Exercises during pregnancy are often focused on easing discomfort and preparing the body for birth. Many women find a birth ball (exercise ball) to be a useful tool during pregnancy and labour, because it provides comfortable support, and encourages movement of the pelvis – allowing a good position for baby.
Pelvic tilts are great for people who spend long periods of time in a seated position, especially if they tend to slouch with their bum tucked under. Tucking creates tension in the pelvic floor muscles, which need to be strong and supple for birth. This exercise will encourage “un-tucking” of the bum, which in turn releases and lengthens the pelvic floor muscles.
- The ball can be put near a wall for extra stability
- Sit on the ball with your feet wide apart (as wide as needed for comfort)
- As you inhale, gently push the ball backwards (un-tucking pelvis)
- Exhale, gently moving the ball forward again (tucking bum under)
- Repeat a few times, as needed for comfort.
During labour, sitting on a ball and moving the pelvis forward and back (and side to side) can help encourage baby to descend (with the help of your contractions!).
If you do not have a ball to try out this exercise, the cat/cow yoga pose (positioned on all fours) will have a similar effect. You can create extra padding with some folded blankets under your knees – your comfort is key!
Medical Disclaimer: It is important to discuss any intentions for exercise with your primary health care provider. Although this is considered a therapeutic exercise that is safe for pregnancy, every pregnancy is different, and sometimes modifications are needed, depending on your health history. If your pregnancy is categorized as high-risk, it is highly recommended that you consult your OB/GYN, midwife, or family physician before starting exercise.