After my antenatal weekend with media midwife Nikki Khan I knew that I needed to get myself a ball.
Not just any ball, a birthing ball that can be used for exercise before, after and during birth.
Since receiving my ball from The Miracle Box I have used it everyday. As have other members of the Edspire household!!
When not being used by my family I use the ball to sit on as it encourages good posture for this late stage of pregnancy. I sit on the ball ensuring that it is inflated enough for my knees to be lower than my hips. It is also important to keep feet hip width apart to ensure maximum stability. In this final trimester I have found myself to be quite clumsy and off balance so I do carefully position myself on to the ball. I am sure it is fun to watch. I have not let anyone take any video as was my original intent!
Just sitting on the ball gives you a mini pregnancy workout as all your muscles work together to keep you upright; this can then be extended by rocking or bouncing on the ball.
Bouncing on the ball can help to bring on labour when your body is ready as well as ease pains once labour begins. Rocking on the ball helps to ease baby into the optimal position for birth as it opens up your pelvis.
A birth ball is particularly helpful for ladies who think that their baby might be in a back to back position as sitting upright and leaning forward slightly can help to reposition the baby.
Try sitting or squatting and leaning over your birth ball, always with your knees lower than your hips. This may encourage your baby’s back to swing forward so he’s in an anterior position, with his back towards your bump. Although your baby may not stay that way until you go into labour, it may give you some temporary relief from backache.
Two movements recommended to me by the team at The Miracle Box were the pelvic tilt and the lateral pelvic tilt. These two exercises are great for alleviating back ache and opening up the pelvis if baby is back to back.
When you buy The Complete Birthing Ball Kit from The Miracle Box you are supplied with three large posters showing exercises for pregnancy and beyond. At antenatal classes you will be shown how to use the ball as part of an active birth. This is what I am hoping to do with mine any day now!!
The Miracle Box also provide you with a fantastic DVD that is ‘A Simple Guide to Pelvic Floor and Core Exercises’.
The Complete Kit aims to keep you healthy throughout your pregnancy and after the birth. It gives you a wide range of exercises to try with photos and simple explanations to help you exercise efficently and safely.
I have been using the wall charts supplied with my ball but I have also been referring back to advice I was given by the physiotherapist during our antenatal weekend on The Isle of Wight. Much of these exercises overlap and in particular I like using the ball for squatting against the wall as I want to have an active birth I need to build up the strength in my legs and squats are perfect for this. using the ball against the wall to roll up and down allows me to complete a squatting exercise safely and securely without losing the benefit to my leg muscles.
There is so much advice online for using a birthing ball during pregnancy and birth. You really need to get a ball, correctly sized for you and find a routine or sequence of exercises that works for you.
The Miracle Box Complete Birthing Ball Kit is a great place to start as it provides the ball, a pump and a comprehensive range of exercises along with safety advice.
You can also download exercises from The Miracle Box website that are specifically for optimal foetal positioning. These are late pregnancy postures that help get your baby into the best position for birth. They are exercises that help to move your baby and tips for using the birth ball during labour itself.
One of the other great uses for the birthing ball is as a base from where to find and exercise your pelvic floor!
Problems with your pelvic floor muscles can affect your bladder, bowel and sexual function. It is so important to locate and exercise these muscles during and after pregnancy.
To find the necessary muscles imagine that you are trying to stop yourself from peeing and at the same time from passing wind. You are trying to feel these muscles lift and squeeze.
To exercise your pelvic floor you need to practise short and long squeezes. When doing this with a physiotherapist I had real difficulty to begin with and I have to admit that I do not exercise my pelvic floor as often as I should. I hope that I do not come to regret that later in life!
Ideally you should aim to do 5 long squeezes and 5 short squeezes, 5 times a day to get your pelvic floor into good shape to aid recovery after birth. You can do these exercises anywhere at anytime, perhaps at work, whilst watching TV or whilst driving your car. Sitting on a birthing ball is a great way to focus on this area as you exercise it.
Pelvic floor exercises have totally changed women’s lives. There are whole books on it!
Because of all the many uses and benefits of the birthing ball it has become my constant companion throughout this pregnancy and I will love having it as a resource and a comfort at my birth. I also think it will provide a confortable seat after the birth should I be experiencing any perineal discomfort!
The Complete Birthing Ball Kit from The Miracle Box is well worth the £29.99 it costs to buy. It comes with paper and digital resources as well as a wealth of information and advice from the website.
If I have not convinced you to buy a ball with this review then check back for my birth story in a couple of weeks to see how I use the ball during labour and also a few weeks after that when I plan to start using the kit to begin my postnatal fitness campaign.
But remember when you have it you have to use it, not leave it in the ball pool in the corner!!
I was provided with a Complete Birthing Ball Kit from The Miracle Box for the purposes of this review