One of the most beneficial tools out there for natural home birth is a birthing ball! But did you know there are actually a lot of things to be considered when choosing the perfect one? I’m about to let you in on everything you didn’t think you needed to know to choose a birthing ball!

Before buying, it’s vital that you figure out what size ball you need, know your weight and check weight limits, and figure out what type of unique qualities you want your ball to have.

Factoring in all these things will make it so much easier to choose a ball you will love for years to come! Read on to find out everything you need to know before you go ball shopping!

What is a birthing ball?

A birthing ball is just an ordinary exercise ball that A LOT mommies-to-be use throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

When used for this purpose, they are super beneficial and they make a great addition to your everyday routine.

There is no limit to the ways you can use it or the benefits it has on your body! You can exercise with it, sit on it, rest on it, whatever you choose and every option has it’s perks. (As long as you keep it safe!)

Why do I need a birthing ball?

In case you aren’t sure if you really need one, I’m here to assure you that you do! A birthing ball benefits you in so many ways. Here are just a few benefits you get from using one.

1. Eases back, hip, and pelvic pain

Using a birthing ball toward the end of pregnancy can help ease back, hip, and pelvic pain as well as pain from contractions.

One study found that only 30 minutes of birth ball exercise can help ease back and labor pain. (Source)

Just gently bouncing on the ball in between contractions gives you relief from contraction pain and keeps your mind focused on other things besides pain.

2. Helps induce labor

What mom, at the end of her pregnancy, doesn’t want to speed things up and finally meet her bundle of joy? A birthing ball is a great way to induce labor naturally.

It does this by helping the baby drop into position using force of gravity and movement. With your baby’s little head then pressed against your cervix, it helps bring on contractions which will, in turn, speed up dilation and overall time of labor. (YESS!!)

You can try to jump-start labor by moving your body in a circular motion to loosen up the hip muscles and lower back.

Gently bouncing up and down on it pairs with gravity to help your baby move toward the exit while the bouncing also reduces pain.

3. Encourages baby to turn the correct way

If you are one of the many mommas who have a stubborn baby that refuses to get in the anterior position (head down, facing your back), a birth ball can be a lifesaver!

Delivering a posterior baby could make for a longer labor because it’s harder for the baby to get through the pelvis.

A great way to help baby turn is to regularly sway side to side and around in circles on your ball.

Choosing the perfect birthing ball

As stated above, before purchasing a birthing ball, you need to know what size ball you need, a weight limit on the ball, what design or colors you want it to be, etc.

Sizing Chart

The size ball you need will be fully dependent on how tall you are. In general, while sitting on your birthing ball, your knees should be slightly below your hips, 2-4 inches.

If you aren’t quite sure which size you need, I made this chart to make it a little easier for you:

Ball SizeYour height
45 cm4’6″- 5′
55 cm5′- 5’6″
65 cm5’6″- 5’8″
75 cm5’9″ and up

If you are shorter than 4’6″ there are options for you too! You would need a 30 cm ball which you can find online or you can use the 45 cm ball and don’t inflate completely but keep it snug to ensure it will support you.

Weight limit

When we are 9 months pregnant about to pop, weight could be an issue. Some brands have weight limits as high as 2200 lbs., while other brands have weight limits as low as 300 lbs.

Safety is the main concern and making sure you choose a birthing ball that will easily support your weight is extremely important.

Here are some popular brands and their weight limit as a general guideline:

Fit Ball- weight limit 1250 lbs.

Live Infinitely– Supports up to 2,200 lbs

So Alpha Premium– Supports up to 600 lbs

Birthing ball covers

Now for the fun part! Covers allow you to personalize your ball plus they make carrying it around fashionable and easy.

It’s just a cover that goes around your birthing ball. Some of them are made with a strap on them that allows you to carry your ball like you would a purse or handbag. Others are made to fit snugly on your ball and you can keep them on at all times.

They are usually made of 100% stretchy Cotton but can also be made of spandex, felt, and other fabric types as well.

The best part is, you can find a cover that matches your personality.

You can find anything…

  • Favorite animal print- Whether you are obsessed with tiger or leopard print, or foxes and llamas, you can find a cover that matches what you are looking for.
  • Favorite patterns- Choose from any pattern scheme you are in to!
  • Favorite color- Keep it simple and just get your cover in your favorite color! Hot pink, emerald green, you name it! These are best for customizing!
  • Customized completely– You can pay to have your ball cover customized or if you are an avid DIYer, you can personalize it yourself. Personalizations can include your name, baby’s name, quotes, or anything you want to have sewn or ironed on.
  • Certain material– You can find birth balls in many different fabrics, cotton, spandex, felt, etc. If there is a material that you prefer, search for that specific material on google and you should get options.

They make cleaning super easy and prevent your ball from getting dirty from the floor. All you have to do is take the cover off and wash it and its ready to go again!

Needless to say, covers are a must-have for your new birthing ball! The best place to find them are and

Important qualities to look for in a birthing ball

Some very important qualities you want your ball to possess:

Anitburst Material: This is a ball you will be bouncing on, putting all your weight on, and trusting to keep you and your baby safe while on it.

If you choose the cheapest ball you can find, chances are it isn’t going to be of great quality. Spend that extra dollar to be sure you and your baby are getting the very best!

Adjustable: Some birthing balls can be different sizes in one depending on how much air you put in it. This allows you to adjust it to the correct size to fit your needs perfectly.

Foot Pump: A common complaint I see from people purchasing birthing balls is that the ball comes completely deflated and folded up.

This is something you will have to air up! The best thing to do is to look for one that has a quick foot or electric pump included.

This will prevent you from having to go out and buy a pump when you receive your ball or spending all day pumping it up with a basketball pump.

Non-slip, ribbed material- As I mentioned before, safety should be your number 1 concern. Find a birthing ball that has a non-slip material.

This helps them stay in place with skin contact even when sweating!

My advice to you is to choose a popular brand that has PLENTY of reviews so you know exactly what you are getting before you make a decision!

How do I use a birthing ball?

There are many different exercises to use on a birthing ball. Be sure to be extra careful when you are on it to prevent any falls or accidents from occurring.

Here are a few exercises you can try,

  • Sitting- Some women find it the most comfortable seat in the house. Sitting on it frequently encourages great posture by activating core muscles in your back and it also eases back pain. Sitting on your birthing ball instead of a chair helps strengthen your lower back and supports your pelvis better without any effort from you. Simply replacing your chair with a birthing ball is a huge help in the pregnancy department. When sitting on it, plant feet about shoulder width apart for the best support.
  • Doing circles on the ball– Swaying in a circular or side-to-side motion helps to bring the baby’s head down onto the cervix and gets you closer to labor by helping to jump start contractions. This is a great exercise to do after your water breaks.
  • Abdominal lift and tuck– Great for posterior babies because this exercise helps the baby turn around into position before giving birth.
  • Lean over it– Get in a kneeling position and rest your chest on the ball. You can do this to let your partner or midwife give you a massage to ease your pain or discomfort.

When should I begin using my birthing ball?

The sooner you begin using it, the better your outcome will be. You can use one throughout your entire pregnancy if you want to. In fact, this is the best option because it builds up the muscles in your back as your belly grows.

If you are only using it for inducing labor and aiding in birth and delivery, you should begin using it 8 to 10 weeks before your due date to begin working the muscles, easing tension, and bringing on contractions.

Many women begin bouncing on the ball about 32 weeks into their pregnancy to start encouraging the baby get into position and ready for the big day.

I hope you love it!

Enjoy your birthing ball to the fullest! Utilize every benefit it possesses to aid you on this journey of the easiest home birth ever.

And remember, you can use this ball long after you give birth so choosing something you absolutely LOVE is crucial!

For other pain-management techniques that truly work, check out this post next: “8 Proven Pain Management Tips for a Home Birth”

If you are still trying to decide if it’s something you need, that’s OK! Just pin this article for later so you can be sure to get the perfect birthing ball matching your personality!

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