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A “birthing ball” is what you can call your trusty exercise ball when you use it to ease discomfort during labor. For example, sitting on the ball during labor helps you maintain good posture while taking some of the strain away from your muscles. And sometimes sitting on the ball and leaning forward to rest the upper body on the edge of a bed can be a comfortable (relatively speaking) position, because you can move your hips from side to side and ease back pain. And if the baby is pressing on your spine (back labor), try this birth ball exercise: Placing a large ball behind your back against a wall and rolling your back across it may bring some relief.
Exercise balls are safe and effective props for doing safe exercises while pregnant, too. Exercise balls can be used to strengthen core muscles and loosen tight spots for pregnant women, the same as in workouts for anyone who's not pregnant. But follow an instructor's advice for pregnancy exercises, and avoid exercises that involve lying flat on your back after the first trimester.