Dr. Casie Danenhauer discusses the benefits of using a large exercise ball (aka swiss ball/birthing ball) during all phases of pregnancy, but especially as a supportive tool during the 3rd trimester and labor. She notes the importance of maintaining good pelvic and spinal mobility, core stability, and posture which the ball can help with as the pregnant body expands and changes to accommodate for baby. Dr. Casie notes especially how using the tactile feedback of the ball can assist preparing the pelvic floor to soften and open for vaginal delivery. She also gives a short description of proper fitting for size and how to safely use the ball.
The exercise sequence focuses on simple pelvic mobility activities, pelvic floor awareness, core stability work, and positions of comfort to be used in the changing pregnant body and in labor. Dr. Casie offers modifications for different stages of pregnancy and performs ~ 10 repetitions of each exercises, but encourages each pregnant person to find the number of reps that feels therapeutic to them (mobility should feel good!). The sequence can be performed daily.
Exercises on the ball include:
Pelvic floor and core awareness with breath
Pelvic Tilting: Forward/Back with pelvic floor awareness
Pelvic Tilting: Right/Left
Perineal softening into the ball
Pelvic Figure 8
Core Stability: Marching
Wide-leg thoracic rotation
Supported child's pose with ball
As always consult with your pelvic floor PT if you have questions regarding form or safety during these activities. Always takes exercise at your own pace and modify as needed.