Many people use an exercise ball, or one specially designed for birth, throughout pregnancy to ease discomfort and get into beneficial positions. Some of the same movements used during pregnancy can be used with the exercise ball to induce labor.
When your body is ready, there are many ways to get things going in the hospital and ways to induce labor more gently at home. It is very important to discuss with your provider what type of induction may be appropriate for you and your current situation. For example, if you’ve had a prior Cesarean, your provider might consider induction methods that are safe for VBAC.
It is also important to take into consideration the timing of when you are trying to induce. Sometimes our bodies are not quite ready to have a baby. If you are trying to induce labor, be mindful that if it does not work, your body will get there at some point.
If you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy and considering how to get labor going, focusing on your baby’s position can be really helpful. That’s because one of the main reasons for C-section is a baby being in a less ideal position during labor and pushing.
Using the exercise ball can help with that, too. Creating balance in the pelvis with birthing ball exercises and other techniques can help your body prepare for labor and get your baby into an ideal position.
In this article, we are going to talk about how to use an exercise ball to induce labor, if it’s safe to try, and how effective it is.
How does a birthing ball help induce labor?
A birthing ball is a large exercise ball that you can sit on, not only during pregnancy but also during labor. Many women will use their birthing ball to help induce labor or encourage contractions when they are near the end of their pregnancy.
It is not known if a birthing ball truly helps to induce labor, but it is a great tool you can use at home to try and get things going. Using an exercise ball can also encourage your baby into an optimal fetal position for labor and birth.
A birthing ball is a nice comfortable place for a pregnant person to sit, and because it is an inflated ball, you can bounce on it. Bouncing can help the baby engage into the pelvis more and place more pressure on the cervix.
Pregnancy ball exercises to induce labor
Those last weeks of pregnancy can be really hard as we patiently wait for our sweet babies to arrive. When it comes to inducing labor, the most important thing is to allow your body time.
However, when your body is ready, there are ways to help encourage your labor to begin. Below are a few ways to help induce labor using the birthing ball.
Tilting back and forward
Seated on the ball with your feet evenly placed on the ground, rock your pelvis back and forth, rolling on top of the ball. This creates movement in your pelvis and can also help your baby come down a little more.
This is a gentle movement, and you can practice pelvic tilt exercises during any stage of pregnancy. But it’s important to follow your body’s lead. If it is starting to feel uncomfortable, stop.
Hip circles on the exercise ball
Hip circles can create a big movement change in your pelvis and may help your sweet little baby snuggle on down into your pelvis. This movement may also stimulate your cervix, which in turn can bring on contractions.
Seated on the exercise ball, move your hips in large circles. Change directions after a few rotations, performing the motion for both left and right.
Bouncing on a birthing ball to induce labor is one of the most common things people will try to get things going.
This movement can help because gravity brings the baby down and helps them into a nice engaged position. If the baby puts enough pressure on your cervix or the bag of waters, it is possible that your water may break.
If you are also pumping to induce, bouncing on the exercise ball would be a great addition to help things get moving along.
Picture what a number eight looks like in your head, and try drawing it out with your hips while seated on the ball. This motion is another great exercise to create motion in the pelvis and help your baby into a good position.
Exercise ball squats
Sitting on your ball, you can put yourself in a deep squat position. Having something to hold onto or placing your hands on your legs can also help you balance. If you choose to have something in front of you to lean on, be careful not to push the ball backward with your lower body.
A squatting position mixed with bouncing can help contractions increase.
How long should I bounce on a ball to induce labor?
There is not really a set duration on how long or short you should bounce on your exercise ball to induce labor. However, the longer you bounce, the more pressure you will be placing on the cervix to help encourage your uterus to contract.
You can bounce in longer sessions or in short and frequent intervals. For example, you could try 30-60 minutes of bouncing, mixed with figure eights or rocking back and forth. Alternatively, you could bounce for 15 min every hour to change things up in the pelvis.
It is really important to listen to your body and follow its lead. If you feel stable and are able to spend a lot of time on your ball, that can potentially help your chances of inducing labor. If it becomes too much or feels hard to balance, give your body a rest.
Also be mindful of your back position keeping it aligned with your normal hip position.
Frequently asked questions
Is it safe to bounce on a ball while pregnant?
Yes! It is safe to sit on your exercise ball and gently bounce while you are pregnant, unless you have been advised against exercise and movement by your healthcare provider. Bouncing towards the end of your pregnancy can encourage contractions, so be sure to ask your doctor when a good time to start using a ball during pregnancy would be, and what week you can start doing things to help induce labor.
Do squats help induce labor?
Squats do not necessarily induce labor. However, they can change up the pelvic dynamics and help the baby get into a lower position, so when labor begins, it is more effective. If you have pelvic pain, do not continue to squat. This can be common at the end of pregnancy as the hormone relaxin kicks in and the pelvis starts to shift as it prepares for birth.
What is the quickest way to go into labor?
The quickest way to go into labor is going to the hospital and beginning an induction. However, there are other methods like pumping to induce labor, taking special herbs, or having the membranes stripped that people have used to get labor going.