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, from £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, £28.99 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 £35.97 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 £15.99 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.
6. Best for exercise and birth: Birth-ease
- Fitness and birth ball, from £17.99 from Birth-ease – buy here
A pregnancy fitness ball is always a great addition for birth, particularly for contractions, supporting labour and natural birth positions.
This one is made of a non-slip PVC, is latex-free and should the ball burst it is designed to deflate extremely slowly to support you and baby.
7. Best designer ball: YSL
- Exercise ball, £50 from YSL – buy here
If you like to look stylish while you work out then you may be a fan of the YSL exercise ball. Suitable for low impact exercise, it has the signature YSL slogan in contrasting white on black.
Easy to clean (just wipe and go) it measures 70 cm in diameter and is made of 100% polyethene.
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