I'm due in less than a week...eeeeeeeek! little C. came a few days late, so I'm not expecting anything just yet, but you know how those babies can surprise, so I'm sitting at the ready. On my balance ball, actually. This last week has been highly uncomfy for sitting in our hard dining room chairs, and I hate to sit on the squishy couch for too long (did you know that's not good for the positioning of the baby?). I find myself most comfy alternating between sitting and standing for periods of time...it makes me feel better and eliminates swelling (I hate to say this...knock on wood...but I've had little to NO swelling in my feet and ankles this time, which is just about a miracle sent straight from God.).
As you know, I'm trying for a natural childbirth. That's right, no pain meds. I did not have this with little C., so I'm really prepping my mind and body as if I'm about to run a marathon...I can do this. I'm actually more frightened of the nasty side effects of having to have pain meds over the contractions felt med-free. Shrug.
So, back to the balance ball. Gaiam sent me this ball ($30; in charcoal, although this green here is mighty pretty) to test out for this whole experience, and whew, I'm definitely glad I have it. Because it's new it has so much more stability than my other ball. I'm using it now to stretch out my hips and sit/bounce on, but come early labor time, I'm going to try to stay at home as long as possible (no worries, the hospital is close!), and I think this ball is going to be one of my lifesavers for being comfortable and really working out those contractions in the early stage. (Tip: If you're fairly tall, I would recommend a slightly bigger ball than this one. You definitely want your knees to line up flat and straight when sitting on it, and this one is smaller than some.)
This one is actually a replacement ball for a chair you can use to sit at a desk. Pretty cool right? So wish I would've had that when I worked in the corporate world. (I actually had to have my doctor sign a note to get me a new chair for my back because it was the only way to get rid of my terrible chair at work!) After labor, I plan to use this (latex-free) ball a ton as well for both comfort and eventually Pilates again. We use them at the gym and they're excellent for strengthening the core and stretching!
Ok...wish me luck...deep breath! I may or may not see you back here next Whiny Wednesday...o...m...g.
P.S. If you love Pilates and/or are just getting started, Gaiam makes a great Beginner's Pilates Kit for under $20. I'm going to use a bit at home to supplement my classes once I start back in the spring. It comes with a little sculpting ball that you can use between your ankles and legs, or behind your back. There's also a nice resistance band for stretching, and, of course, a DVD with two workouts.
[Photo via Gaiam]