If you are just starting your third term of pregnancy, your baby’s weight becomes significantly more noticeable, and you will increasingly tend to experience lower back, pelvic and perineal pain or discomfort. These symptoms can be upsetting as they increase both your level of tiredness and tension (particularly if you are still working or looking after young children) and perhaps concern about a potentially more protracted and uncomfortable delivery.
This is where a gym ball may turn out to be a faithful ally. We recommend that our pregnant patients start using a gym ball as their main chair towards the end of the second term – for eating, working at the computer or even watching TV.
Sitting on the slightly unstable and mobile gym ball favours better seated posture, gently mobilises the pelvis and lower back, and helps massage and relax the perineal muscles.
We also tend to use a gym ball when treating pregnant mums (or mums to be), and we have devised a simple treatment routine that supportive partners can safely give during the final weeks of pregnancy, reducing spouse tension and pain from the neck to the pelvis. This has the cumulative benefits of involving Dads positively, providing tangible relief to the Mums, and further enhancing the couple’s relationship at an important stage of their partnership.
I developed this treatment routine to help my own wife with her third and fourth pregnancies. Her first two deliveries had been protracted and traumatic (our eldest child was delivered by emergency C-section), and in stark contrast, our last two children were born relatively peacefully at home. My wife asserts that this result is significantly owed to a combination of osteopathic treatment and her gym ball routine.
Gym balls are very cheap (from less than £10) and can be found in the likes of Sports Direct and Argos. You might also find this post helpful: Reducing aches and pains during pregnancy (and how to speed up post-natal recovery)