Exercises With Fitball for Pregnant Women: Pregnancy supposes an alteration of the routine in the woman’s life, especially in everything related to the practice of sports. When you receive the news of pregnancy, especially if you are a new mother, you quickly want to know if you can continue with the same activities to which you are so used. But, pregnancy is a period of many physical, emotional, hormonal changes … How do we know what exercise we can practice during pregnancy?
- 1 When to Start Physical Activity During Pregnancy?
- 2 An Exercise Routine for Pregnant Women With Fitball Ball
- 2.1 1. Shoulder Bridge with Arm Raises
- 2.2 2. Activation of the Pelvic Floor in the ‘frog’ Position
- 2.3 3. Bridge Over Shoulders With the Ball
- 2.4 4. Mobilization of the Hips
- 2.5 5. Relaxation of the Lumbar Muscles
- 2.6 6. Exercise ‘free Pelvis.’
- 2.7 7. Mobilization of the Pelvis With an Asymmetry of the Legs
- 2.8 8. Activation of the Pelvic Floor and Transversus Abdominis
- 2.9 9. Lateral Stretch
- 2.10 10. Bridge Over Shoulders
- 3 Final Word
When to Start Physical Activity During Pregnancy?
In the first place, it is convenient to remember that the best time to start physical activity is the second trimester of pregnancy (from the fourth month) because, during the first trimester, physical activity is not recommended since, in this period, there is a higher risk of spontaneous abortions. The second trimester is an ideal time; women already notice physical changes and are more aware of their state.
Another important aspect is to go to the gynecologist to receive a permit for the practice of exercise/sport suitable for pregnant women. Your gynecologist or midwife must know that you will start a sporting activity since there could be some contraindications about which they should warn you. If there aren’t, go ahead. And, depending on the type of activity, supervision by a qualified professional is recommended.
Among many sports activities, some are ideal for pregnant women, since they develop the most important muscle groups in pregnancy. We talk about swimming, antepartum pilates (such as exercises with fit ball for pregnant women), prenatal yoga, elliptical, stationary bike, walking, body balance, or stretching. They are the most recommended sports activities for pregnant women.
In this article, I will explain several pilates exercises for pregnant women in which the fitball is used and that you can practice at home as long as the corresponding preventive measures are used, such as using a pelvic belt and a fitball, specially designed for pregnant women.
Of course, you can also attend by making an appointment in the classes for pregnant women that I offer at the clinic. Fitball exercises for pregnant women are suitable movements to practice from the second trimester, as long as there are no contraindications. If this is your case, I encourage you to practice them!
An Exercise Routine for Pregnant Women With Fitball Ball
1. Shoulder Bridge with Arm Raises
In this exercise, we add difficulty, which is the elevation of the arms. We will better activate the core muscles since we add an instability component.
Starting position: Lying on your back, with your legs resting on the ball and arms stretched upwards.
Take a deep breath and, as you release, lift your spine. Breathe in with the trunk raised, maintain balance, and lower (vertebra by vertebra) when exhaling. It will be important to maintain the ideal posture in this pelvic floor exercise with fitball to guarantee results.
2. Activation of the Pelvic Floor in the ‘frog’ Position
The fundamental thing in pregnancy is to exercise the deep muscles of the pelvis. By doing pelvic floor contractions ( Kegel exercises ), we prevent loss of urine, gas, or other problems related to personal health postpartum.
Starting position: Lying on your back, rest your legs on the ball, open your knees and hips, and bring the soles of your feet together (frog position).
Take a deep breath (opening the rib cage) and, when releasing, activate the pelvic floor (contract the sphincters as if you wanted to cut the stream of pee). Hold the contraction for 5-8 seconds and relax. Remember that the contraction has to be accompanied by expiration (releasing the air). Repeat this exercise for pregnant women 15 times.
3. Bridge Over Shoulders With the Ball
In this exercise with fitball at home for pregnant women, we lift the trunk by holding the ball with our hands. We will notice more excellent stability in the shoulder girdle since the ball’s weight helps to support the scapulae and shoulders well on the ground.
Starting position: Lying on your back, with your legs bent, hold the ball with your hands and stretch your arms up.
Take a deep breath and, when releasing, raise the spine (vertebra by vertebra), inhaling down. Check that the ball does not move, that the arms do not go back, and that the wrists are aligned with the shoulders. Repeat 15 times.
4. Mobilization of the Hips
This exercise’s objective with fitball for pregnant women is to make the adductors (the inner thighs) more flexible and gain elasticity in the pelvic joints for natural childbirth. During the first phase of labor (dilation), the pelvis must have the least possible muscular tension. If the external muscles of the pelvis are contracted and tight, the pelvic joints lose their mobility. This could make it challenging to dilate and lengthen labor.
Starting position: On your knees, bring your left leg to the side and place the sole on the ground (the tip of the foot directed to the side). Rest one hand on the ball for stability.
Take a deep breath and, when releasing, bring the pelvis (the weight of the body) to the left side (towards the left leg); you will notice a gentle stretch in the groin, the inner thigh, and the pelvic floor. Breathing in, you return to the starting position.
It is a dynamic stretch, which means that we should not stay in the still position, but rather move the trunk with each inspiration and exhalation. Repeat 20 times. Change sides and do another 20 repetitions.
5. Relaxation of the Lumbar Muscles
After the previous antepartum fitball exercise, you may notice tension in your lower back. It is important to stretch the lower back from time to time (between exercises with a fitball for pregnant women) since the increase in lumbar curvature causes increased muscle tension and pain.
Starting position: On your knees, rest your buttocks on your feet, spread your knees (to leave room for your belly), support your head and rib cage on the ball. Make smooth lateral movements, moving the ball and the trunk. Remember not to detach your buttocks from your heels at any time.
6. Exercise ‘free Pelvis.’
The ‘free pelvis’ concept in pregnant women’s training is based on performing hip movements that facilitate the fetus’s fit in the birth canal. It is a very beneficial exercise with fitball for pregnant women to practice during pregnancy and in the first phase of natural childbirth. Relaxes the lower back mobilizes the pelvic joints and stimulates the baby to fit correctly in the pelvis.
Starting position: Sitting on the ball, with the external rotation of the legs (knees out), slightly lean the trunk forward and rest the hands on the legs. Perform lateral hip movements.
7. Mobilization of the Pelvis With an Asymmetry of the Legs
In the third trimester, we add leg asymmetry exercises as they prevent complications, such as tilting the fetus towards a hip. This could make delivery difficult and increases the risk of using instruments in delivery.
Starting position: On your knees, rest both hands on the ball. Bring your left leg forward, place the sole of your foot on the ground, and slightly open your knee (for greater comfort). Move your body forward (bring your body weight toward your leading leg) and return to the starting position. Repeat 20 times and then change legs.
8. Activation of the Pelvic Floor and Transversus Abdominis
The importance of working the pelvic floor and the transverse abdominis in synergy is fundamental for the greater effectiveness of the work. The deep muscles of the pelvis and abdomen work as a whole and should be trained in this way.
Starting position: On all fours, rest your upper torso on the ball, spread your knees hip-width apart.
Take a deep breath and, when releasing, press the ball with your arms (push down) and, at the same time, contract the pelvic floor and the transverse abdominis (pushing the navel in). By using your arms, you will enhance muscle contraction. Inspiring, relax everything. Repeat this pelvic floor exercise with fitball 20 times.
9. Lateral Stretch
The objective of this fitball exercise in pregnant women is to gain flexibility in the lateral muscles of the rib cage since, in pregnancy, it is tense, the ribs are compressed, and women tend to have the sensation “as if they were short of breath.” By stretching the dorsal muscles, the sides of the trunk, and the rib cage’s muscles, we can alleviate these discomforts.
Starting position: Sitting on the ball, legs spread hip-width apart.
As you breathe in, raise your right arm (straight) and, releasing air, flex your spine to the left side (lean your trunk to the left side) and stretch your arm to the same side. Repeat 10 times and then change arms.
10. Bridge Over Shoulders
In this exercise, we activate the abdomen’s deep muscles (the transverse) and tone the buttocks. The movement of raising and lowering the trunk mobilizes the spine improving its flexibility.
Starting position: Lying on your back, support your legs on the ball, and stretch your arms along the trunk.
Take a deep breath and, when you release, begin to raise (vertebra by vertebra) the spine. Breathe in with the trunk raised and when releasing air, lower. This exercise with fitball at home for pregnant should repeat 15 times.
What do you think of these exercises with fitball for pregnant women? Put them into practice during pregnancy and discover the results it offers you.
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