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6 Pregnancy Ball Exercises (Prep for Labor)

Release the lower back, open up tight hips, and start preparing for labor with this workout: the best pregnancy ball exercises for the first trimester, second trimester and third trimester! These birthing ball exercises gently prepare the body for delivery by strengthening the lower body, glutes, core, arms and pelvic floor.

Whether you just found out you’re pregnant or are nearing the final few weeks, these exercises are a safe way to begin preparing for labor and delivery.

Call it an exercise ball, birth ball, stability ball, Swiss ball, or balance ball – this multifunctional piece of equipment is one of my favorite pregnancy products for all trimesters.

This routine includes both activation (or strengthening) exercises as well as relaxation (or lengthening) exercises.

The activation exercises help pregnant women build the strength they’ll need during labor and delivery. Whereas the relaxation exercises open up the hips and pelvis, which can encourage baby to move down into a more optimal birthing position once baby is full term (37+ weeks).

Add these pregnancy exercises to your pregnancy workout routine to:

  • Reduce lower back pain, pelvic pain and sciatica pain (SPD pain)
  • Open up tight hips
  • Relax and lengthen pelvic muscles
  • Strengthen the core and lower body

As always, talk to your doctor or health care provider about what forms of exercise are appropriate for you and your pregnancy.

woman performing wall squat with pregnancy exercise ball

Pregnancy Ball Exercises FAQs

How Many Weeks Pregnant Can You Use A Birthing Ball?

You can start using birthing balls at any point during your pregnancy for releasing aches and pains, strengthening the core, and modifying exercises. If you’re planning on using a birthing ball during labor, it’s a good idea to get familiar with it earlier in your pregnancy so you feel comfortable using it during delivery.

Are Exercise Balls Good For Pregnancy?

Exercise balls are an excellent way for expecting moms to safely strengthen their core and lower body. Birthing ball exercises can also help reduce common pregnancy aches and pains, like back pain, pelvic pain and sciatica pain. I personally loved sitting on a birthing ball and gently rocking side to side as my pregnancy progressed.

Does Exercise Induce Labor?

Regular exercise does not increase risk of preterm birth. However, once baby is full-term, research has found that (for low-risk pregnancies), physical activity can encourage labor naturally starting and decrease induction, cesarean, and instrumental delivery rates (Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine).

woman performing hip opener exercise as example of best pregnancy ball exercises

6 Best Pregnancy Ball Exercises

(15-Minute Birthing Ball Workout)

Open up tight hips, reduce pelvic girdle and sciatica pain, and strengthen the lower body and core with this workout: The Best Birthing Ball Exercises.

Add this exercise routine to your pregnancy workout plan 2-3 times a week to build strength and release tight muscles.

Workout Equipment:

I’m using an exercise ball in today’s workout. I’m 5’8″ and use the 26″ (L) size birthing ball.

Shop My Birthing Ball

One of my favorite fit pregnancy products! I used this exercise ball both for sitting during the work day and for low impact pregnancy exercises.
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woman sitting on a birthing ball as part of best pregnancy ball exercises workout

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the Birthing Ball Workout for All Trimestersled by certified personal trainer and prenatal fitness instructor, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 6 Pregnancy Ball Exercises
  • Timed Intervals (perform each exercise for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds rest)
  • Perform Each Exercise x1 (no repeats)

Workout Outline

  1. Seated Ball March
  2. Seated Adductor Contractions
  3. Ball Glute Bridges
  4. Wall Squat with Ball
  5. Quadruped Shoulder Taps
  6. Wall Push Ups on Ball
pregnant woman performing glute bridge on a birthing ball as example of pregnancy ball exercises

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Pregnancy Ball Workout

6 Pregnancy Ball Exercises

Seated Ball March

Targets: Core (specifically, the transverse abdominal muscles), pelvic floor, quads and hip flexors.

This is also a great move to improve balance and stability.

pregnant woman sitting on an exercise ball performing seated leg lifts as part of birthing ball workout

How To Do Seated Ball Marches

  1. Sit on an exercise ball with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Engage your core to straighten your back, sitting tall with good posture. Option to lean back slightly to increase the difficulty of the exercise.
  3. Slowly lift one foot off the ground, bringing your right knee up towards your chest.
  4. Hold the position for a few seconds, then lower your right foot back down to the ground.
  5. Repeat the movement with the left foot, lifting your left knee up towards your chest and holding the position for a few seconds before lowering it back down to the ground.

Seated Adductor Contractions

Targets: Inner thighs (adductors), outer glutes, core and hip stability.

Learning to activate and relax the hip adductors can help stabilize the pelvic floor and reduce pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy.

pregnant woman sitting on an exercise ball performing seated adductor contractions as example of pregnancy ball exercise

How To Do Seated Adductor Contractions

  1. Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Feet should be approximately hip-width apart.
  2. Engage your core muscles and sit up tall with good posture.
  3. Place both fists between your thighs, pinkies of each hand pressing into your inner thighs.
  4. Exhale as you squeeze your thighs together. Hold for 3-5 seconds, pressing into your fists.
  5. Inhale as you relax your inner thighs, returning to starting position and repeat.

Ball Glute Bridges

Targets: Gluteus maximus (largest muscle in the glutes), thighs, hips, core, and hamstrings.

Glute bridges are also a low impact way to improve knee and hip stability.

pregnant woman performing glute bridges with her upper back on an exercise ball

How To Do Exercise Ball Glute Bridges

  1. Start seated on the floor in front of an exercise ball. Feet are planted on the floor 1-2 feet away from the exercise ball, knees bent at 90 degrees.
  2. Lean back so your upper body is resting on the exercise ball. You should feel contact with the ball from mid-back to the top of your shoulders.
  3. Squeeze your glutes, lifting your hips towards the ceiling. Aim to get your quads parallel to the floor.
  4. With control, slowly lower your hips, hovering your glutes 1-2 inches off the ground.

Wall Squat with Ball

Targets: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core.

Using an exercise ball provides additional support and stability, allowing you to sit deeper into your squat.

pregnant woman performing supported squats with birthing ball as example of pregnancy ball exercise

How To Do Wall Squat with Ball

  1. Start standing, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, facing away from a wall.
  2. Place the exercise ball between your upper back and the wall, pressing your shoulders into the ball.
  3. Slowly lower your hips towards the ground, finding a squatting position. As you lower, the exercise ball will roll along your upper back. Aim for 90-degree bends at each knee, focusing on pushing your knees out (not letting them cave in).
  4. Press through your heels to stand tall, returning to a standing position.

Quadruped Shoulder Taps

Targets: Shoulders, arms, triceps, back, chest and core.

This is the pregnancy-safe version of plank shoulder taps. Placing the stability ball behind your hips engages the core and provides more stability.

pregnant woman performing shoulder taps with an exercise ball as example of birthing ball exercises

How To Do Quadruped Shoulder Taps

  1. Start in a quadruped (table top) kneeling position in front of a wall. Shoulders are stacked over wrists and hips are stacked over knees.
  2. Place a birthing ball behind your hips, pressing your glutes back into the exercise ball. The harder you press into the exercise ball, the more the core will activate.
  3. Exhale, pulling your belly button up and in to flatten your back.
  4. Then perform alternating shoulder taps, first bringing your right hand to tap left shoulder, then bringing left hand to tap right shoulder.

Wall Push Ups on Ball

Targets: Chest, shoulders, triceps, back and core.

pregnant woman performing push ups on a birthing ball

How To Do Wall Push Ups on Ball

  1. Start standing. Face a wall and place an exercise ball against the wall at chest height.
  2. Place your hands on the exercise ball, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, with your fingers pointing towards the ceiling.
  3. Walk your feet back until your body is at a 45-degree angle to the wall, with your arms fully extended and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  4. Engage your core and keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels.
  5. Bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the exercise ball, keeping your elbows close to your body.
  6. Pause when your chest is a few inches away from the exercise ball, then push back up, returning to the starting position.

Pin This Workout: Birthing Ball Exercises to Prepare for Labor

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