A PREGNANCY exercise ball, also known as a birthing ball or Swiss ball, is a multi-tasking tool many pregnant women depend on.
The best pregnancy exercise balls can be used as chairs, for exercise and in labour, and they are fantastic at relieving pregnancy-related aches and pains.
Here's a well-known fact: as beautiful as pregnancy may be, women experience a range of symptoms as their bodies change over the course of nine months.
It's tricky to get comfortable – especially if you're suffering from back pain or pelvic girdle pain – so a pregnancy exercise ball can double as a chair in pregnancy, which helps maintain your posture.
While a pregnancy exercise ball can be used for work or watching TV at any stage of pregnancy, it really comes into its own in the third trimester.
A pregnancy exercise ball is also useful for a variety of gentle pregnancy exercises, for the arms and legs – as its name suggests.
These balls are also indispensable in labour: women bounce on them, lean and roll on them and they can even help to progress labour. Bonus: they work as feeding chairs once baby's arrived, or to rock baby to sleep.
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1. Best for pregnancy-related pain: BABYGO Birthing Ball
- (AD) BABYGO Birthing Ball, £22.95 at Amazon – buy here
This pregnancy exercise ball from BabyGo is a favourite for easing aches and pains in pregnancy, from SPD to sciatica, plus it can help postpartum recovery for women suffering from diastasis recti.
It's made from a BPA-free material that's five times stronger than a regular exercise ball, and includes a handy book with pregnancy-friendly exercises for mums to be.
'This ball is great. I’ve had Pelvic Girdle Pain during my pregnancy which it has really helped with easing.
'I’ve also sat on a few of my friends' birthing balls and they’re usually too tough, or too big for me, so choosing one where I can adjust the sizing has been great. Affordable and very sturdy, really helpful!' writes a fan.
2. Best as a chair: Mind Body Future Yoga Ball Chair
- (AD) Mind Body Future Yoga Ball Chair, £26.99 at Amazon – buy here
Not only does this pregnancy exercise ball come in three sizes – 55cm, 65cm and 75cm – it also has a base to stop it rolling, making it ideal as a replacement for your normal chair, during pregnancy.
The heavy-duty design also includes an e-book, mini foot pump, measuring tape, air stopper plug and plug removal tool.
Using it in pregnancy can help provide support and prepare the body for labour.
3. Best value: Opti Purple Gym Ball – 65cm
- Opti Purple Gym Ball – 65cm, £7.99 at Argos – buy here
You don't need to spend a ton of money on a pregnancy exercise ball – this one is a third of the cost of most of the other options, and does the trick brilliantly.
This design includes a pump and is popular with pregnant women, as well as those who need it for post-surgery rehab and those who want to entertain kids with it.
4. Best for workouts: Mantra Sports Exercise Ball Chair
- (AD) Mantra Sports Exercise Ball Chair, from £29.97 at Amazon – buy here
This Swiss ball is brilliant for exercise in pregnancy since it includes a stability base, resistance bands and a handy poster with exercises.
It's one to enjoy for the 'home gym' before, during and after pregnancy.
5. Toughest pregnancy ball: Trideer Exercise Ball
- (AD) Trideer Exercise Ball, from £10.99 at Amazon – buy here
Trideer's exercise ball is a good choice if you want a budget buy that happens to be incredibly tough.
This anti-burst, anti-slip design can support up to 2,000 lbs, and includes an inflation foot pump.
It's made from an eco-friendly, hypoallergenic material and pregnant women love it.
'This was a godsend when pregnant, particularly in the 3rd trimester…
'It was so helpful when I got restless legs in pregnancy and for ensuring I sat up straight and forward to position baby correctly', writes a fan.
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