Birthing balls may seem like one of those pregnancy essentials people tell you that you need (like nipple cream, maternity swimsuits, and maternity leggings), but don’t. But that’s not true, and it totally depends on your personal preference. If your baby is due any second, you may be experiencing a handful of less-than-savory bodily occurrences a ball could help alleviate. It’s true — the third trimester is the time to get prepared for your baby to arrive in the world and get the heck out of your body. A great thing that can help with difficulties including constipation, lower back pain, and uncomfy in-utero baby positioning is finding the best birthing ball. But what even is a birthing ball, anyway?
How to use a birthing ball:
A birthing ball is more or less a yoga or exercise ball (think: ’80s workout videos and office chairs for restless folk) but for pregnant people. If you’re feeling unable to work out or are just experiencing general bodily stiffness or pain from contractions, a birthing balls can loosen you up and get your body moving comfortably. Birthing balls have a range of benefits during the pregnancy as well as after, when you can bounce on it to help soothe your baby.
All that said, a birthing ball may not be the first thing that comes to your loved ones’ mind when selecting your push present, so you may have to treat yo’ self to one. If you know little-to-nothing about how to choose the best birthing ball brand, this guide is for you. Here is the skinny on finding the best ball for that pregnancy and postpartum bounce.
Best Exercise Ball for Pregnancy
For a cost-friendly and, well, comfy option, Comfy Mom’s Exercise Ball is a sweet and straightforward ball that can help ease joint pain and keep your workout routine manageable during those big-belly days. According to this reviewer, the Comfy Mom ball can help loosen and crack even the most stubborn of backs. This cute ball comes in classic black, dark mint, and pink.
If a birthing ball isn’t enough for you, you can get a whole damn couch. This inflatable seat is designed to help expectant moms loosen their hips and bodies into healthy birthing positions. It can even be used during labor to help stimulate and add comfort to the process. It’s also a favorite of midwives and doulas. Sadly, this birthing seat doesn’t come with the masseuse in the photo. Besides that, it’s beyond.
If you’re indecisive about what size of pregnancy ball to get, or if you just want to keep your peanut cravings at bay, this peanut-shaped exercise ball has something to offer everyone. Featuring multiple possible exercise and relaxation positions, this yoga ball would be a great addition to your pregnancy and postpartum exercise repertoire. Apparently, your kids will be obsessed, too. You may be tempted to just lay your head in that little crevice and watch some TV, which is OK.
Why stop at just the birthing ball when you can get a whole set of goodies? Tumaz’s birthing and exercise ball set comes with anti-slip socks, an easy-to-access foot air pump, a yoga strap, and a peri bottle for the sometimes-challenging postpartum recovery weeks. As a bonus, you’ll also get an instructional poster to actually learn how to use all this stuff.
If you need a pregnancy-friendly work chair but aren’t ready to give up your swivel, this office installation could be perfect for you. Part birthing ball, part corporate office chair, this comfortable work addition is height- adjustable and ready to slide right up under your desk. Take it home for your maternity leave so you can feel like a boss wherever you are. This swiveling birthing ball is ideal for restless souls who like that twist and turn.
Calling all gym rats: If you want to double up on workout equipment and find a safe, comfortable way to loosen your hips, this workout ball with a base is ideal for your pregnancy and beyond. With over 100 possible exercises, boredom isn’t an option with this thing. That said, make sure to talk to your doctor before trying new strenuous workouts during your nine months of glory. Don’t go crazy and wipe yourself out — it’s good to stay fit, but don’t go for anything too ambitious if you’re new to pregnancy fitness.
Best Yoga Ball for Labor
Maybe you’re wondering if a regular, old-fashioned yoga ball can be used as a labor ball. The answer is yes — a yoga ball is a fantastic way to get some movement in when you feel like you can barely move. This Sport Shiny Balance Ball comes with a washable slip cover (in multiple colors!) if you have pets or are prone to messes. It will be even better when the baby is born and spills are abundant.
This is the ball for HBIC’s who like their office looking nice. If you want to stay strong with your aesthetic goals, this soothing light gray birthing ball will blend into your home or workspace like a piece of furniture. We didn’t know yoga balls could convey elegance, but Bintiva made it possible. With a touch-friendly felt fabric that doesn’t slip around on the floor, this ball is quiet and so sleek you’ll almost forget it’s there.
Another great choice for pregnant ladies with restless legs, this office chair and yoga training ball also has adorable slip covers you can match to any room’s aesthetic. Guken’s sitting ball is a fan fav for kids and adults alike. As your family grows, you’ll all be fighting over it.
Keep your legs comfy and your posture in check with this zen-inspiring Zenergy Ball. Part seat, part core and back strengthener, this innovative seat will align your body and help fight away pregnancy doldrums and low energy.
If you’re a no-frills, sophisticated type who just wants to re-position her baby to the right dang place, the PHYLLEXI stability and birthing ball will slide (er, bounce?) nicely into your lifestyle. Keep core strength and balance in check during your pregnancy and early motherhood months with this durable, anti-burst ball. This model can hold quite a bit of weight (2,200 pounds to be exact), so you don’t need to fret about knocking it out. You can use this ball to relax and unwind or get some stiffness-relieving sweats in before the big birthday. One reviewer even notes it’s quiet for an exercise ball — none of that squeaky-squeaky.
Now you can find one that rocks your style and gets your body feeling its best. Wherever you are with your ball — your computer, your workout area, or even on the sidewalk outside (who are we to judge?) — we hope this new addition buys you some relief. Then after the birth, you can go back to calling your new equipment an exercise ball. For more savvy shopping tips and hacks for mamas, surf our recommendations here.