How To: Prenatal Self-Massage with Therapy Balls
It doesn’t take a genius to tell you that pregnancy is hard on your body. Many women struggle to find tension relief when combating the normal aches of growing a tiny human, especially when it becomes harder to stretch properly as your body is shifting and expanding to make room for baby! It is absolutely normal to feel increased discomfort with all of these changes occurring, and even more normal to start considering safe options to combat these aches and pains!
That’s where massage therapy balls come in.Massage balls are wonderful because they provide very targeted tension relief to tired muscle fibers. This intentional massage works muscles that may be hard to reach even without being pregnant – meaning once you start using these therapy balls, you may want to continue through labor, postpartum and beyond.
Our favorite prenatal self-massage exercises:
Foot Relief: Stand against a wall with one hand on a railing or ledge for full support. Be careful! Place the massage ball under one foot and gently roll from the heel to the ball of your foot. As is the case for all exercises, stop for a moment when you find a tender spot- this pause lets your tissues relax and helps increase relief.
Back Relief: Place one or two balls on the ground. Lay down and position ball(s) under points of tension on the back of your body. Think: spine, shoulders, neck, etc. Gently apply pressure and roll backward and forward to feel relief. Lift glutes to the sky during this exercise to increase impact.
Pro Tip! Pack massage therapy balls in your hospital bag. Using therapy balls during labor for counter pressure is a great pain management strategy, especially if you’re experiencing “back labor.” You can even put them on ice then have your partner apply them to your lower back for a little extra relief!
Seated Lower-Half Relief: Sit in a comfortable chair or on the floor, holding the ball in your hand. Gently work the ball into points of tension on your quads, side glutes, hips, etc. Try to relax as much as possible during this self-massage. Bonus points if your partner is willing to massage for you!
- Side Glute Relief: Stand next to a wall with the fitness ball positioned in between your glutes and the wall. Press against the wall and slowly move back and forth to work your muscles. Slow movements make a big difference.
Remember, the most important tip for using therapy balls is to listen to your body. Proper self-massage should not lead to sharp pains and tweaks. Start light and slow, taking note of how your body and muscles feel during massage. Massage is a marathon, not a sprint, so use your therapy balls regularly to help combat the physical strain and stress of growing your little one. You got this!