Exercise to Induce Labor: You Can Do at Home

Exercise to Induce Labor: You Can Do at Home

Most expectant parents are eager to start the program by the end of their late pregnancy. “Many are uncomfortable with the pregnancy and want to stay pregnant,” explains Dr. Joyce Gottesfeld, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Denver-based Kaiser Permanente. Some women may think about taking matters into their own hands and attempting to induce labor themselves if their due date passes without any sign of labor. Many pregnant women are actually looking for ways to induce labor tonight at this point. One tactic? Try certain exercises to induce labor.

But are they actually effective? If your body is truly prepared for labor, experts say it can, but only then. “In actuality, no amount of exercise will cause a woman to become pregnant if her cervix is immature—that is, soft and prepared to dilate!” says Auckland, New Zealand-based midwife and birth consultant Kathy Fray Squats and forward bends won’t start contractions if your body doesn’t start preparing for labor, in other words. “Exercise, however, might start your contractions if your cervix is very developed, soft, and flexible.”

Read on to learn what exercises you can try to help induce labor naturally.

Read more: When to Start Using Exercise Ball in Pregnancy: Best Time&Usage – Tips for Health Care

Can Exercising Induce Labor?YES!

According to the Journal of Perinatal EducationTrusted Source, among women in a research survey who tried to induce labor on their own, exercise was the top reported trigger. The survey also found that less than one-quarter of women admitted to trying to induce labor on their own. They typically said that to start the action, they would walk, engage in sexual activity, or stimulate their nipples.

There are now more advantages to exercising while pregnant, according to recent studies. A 2013 review of all the available studies found that regular “structured” exercise during pregnancy reduces the risk of cesarean delivery. Even small amounts of moderate exercise helped significantly improve a woman’s labor, according to the study’s authors.

Who Shouldn’t Exercise to Induce Labor?

Before attempting the exercises to induce labor, it is advised that you speak with a specialist or a doctor if you have any of the conditions listed below.

  • Exercise is not advised for women who are required to stay in bed non-stop. A professional’s opinion on exercise is required because their condition is considered critical.
  • Exercises should be avoided if you have placenta previa because they could result in complications.
  • Exercises to induce labor are not advised if you have a condition called cervical insufficiency.
  • To reduce the risk of complications during delivery, pregnant women with a history of premature labor should limit or completely avoid any physical activity. In case you want to practice low-impact exercises, consult your doctor.
  • It’s best to avoid exercise if you have amniotic fluid leakage because it could be dangerous.
Exercise to Induce Labor: You Can Do at Home

6 Recommended Exercises at Home to Induce Labor

Engaged Breathing

When you breathe normally, you generally contract the abdominals on the exhale—but if you’re trying to induce labor, you want to engage your core and diaphragm as you inhale through the nose, and “try to hug the baby with your abdominal muscles,” You should hold your breath for a moment before slowly exhaling through your mouth, advises Green. On the exhale, you ought to feel at ease while picturing the baby squeezing in. Once you can feel the pelvic floor muscles relaxing, continue to breathe in this manner. On an exercise ball, in a child’s pose, or in a supported squat, you can practice this breathing technique.

In Ayurveda (yoga’s sister science), this type of grounding breathing is associated with apana vayu, a life force that flows downward. “A long, full exhale brings our energy down out of your head into the lower body,” Jennings says. “In a variety of ways, it gets the body ready for birth.”

Take a Walk

Keeping up a regular exercise schedule during pregnancy, particularly low-impact cardio like walking, has many advantages. However, since it promotes cervical effacement and dilation and enables the baby to fall into the pelvis, walking can also be used as a method of exercise to start labor. You might find that walking helps to reduce some of your pregnancy and labor-related stress.

Sit on a Birthing Ball

Brichter claims that sitting on an exercise or birthing ball in neutral wide-legged positions helps to prepare the body for labor by boosting blood flow, widening the pelvis, and promoting cervical dilation. You can also try birth ball exercises such as circular hip rotations, rocking, and gentle bouncing.

Supported Forward Bend

Find a stable object to hold onto, such as a wall, kitchen counter, or stair banister. Put your legs hip-width apart and parallel to the ground. Hold onto your support, bend your knees, stretch your hips back, and push the tops of your thighs back as well. “Stick your butt out to make space in the pelvis,” Jennings says. “Baby needs the most room to get out of that area.” Do this as long as it feels good, moving your hips side to side, taking long, deep breaths as you lengthen your spine and expanding the back of your pelvis.

Butterfly Pose

Did you know that the butterfly pose, which you may be familiar with from dance or yoga class, can improve blood flow, increase pelvic joint flexibility, and make childbirth less difficult? Sit upright on the floor, bring the soles of your feet together, and bend your knees to achieve the pose. For a hip and inner thigh stretch, pull your feet closer to your body. Breathe into it, don’t forget.

Slow Dance

This might be a useful exercise to induce active labor if you’re trying to speed up early labor. Place your arms around the neck of your partner or labor support person and let yourself lean on them and relax. Sway your hips side to side. (This is a great time to start your labor and delivery playlist!) According to Jennings, swaying the hips encourages the open feeling you want in your pelvis.

Exercise to Induce Labor: You Can Do at Home

This straightforward movement can support the downward flow of energy you desire throughout labor and birth and assist you in finding your natural rhythm. Additionally, if you’re performing this move with your significant other, the act of making eye contact and oxytocin, a hormone thought to promote calmness and improve pain tolerance, are released as a result of your connection.

Final Thoughts

“If your body isn’t ready for labor, don’t push it,” says Dr. Gottesfeld, while exercise can help the body get ready for labor, it is not a tried-and-true way to start labor on its own. “If someone is interested in trying to induce labor, it’s best to discuss this with their doctor,” Dr. Ressler added.


How Long Do You Have to Exercise to Induce Labor?

Exercise during pregnancy has been shown to increase the onset of spontaneous labor. In finding that for low-risk women walking for 30 min 3 times a week at 4 km/h from 38-week onwards enhances spontaneous labor onset of and reduces operative vaginal delivery.

Can Squatting Induce Labor?

Squats, asymmetrical movements and low-impact cardio can all help induce labor naturally. Here is today’s workout, which includes all three. For me, using a birthing ball or exercise ball to bounce and perform pelvic tilts was beneficial.

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