exercise ball do I need?

IMPORTANT: Please make sure that when sitting on a birthing ball your hips are higher than your knees.
If your knees are higher than your hips, the birthing ball needs more air or is too small of a size for your height.
An exercise ball may not be suitable for you if you are ever dizzy or unable to stabilize your body on the ball.

Exercise Ball Benefits During Your Pregnancy

  • Relieves back pain.
  • Corrects the baby’s position in the womb to be ready for birth.
  • Strengthens your core and helps with balance.
  • Helps with breathing during the 3rd trimester.

Equipment Needed:
An exercise ball
2 dumbbells (2 full 15oz cans of beans will do great as well!)

Exercise # 1: Office Chair

This one is more of a practical use suggestion than it is a workout for your exercise ball during pregnancy.
Replace your office chair with it.
Sitting on an exercise ball is a kind of easy constant exercise as it works on different muscle groups.
However, this could be very exhausting, so try to compromise a little and sit on it for only part of the day.

TIP: If you work in an office all day long, using an exercise ball instead of a desk chair is recommended because it promotes optimal fetal positioning. Our bodies were not designed to stay immobile all day, and if we are not proactive, it can likely cause unwanted outcomes.

Exercise # 2: Figure 8’s

Sit on the ball and do circles with your hips or in a figure 8 movement for 5-10 min.
This exercise strengthens the hips, relaxes muscles and joints and of course, encourages optimal fetal positioning.

Exercise # 3: Shoulder Squeeze

Sit up straight on your ball. Loosen your arms down by your sides or at a 90-degree angle, palms facing front or up.
Lightly squeeze your shoulder blades together, hold for five to 10 seconds and release.
That’s one rep.

Perform 10 reps.

This exercise will help improve posture, which can help offset upper back pain caused by growing belly and breast size.

Exercise # 4: Shoulder press

Grab a set of dumbbells (2 full 15oz cans of beans will do nicely) and sit with your back up straight on the ball.
Bend your arms and lift them to your shoulders so that the dumbbells are in line with your face.
Turn your arms, so your fingertips are facing outwards.
Lift your arms all the way overhead, almost bringing the dumbbells together at the top.
Hold it there for a moment before bringing them back down.

Repeat 10 to 15 reps.

This exercise will help build your upper body strength and core stability at the same time.

Exercise # 5: Leaning

Kneel on the floor with your knees open, place the ball in front of you an arm-length away, extend your arms and put them on the top of your ball.
Now gently lean forward and retreat.

Repeat 10-15 times.

Or you could stand and lean on the ball while it’s on the bed.
This exercise will help to take the weight off your back, and it feels incredible!

Exercise # 6: Pregnant Push-Up

An arms’ length away from you at chest level, place your ball against a wall.
Keep your body straight, and your feet planted firmly on the floor.
Slowly bend your elbows and push your chest into the ball
and back away returning to your original position.

Repeat 8 to 10 times.

This exercise targets your chest.

Exercise # 7: Quick Kegel Exercises

Sit up straight on your ball and lean forward a little so that your forearms rest on your legs.
Loosen your whole body except for your pelvic floor.
Quickly squeeze the pelvic muscles 20 times.
Relax for five seconds.

Repeat 3-5 times. (Increase the number of sets when you feel ready.)

This exercise targets your pelvic floor.

Exercise # 8: Ab Crunch

Sit up straight on the ball, then slowly walk your feet forward, keeping your feet in front of your knees.
Continue taking small steps until your lower back touches the ball; feet are flat on the ground and knees bent.
Your hips should be lower than your shoulders, and your body should be at an incline.
Put your hands behind your head, fingers touching but not clasped.
Exhale, contract abs in toward your spine and lift head, arms and shoulders up and forward.
Release and return to an inclined position.
After a few reps walk your feet back in so, you can sit up.
Use your leg, back and buttock muscles to support each position.
(Note if you have diastasis recti: Cross your arms over your stomach and hold it tight, as a kind of splint, when you do your crunches.  You can also wrap your stomach with a towel or pregnancy belt for support.)

This exercise targets your abs.

Exercise # 9: Squats While Stand

Spread your feet slightly wider than your hips, with toes facing out a little bit.
Hold the ball in your hands in front of your belly.
Tighten your abs and back straight.
Keeping your body weight on your heels, bend your knees and lower the ball to the floor in front of you.
Make sure you’re not bending at the waist, keep your back straight.
Leave the ball on the floor, and straighten your legs to a standing position, tightening your buttocks as you return to the upright position.
Repeat the exercise with no ball to pick it back up, and return to standing position, holding the ball at belly height.

Repeat.

This exercise targets your thighs, glutes, and core.

Exercise # 10: Balerina

Position your feet about two feet apart, knees bent, toes and knees turned out, back straight.
Hold the ball in your hands with arms extended toward the ground.
Keep your back straight, unbend your knees, and, at the same time, raise the ball overhead.
Bend your knees, lower your arms to return to your original pose.

This exercise targets your inner thighs, legs, and calves.