Do your hips or back hurt? If you talk to a doctor about it, do they tell you, “Sounds like you’re pregnant!” (🤯😤😡🤬) They might tell you to stay off your feet or take a five-minute walk every hour but seriously?? There is so much more you can do! You CAN have a comfortable pregnancy with no sharp pain in your body! You don’t have to surrender nor accept unnecessary afflictions while you are expecting a child. Sure your body is going through a lot to create another human, but you don’t have to be miserable through it all. A ball chair might be the best investment you make this pregnancy.
You don’t even need to be dependent on a chiropractor or any other health practitioner to bring you much-needed relief a few times a week. Chiropractors are excellent for getting you into alignment, but staying in alignment is the key to saving yourself from daily aches while saving you money & time.
*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that, at no added cost to you, I may receive compensation for products you purchase through links found on my blog. (Thank you, thank you!) This in no way affects the products I recommend (I only recommend the best)!*
*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, so please consult your physician before attempting any of these suggestions. Use your best judgment. What worked for me may not work for you. Each body is different and unique. Do what you feel is best at your own risk. I am not liable for any consequences. I am a blogger. This is a blog meant to provide opinions, suggestions, experiences, and information. Not medical advice. I am human and make mistakes, so information may not be 100% complete or accurate. Thank you, and enjoy!*
Get an Exercise Ball Chair
If you want to cut to the chase: Just get a ball chair!! Use an exercise ball chair while pregnant, and even during labor. Some people call it a birthing ball. Some people call it a pregnancy ball. Yoga ball. Fitness ball. Gym ball. Giant squishy inflated ball. It’s all of the above!
Why am I so passionate about using exercise ball chairs during pregnancy?
After two pain-filled pregnancies, I set out to finally figure “it” out during pregnancy #3. In this helpful post, you will learn about *all* the things I did to reduce and eventually eliminate my pelvic/hip and back pain. But in the post you are currently reading, you will learn why it’s worth finally making the leap to buy an exercise ball chair.
Pregnancy #1: When a too-small exercise ball, yoga, and road-trips didn’t help
During Pregnancy #1 I had unbearable pelvic pain. My pubic symphysis (the very front of your hips, below the mons pubis, aka the part where all your pubic hair grows) felt like it was made of hot metal. I would get shots of pain down my legs and groin. My lower back (where it meets my legs) was just a giant ball of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.
I couldn’t sleep, sit, walk, or exist without excruciating hip pain. Doing yoga almost daily seemed to make it worse. I sat on the only exercise ball I had, which was a 45 cm one (way too short for my 5’7″ frame).
Not only that, but we went on a 9-hour road trip when I was 38 weeks pregnant and when we arrived at our destination I was 100% sure that I was either going to deliver the baby or die. We even toured the local hospital just in case. Luckily neither happened. On the way back we got out and walked every hour so the 9-hour trip turned into 12 hours.
Fast-forward 4 weeks, during labor: I didn’t even notice contractions because my pelvic pain totally eclipsed them. After my baby was delivered, and my hips didn’t hurt anymore, I realized just how bad the pain had been. It had felt like the bones in my pelvis were continuously shattering. When I look back at pictures from my pregnancy I am horrified by how miserable I looked. I didn’t know just how much I could have done to ease that pain.
Pregnancy #2: When massage therapy & a crappy, cheap (but bigger) exercise ball didn’t cut it (Pilates, Spinning Babies, and Purple Mattress did help)
During Pregnancy #2 I started seeing a massage therapist and doing Pilates, so my hip pain was more bearable. I finally realized yoga made my hip pain worse, so I stopped doing yoga and only did Pilates Fusion (which for some reason doesn’t kill my hips). My gestational diabetes demanded I go on frequent walks and swim at the rec center regularly. Getting the kids out of the pool and showered was a work-out in itself.
I regularly sat on a 75 cm exercise ball, but it was cheap and always stretched into weird shapes, making my hips lower than my knees (more on this later). I even did the Spinning Babies exercises frequently. My hips were much better than with my first but still plenty of pain. I ruefully accepted that hip pain must be an inevitable part of pregnancy.
Pregnancy #3: Finally seeing a chiropractor, regular exercise (Pilates, jogging, biking, & weight lifting) AND duh, du-du-duuuu (royal trumpets) I got a ball chair.
Then I got pregnant a third time and was heck-bound & determined to do everything possible to reduce or even eliminate my hip pain. I started seeing a chiropractor (first 3x per week, then 2x per week, then once a week). Pilates continued being part of my weekly routine, in addition to jogging or lifting weights every week. I even rode a bike, pulling my kids in a trailer, for much of my pregnancy. All of these things and more helped me accomplish my VBA2C, but the biggest thing that impacted my daily comfort/discomfort was sitting on a ball chair.
Ball chairs are Heaven’s gift to womankind. They are unbelievably pain-free. The first few times you sit in a ball chair you will think, “hm, this is weird, I don’t know what the fuss is all about.” It’s like a Purple mattress. Weird and unusual because you have never used one before. After sitting in it for hours you might realize the subtle absence of achiness and stiffness you would have from sitting in any other chair. Even the fanciest most ergonomic computer chair or cushiony recliner ends in stiffness and creaking joints when you get up. Eventually, you will notice big differences like less back pain and more joint mobility.
You mentioned hips and knees??
Yes, quick recap: I sat on simple exercise balls (like these) during my first and second pregnancies, but my hips were always lower than my knees. In Spinning Babies you learn that it is important to always have your hips above your knees during pregnancy. So I decided to just go for it and get a ball chair, to make dang sure my hips sat higher than my knees.
We put it together (super simple, you just screw, like, 4 things in and blow up the ball and drop it in) and put it to use immediately. I sat in it for dinner and was able to get up effortlessly with less pain and stiffness. It was AMAZING.
I exclusively sat in my ball chair from then on. If people were in the living room or I was watching a movie, I would bring my ball chair to the living room. For meals, I would take my ball chair to the kitchen table. If I was sitting at the desk, my ball chair would come with me. Even when we moved and the desk and TV moved downstairs, my lovely husband would carry the ball chair up and down the stairs for me. Or I carried it myself. It was that necessary. My husband hated it 😛
Did you even use the exercise ball chair during labor?
Yes! I even took my ball chair to the birthing center when I was in labor. My midwives had never used one before and they LOVED it! My midwife was able to sit by my bed while I slept to apply pressure to my hips and rub essential oils on me all night. She said it was incredible and they needed to get one for the birthing center. When we had to pack up to go to the hospital, I begged to take my ball chair in, but everyone insisted that we should go in without it and only grab it out of the car if we still felt the need for it. I went into the hospital for an epidural, so I was stuck in bed, but if I wasn’t planning on getting an epidural I would have definitely taken it in.
There are even exercises you can do with birthing balls and exercise ball chairs to help induce labor, progress labor, and help baby get into better positions. So yeah, birthing balls are invaluable assets for laboring moms.
Wait, but you can’t take an exercise ball chair everywhere…
As much as I wish an exercise ball chair could easily fold up and be portable, it can’t. Not to mention, we only had a tiny Honda Fit as our family car until my third was 7 months old! So even though the Fit has an impressive trunk and we were able to squeeze the ball chair in when we left the car seats with friends who were watching our older two, it just wasn’t feasible to cart it around all over town. So what would I do when I couldn’t take my ball chair? I followed Spinning Babies’ advice and purchased a mini Pilates (Fusion) ball. I blew a single breath (puff) of air into it. Then I sat on it!
It went with me everywhere.
- In the car
- At the temple (during sessions and volunteering in the laundry room)
- Waiting at the DMV
- At the doctors’ office during the million appointments
- You get the picture
The little fusion ball’s home is the car when I’m pregnant. My husband totally loves yanking it out from under his butt and throwing it to my seat (NOT). He can’t believe such a weird thing could be comfortable. But he’s got a ball sack and I don’t. And it reduces pain in the car, so I just roll with it. I even still use it sometimes if my sacrum is acting up.
For more details on the portable ball option:
Watch the video Spinning Babies has on how to place it. It is very deflated and folds vertically under your bum. Parallel to your legs. Other seat cushions are to thick to safely use in a car. And they would be awkward to carry around everywhere. But a fusion ball is small and discreet enough to put into a large pocket or purse. Especially if you deflate it and inflate it simply by pulling the ball open- no obtrusive breathing necessary. It made everything from 10-minute car rides to 3-hour church bearable! Getting a darker color, like black would probably make it all the more discreet, but mine was bright blue and just fine.
Is an exercise ball chair really worth the money if I’m only going to use it for a few months?
Excellent question. Everyone who comes to my house likes to sit in the ball chair. Admittedly, newly postpartum it wasn’t pleasant. At all. During labor, I tore in 3 areas of my perineum and labia, so it was horribly uncomfortable to sit in the ball chair while I healed. After a few months though, I was able to sit on it without pain and now I love it again! It keeps my hips flexible and mobile instead of holding them in a solid, uncomfortable position like every other chair.
I also use it as a rocking chair, or “bouncing chair,” to calm my babies. My other kiddos also love sitting on it. It’s super cute to watch them scrambling onto it.
For all you skimmers: chiropractic care, although essential to get your spine and pelvis into alignment, isn’t available or even good for you on a daily basis. Although exercise is vital for strengthening your pelvis & back, nothing compares to the daily assistance of sitting on a firm ball chair. Do the best thing for your pelvis! Your body will thank you during labor.
Questions? Comments? Message me on the social medias @bearfootmamablog or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to chat!
Lots of love,