Exercise balls are excellent exercise equipments for pregnant women as it helps strengthen and prepare the body for labor and delivery. Prenatal fitness ball exercises are intended to exercise and flex the abdominal and leg muscles that are mainly used during labor.
These exercises are easy to perform and can be done separately or along with routine cardiovascular and other prenatal exercises. It is important that mothers-to-be complete at least one set of 15 repetitions.
Arm and Leg Lift
When done on an exercise ball, the arm and leg lift exercise will make labor easier to deal with later on.
Sit on the ball keeping your back straight and your feet placed hip-width apart. Unbend your right leg and raise it slowly to your hips. Simultaneously, lift both your arms to your shoulder level.
Bring your arms and legs to the start position slowly and carefully. Perform the same activity with the other leg as well. When performed correctly the exercise relieves back pain by strengthening the muscles. You also become more aware of the contractions during labor.
Get down on your knees and put your hands on the exercise ball. Push in the pelvis and bring the ball in to your body flexing in your abdominal muscles at the same time. Stay in the position for two seconds before rolling the ball away from your body. Come back to start position. Perform as many repetitions as you want. Pelvic tilt is good for strengthening the abdominal muscles.
Place yourself carefully and comfortably on the exercise ball. Keep your back straight. Contract the pelvic muscles as though you are blocking the flow of urine and passage of wind at the same time. Hold for a count of five and slowly release the muscles. Kegels will help strengthen the vaginal and pelvic muscles making it easy to regain the muscle tone post partum. Repeat this exercise often during the day. You do not necessarily need an exercise ball to perform Kegels.
Stand straight with your back against a wall. Position the exercise ball in between you and the wall. Your feet should be shoulder-length apart. Bend your body slightly on the ball. Lower your body by slowly bending your knees. The thighs should be parallel to the floor. Unbend your legs slowly and return to the start position.