So, you want the wait for your baby to be over already, and you’ve been thinking of using a yoga ball to induce labor. There are many techniques that can help speed up the labor process from walking, having sexual intercourse (if your water hasn’t broken), yoga ball exercises, and just plain old waiting on nature. If you want to use a yoga ball, this article will give you information on how it can help things along, and some ideas on how to use it.

Using A Yoga Ball to Induce Labor

Yoga balls are a staple in the lives of many pregnant women. They can be used throughout pregnancy to increase comfort when sitting. They can also be a useful tool for exercise. But did you know that you can use a yoga ball for inducing labor at the end of your pregnancy?

While it doesn’t directly induce labor, a yoga ball can help you get in the right positions to help move baby down towards the birth canal. Yoga balls can help:

  • Open The Pelvic Area 

Sitting on a yoga ball can help open up the pelvic area. This helps your baby “drop” down into the pelvis. For women with small hips, the more you do to open up the pelvis, the faster labor can begin.

  • Encourages Pressure To The Cervix

If you sit on a yoga ball to help bring baby down into the birth canal, this encourages the head to put pressure on the cervix. Pressure to this area helps to encourage contractions of the uterus. While at first you may just experience more Braxton-Hicks (practice contractions) when the time is right, those may not go away and full-labor begins. 

  • Positioning Baby

Rocking and swaying movements on the ball can help guide your baby into position for birth. In some cases, a baby that is turned wrong cannot get down against the cervix. Babies do a complete rotation as they descend into the birth canal. If they are facing the wrong way, they may become lodged above the pelvic bones, unable to descend. This can also happen in babies in “breech” position, with their bottom facing down, instead of the head.

  • Increased Blood Flow 

Using a yoga ball at the end of pregnancy can help increase blood flow to the pelvic area. This helps all the tissues that support; the baby, labor, and delivery be well nourished with nutrients and needed oxygen. As they say, “babies come when they are ready,” so having good nutrition and blood flow helps get them ready faster. It can also reduce the chances of complications during labor and delivery.

Using A Yoga Ball to Start Labor

Studies show that if mother’s begin using a yoga ball for inducing labor right around the beginning of the last trimester, through the first stage of labor, it can progress much more quickly. It has been found that gravity works naturally to help start labor, and keep it progressing. Women who lie flat have a much higher incidence rate for cesarean delivery. 

In order to get the most benefit from a yoga ball, begin these exercises around week 32 of pregnancy:

  1. Rocking

Sit on the yoga ball with your bottom on the ball, and your knees apart. Gently rock the ball from side-to-side, and back-and-forth. Do this for 15 to 30 minutes daily. You can even do this exercise while watching TV and use the yoga ball in place of the couch or chair.

  1. Infinity Circles

Sit on the ball with your knees and pelvis open. Make sure your feet are firmly planted on the floor. Rock the ball gently from left to right in a “figure eight,” fashion. Rock up to the right, rock down to the left, in a circular motion. This give maximum hip opening effects. Do this exercise from 10 to 20 minutes a day as tolerated. It may make your thighs burn a little at first, so work your way up.

  1. Gentle Bounces

Sit on your yoga ball slightly forward from center. Place both feet flat on floor, about a shoulder width apart. Place hands on thighs for stability. Using your thigh muscles, push down into the ball and bounce up. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes a day.

  1. Pelvic Rock Lean

Get down on the floor. Put your knees on the floor about a shoulder width apart. Place your hands on your yoga ball in front of you. Gently rock yourself forward as far as you can go, then rock back on your knees. Continue the back and forth motion for 15 to 20 minutes. You can do this a few times daily. It is also good for lower back pain because it transfers the weight of the baby to the front of your body. 

  1. Squats

This one is a bit tricky, so you can do them one of two ways. The first is to place the yoga ball between your back and a wall. Make sure you get the ball down by your lower back. Bend your knees into a squat and go down as far as you can. Slowly raise back up to standing, and repeat. Do 5 to 10 squats, and increase as tolerated.

Helpful Tips

If you plan on using a yoga ball for inducing labor, or for exercise during your pregnancy, here are some helpful tips:

  • Make sure you get an okay for exercise from your doctor
  • You can use any exercise or yoga ball that is “burst-proof
  • Make sure the ball you choose is large enough that your hips are above your knees when you’re sitting on the ball. Exercise balls are sized according to your height. Here is a handy reference:      

Your Height

Exercise Ball Size

       5'1"– 5'8"

55 cm

       5'9"– 6'2"

65 cm

       6'3"– 6'7"

75 cm

  • If you are near the end of your pregnancy, or already in labor, and there is a chance your water might break, make sure you cover the ball with a towel or waterproof pad