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.
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).
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.
Free Pregnancy Workout Plan
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.
Targets: Core (specifically, the transverse abdominal muscles), pelvic floor, quads and hip flexors.
This is also a great move to improve balance and stability.
How To Do Seated Ball Marches
Sit on an exercise ball with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
Engage your core to straighten your back, sitting tall with good posture. Option to lean back slightly to increase the difficulty of the exercise.
Slowly lift one foot off the ground, bringing your right knee up towards your chest.
Hold the position for a few seconds, then lower your right foot back down to the ground.
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.
How To Do Seated Adductor Contractions
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.
Engage your core muscles and sit up tall with good posture.
Place both fists between your thighs, pinkies of each hand pressing into your inner thighs.
Exhale as you squeeze your thighs together. Hold for 3-5 seconds, pressing into your fists.
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.
How To Do Exercise Ball Glute Bridges
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.
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.
Squeeze your glutes, lifting your hips towards the ceiling. Aim to get your quads parallel to the floor.
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.
How To Do Wall Squat with Ball
Start standing, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, facing away from a wall.
Place the exercise ball between your upper back and the wall, pressing your shoulders into the ball.
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).
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.
How To Do Quadruped Shoulder Taps
Start in a quadruped (table top) kneeling position in front of a wall. Shoulders are stacked over wrists and hips are stacked over knees.
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.
Exhale, pulling your belly button up and in to flatten your back.
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.
How To Do Wall Push Ups on Ball
Start standing. Face a wall and place an exercise ball against the wall at chest height.
Place your hands on the exercise ball, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, with your fingers pointing towards the ceiling.
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.
Engage your core and keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels.
Bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the exercise ball, keeping your elbows close to your body.
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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