Some mamas-to-be stick with their workout routine until the tail end of their term. Other pregnant women take the full nine months as an extended rest day. But even if exercise is the furthest thing from your mind during your pregnancy, don’t be so quick to stash away your exercise equipment because it could be your saving grace during a difficult labor. No, we’re not talking dumbbells or resistance bands — we’re specifically referring to birthing balls, also known as exercise balls because, as it turns outs, those big, inflatable things you might have seen people balancing on at the gym are mom-approved tools that can help alleviate pain and stress.
Of course, birthing balls aren’t a birthing necessity — you’re going to have this baby regardless of whether you use one or not. However, labor is difficult for a lot of people, so it’s important to know what kind of resources are at your disposal to make the process a little less taxing. For example, if you experience back pain sitting on a flat surface, the curve of the ball under your bum can relieve that tension. And if for whatever reason your pelvis isn’t expanding, sitting on the ball can help encourage its opening.
Birthing balls can be used during pregnancy to prepare you for labor, and even post-pregnancy during your recovery. It’s also just an awesome piece of exercise equipment to have in your home gym when the doctor gives the OK for physical activity again. So if you don’t own one already, here are the best birthing balls we’ve encountered. We highly suggest treating yourself and your body to one ASAP.
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1. DYNAPRO Exercise Ball
DYNAPRO has generated a massive cult following for its high-quality fitness equipment, and among the options is the brand’s exercise ball (aka your future birthing ball). The ball is made from 100% recycled material that’s insanely stable: its superior anti-burst material boasts a thickness of 2,275 micrometers and can withstand up to 2,200 pounds. Available in six color options and three sizes (45, 55 and 65 centimeters), this ball was built to take abuse in the gym, at your desk and, yeah, even in labor.
2. PROMIC Stability Ball
PROMIC stability balls are a must-have for home gyms, but they’re also a highly coveted birthing ball as well. This piece of fitness equipment can hold over 1,100 pounds, so, no, it cannot be popped once it’s inflated. It’s constructed from professional-grade rubber free of BPA and heavy metals, plus it’s slip-resistant so mamas-to-be can bounce risk free.
3. GalSports Pregnancy Birthing Ball
Some birthing balls are just exercise balls women use during labor. Other birthing balls, like this one from GalSports, are specifically designed for pregnant women to help them cope through pregnancy pains, difficult labor and recovery. The GalSports birthing ball is certified by the SGS and is made from nontoxic, professional-grade PVC materials that are eco-friendly as well as BPA-, latex-, heavy metal- and phthalate-free. It can support 600 pounds, so you can safely push to your limit. It’s also non-slip, so you can move freely without risk of falling, and it doesn’t explode when pierced by sharp things on the floor.