If you’ve ever been part of a conversation about kegel exercises or pelvic floor strengthening, you’ve probably heard about Ben Wa balls (also known as kegel balls or kegel weights). What are Ben Wa balls? They’re known as an excellent tool for folks looking to build up their pelvic muscle strength. Strong pelvic muscles are useful in pleasure and physiological situations – including pregnancy. Much of what we know about pregnancy centers on the importance of pelvic floor strength, so you’d think using kegel or Ben Wa balls would be a great idea for pregnant folks, right?
Well, not so fast!
When pregnant, kegel weight and Ben Wa ball use requires a little extra consideration. What can be used for sexual pleasure can also help strengthen your vaginal muscles before childbirth. That’s why we will talk about Using Ben Wa balls during pregnancy. We’ll discuss whether it’s a good idea, any precautions you might want to take, and important safety tips you will want to know. Read on to learn more about using Ben Wa balls while pregnant.
What Are Ben Wa Balls?
Starting at the very beginning, Ben Wa Balls, (aka kegel balls) are small round weights that are inserted into the vagina. They come in a variety of sizes, weights, and materials including steel, glass, and silicone. Typically they are used to strengthen the pelvic floor (or PC) muscles or for sexual pleasure, as they can stimulate the anterior vaginal wall which is chock full of nerve endings. Some folks enjoy wearing Ben Wa balls for a discreet erotic thrill.
Can You Use Ben Wa Balls During Pregnancy?
Before we go any further, let’s just get right to the question at hand: can Ben Wa balls be used during pregnancy?
I’m treading lightly here and not giving you a “yes” or “no” answer because the real answer to this question varies person to person, and can only be determined by your doctor or midwife. If you’re interested in using Ben Wa balls to strengthen your pelvic floor while pregnant, please consult with a medical professional beforehand. They’re the only ones who can/should answer your kegel questions.
Pregnancy and Pelvic Floor Health
Why are we concerned about the pelvic floor during pregnancy, anyway? Well, to put it simply, pregnancy can be rough on the PC muscles! As the baby gets bigger, the uterus expands to accommodate it. This process puts stress on the pelvic floor muscles, which can, over time, cause them to become weaker. Not only can this weakness make childbirth more difficult (which no one wants!), but weak pelvic floor muscles can also lead to urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and uterine prolapse.
If you are concerned about pelvic floor fitness and your doctor or midwife advises against Ben Wa ball use, or you’d rather go au naturel with it, we have a list of kegel exercises you can safely do This choice is 100% between you and your medical professional.
Choosing the Right Ben Wa Balls for Pregnancy
If you get the Ok from your doctor or midwife to use Ben Wa balls, how do you find the right ones? Pregnancy means you need to take some different things into account when selecting Ben Wa balls. Interestingly, you are looking at the same aspects of the product — materials, features, weight, etc — but making your choices for different reasons. Let’s talk about what choices you want to make and why!
Materials: The good news is Ben Wa balls are available in a whole range of materials and the even better news is that a lot of the preferred materials such as steel, silicone, glass, and ABS plastic are nonporous. That means they have no little nooks and crannies that can harbor bacteria which makes them both easy to keep clean and extra safe for your body and your baby. As one of the biggest safety concerns with anything insertable during pregnancy is infection risk (more on that in a minute), this is extremely important to be aware of.
Features: There is one feature I recommend any pregnant Ben Wa ball shopper look for: a retrieval cord or loop. Sure lots of Ben Wa balls don’t have them and people have safely used that kind for hundreds of years but you don’t want to be struggling to reach around your burgeoning belly to dislodge stubborn kegel weights, do you?
It is recommended that pregnant Ben Wa ball users stick to simple weighted designs rather than anything with motors or batteries.
Size: Size can be tricky with Ben Wa balls because, in contrast to other toys where bigger = more “advanced”, smaller ones can actually be more challenging to use. That said, Don’t get too hung up on the right size during pregnancy, because choosing something too large won’t serve you well either. I advise you to find a size that seems comfortable and focus more of your attention on weight
Weight: Ben Wa balls are available in a whole range of weights. They can be as light as 10g and as heavy as 100+g. During pregnancy, you want to start off light. If you want to build strength over time and continue your pelvic floor fitness routine post-pregnancy, check out something like the PinkCherry Kegel Training System that features a range of different weights so you can work your way up.
Using Ben Wa Balls During Pregnancy
Once your doctor or midwife approves using Ben Wa balls, remember to start slowly and carefully, especially if you are new to kegel or pelvic floor exercises. Let’s review how to use Ben Wa balls from insertion to removal.
How to Insert Ben Wa Balls
To insert Ben Wa balls start by washing them as well as your hands, then find a comfortable resting position that allows you to access the vagina. Apply lube to the vaginal opening and insert the first ball slowly and smoothly. If your set features more than one ball/ weight, when you are comfortable, gently insert the second one. Make sure your Ben Wa balls are comfortably positioned with the retrieval string/loop hanging outside of the body.
How to Use Ben Wa Balls When Pregnant
Remember, we are not going for pelvic fitness gold here. It’s about moving slowly, carefully, and intentionally.
With your Ben Wa balls in place follow this process:
- Step 1: Squeeze the pelvic floor muscles for 3 seconds
- Step 2: Release for 3 seconds.
Repeat the process no more than 5 times
And that’s it! Seriously, when you start out, you need to limit yourself to no more than five repetitions per day. This might seem like it’s not enough or like you or going too slow but pregnancy is a time when it is 100% better to play it safe so take your time and get to know your pelvic floor. Might you work your way up to more reps later? Possibly. And, once you’ve recovered from pregnancy and giving birth, you almost definitely will but for now, start out slowly.
NOTE: Even though you are only performing 5 reps, you do need to stop immediately and consult your doctor if you experience any pain or discomfort during your kegel exercises. i.
How to Remove Ben Wa Balls
Thanks to the handy cord/loop you can simply. take a breath in, and as you exhale gently pull the cord to remove the ball(s).
To keep Ben Wa ball use safe during pregnancy, there are some things to keep in mind.
- Do not use Ben Wa balls without first consulting your doctor or midwife. This applies throughout pregnancy and the 6 weeks after giving birth.
- Start with light balls
- Use Ben Wa balls/kegel weights with a retrieval string
- Go slow
- Repeat no more than 5 repetitions daily
- As you approach the end of your pregnancy, check in with your doctor again to ensure your cervix has not started to dilate. If it has, stop using your Ben Wa balls.
- If you experience any pain or discomfort stop immediately, remove the balls, and consult your doctor
- Wash Ben Wa balls with warm water and gentle soap.
- Rinse well
- Allow Ben Wa balls to air dry completely before putting them away
- Store in a dedicated box or case to avoid dust or debris
- Wash Ben Wa Balls before and after each use
- Wash hands thoroughly before using Ben Wa balls
Once you’ve received an okay from your doctor, you can use Ben Wa balls during pregnancy as long as you go slowly and carefully and keep safety and hygiene in mind at all times.
To get started exploring Ben Wa balls, kegel weights, lubricants or any other adult sex toys head on over to PinkCherry!