If you are not exercising you can still get loads of use out of your exercise ball during pregnancy and will be working your abs without even realising! Sit up straight to watch TV or at your computer, do some little bounces (great for encouraging baby later on), circle your hips on the ball in both directions or move them in a figure of eight. Also, try leaning across the ball for a nice back stretch; you can add a side to side or forward and back motion to this stretch too.
While your doctor has probably discouraged any excessively strenuous exercises, gentle exercises are usually recommended as long as you are experiencing a low-risk pregnancy. Using an exercise ball during pregnancy while engaging in Pilates moves like the bridge, for example, can make your workout safe and effective without significantly raising your heart rate. To perform a bridge, place the ball against something sturdy, lean against it, and walk out until the back of your head is lying on the ball. Place your hands on the ground and proceed to raise and lower your hips. This can be a good way to strengthen your back, thus helping you to better support your growing baby.
You can use an exercise ball during pregnancy for several other exercises, especially gentle abdominal moves. Maintaining the strength in your core during pregnancy is one of the best ways to quickly bounce back after giving birth. One of the easiest moves begins by sitting up on the ball and walking your feet out until your back is resting against the prenatal exercise ball. Make sure that your hips are lower than your shoulders and gently crunch forward. The ball helps to support your back and allows you to work your abdominal muscles without harming the baby or over exerting yourself.
Whether or not you are using an exercise ball during pregnancy to work out, it is important to always discuss any exercises you are doing or plan on doing with your doctor. They have the best knowledge of what is safe for you and your baby, and can keep a look out for any signs of potential issues. It is also a good idea to use a spotter while exercising in case you slip up, helping to prevent injury. Keeping yourself in shape while pregnant will help to keep you in optimal health, thereby preparing you for the strains of labor and the recovery period afterward.