5 FABULOUS REASONS TO USE A FITBALL DURING AND AFTER PREGNANCY
1. Perfect Posture
Before you purchase a fitball it is important to take the time to ensure you have the right size fitball and also that your ball is good quality. If this is correct it is going to allow ensure fantastic postural alignment during and after pregnancy and core stability. As when you sit on a fitball it encourages you to align your shoulders over your ribs, your hips and lower back to be supported plus your deep core muscles to be safely activated.
Correct Set Up of your Fitball :
- Size – choose a 45 cm fitball if you are less than 5′ tall, a 55cm ball if you are between 5′ and 5’7 and a 65cm ball if you are between 5’8 and 6′. Also keep in mind that a fully inflated 55cm exercise ball is 22 high and full inflated 65cm ball is 26cm high.
- Alignment – When you sit on the ball your feet flat should be flat on the floor, legs almost at 90 degree angle and hips slightly higher than your knees. Your pelvis, shoulders and head should be vertically stacked. Gently draw in your ribs, sit tall and check your shoulders are aligned over your hips…and don’t forget to breathe !
- Inflation – it’s not just about the size, you do need to make sure your fitball is properly inflated. If you ball is squashed down too much when you sit on it (making your knees higher than your hips) you can strain your back and hip flexors plus and exercises you do on the ball won’t be as effective. A fully inflated fitness ball should be quite firm and require you to naturally engage your core muscles to stay comfortably upright.
- Quality – ensure you purchase a good quality fitball one that is durable. Here is a fitball I recommend for purchase
2. Core Stability
If you follow the above steps to correctly set up your fitball, plus ensure your posture is correctly aligned. Then using your fitball daily for support and also during workouts it is going to give you a fabulous core natural workout without sit ups or crunches. This is a great alternative to abdominal moves that are not safe for during and after pregnancy.
3. Safe Workouts
A supportive fitball is fantastic to use when exercising during and after pregnancy. As mentioned it provides additional support to your back, hips and pelvic floor. I especially love using the fitball to help women with pelvic instability / SIJ pain, to continue to be able to exercise during pregnancy.
Check out my FACEBOOK LIVE video where I show talk about your fitball set up plus the variety of workout moves you can do with a fitball, including weights, squats and specialised core moves. We will be continuing with some fitball workouts in my Facebook Group #BFABSQUAD so join us here.
Ensure your joints stay mobile during and after pregnancy is important. A fitball is fantastic for encouraging this. Simply sitting on the ball and rotating your hips in a circular motion not only feels great but helps improve the mobility of your lower back and hip joints. Many women end up sitting on (a correctly set up) fitball at their desks to ensure they maintain this kind of mobility at work or home as it can provide a great relief from lower back pain.
Sitting on the ball and doing gentle stretches during and after pregnancy not only helps your mobility but provides additional support to your otherwise weakened core muscles so you can fully relax and release better as you stretch.
5. Support during Labour and Post Birth
A fitball is fantastic to use during labour, you can use yours at home during the first stage of labour and they are also found at many hospitals and birth centers. I highly recommend this – book Birth Skills which can give you excellent strategies for pain relief and how to move on a fitball during labour.
Post Birth a fitball is also a wonderful way to stay supported as you settle your baby. Postpartum, I personally found using a fitball was great way to work on re-aligning my posture and allowing my deep core to start to safely activate. Plus there is nothing better than using a fitball to sit on while trying to calm an unsettled baby !