9 Best Exercises To Induce Labor Naturally

Image: Shutterstock / iStock
IN THIS ARTICLE

Labor is perhaps the most challenging stage of pregnancy.

The approaching due date and the unending thoughts about the pain, the baby’s health, and your health can give you panic attacks. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Did you know that the labor pain can be eased and the process of delivery can be smooth and easy with certain movements and positions that prepare you for labor? Yes, there are certain exercises that can help make the labor process smooth.

In this MomJunction post, we tell you about a few such exercises to support labor naturally. Read on.

Exercises To Facilitate Labor Naturally

Before you try any of the exercises for labor, it is imperative that you talk to your doctor about it. You can also consult a fitness coach who is an expert in prenatal fitness.

Below are a few exercises that you can try to facilitate a smooth vaginal delivery/ labor. Always make sure you have an assistant or expert with you while you are doing them:

1. Pelvic rocks:

Image: Shutterstock

These exercises help pregnant women descend the baby through the birth canal. According to research, the pelvic rocks help in managing pain, improving focus and labor process, and offering utmost satisfaction with the delivery (1).

Pelvic rocks or pelvic tilts can be practiced in various ways that include standing pelvic tilts with a chair, lying on the back, seated tilts, and passive tilts with a partner’s help.

How to do it:

Standing pelvic tilts:

Lying on the back:

Pelvic rocks on a ball (seated):

Ensure you have someone to support you through these exercises.

2. Leaning:

Image: Shutterstock

This form of exercise will help you relieve the pressure on the pelvic area, which has tissues and muscles supporting your bladder and uterus (2). Leaning exercises can give your baby some extra space to move inside the pelvis. Also, they enable you to rest a little during labor.

How to do it:

[ Read: Benefits Of Doing Squats To Induce Labor ]

3. Squatting:

Image: Shutterstock

This is considered to be one of the most effective and safe exercises to facilitate labor. It strengthens the pelvic muscles and opens up the pelvic area, thereby making it easier for the baby to move down the birthing canal. Also, regular deep squats can relax the muscles and stretch the perineum (3). Squats can prepare the body naturally for childbirth, provided you perform them right.

How to do it:

4. Walking:

Image: Shutterstock

It is one of the most common methods to induce labor. This is a gravity positive exercise that strengthens the contractions and leads to active labor (4).

A word of caution: Do not walk more than what you should to jump-start the labor, as exhausting yourself could diminish your energy that would be required during labor and childbirth. Remember, your baby will come out only when they are ready.

5. Kegel exercises:

Image: iStock

These exercises are effective for strengthening the pelvic floor. During pregnancy, muscles in the pelvic region tend to become loose, resulting in loss of incontinence and discomfort. Practicing Kegel exercises regularly will keep the muscles relaxed while you are in labor. Also, these exercises help you learn how to control your muscles during labor (5).

How to do it:

6. Butterflies:

Image: Shutterstock

The butterfly exercise offers plenty of benefits to pregnant women. It reduces fatigue, stretches the knees and thighs, and enhances flexibility in the groin and hip region. Practicing this exercise regularly during pregnancy will help you have a smooth delivery (6).

How to do it:

[ Read: Ways To Speed Up Labor ]

7. Lunges:

A lunge is proven to be an effective position or exercise to reduce the pain and enable movement of the baby. Also, it helps the mother with contractions and eases the way down for the baby (7).

A word of caution: Always have a helper while you are performing lunges so that you are not out of balance.

Lunges can be done in different ways, the common ones being standing lunges and kneeling lunges.

How to do it:

Standing lunges:

Image: Shutterstock

Kneeling lunges:

Image: iStock

8. Stair climbing:

Image: Shutterstock

One of the exercises that make the delivery process simpler is climbing stairs. It is considered helpful for safe and smooth delivery (8).

A word of caution: Do not put extra pressure on your body while climbing stairs. Make sure you are climbing the floors slowly and steadily. And if you have someone by your side, it would be convenient.

9. Ball exercises:

Image: Shutterstock

Exercising with a ball is a recommended, inexpensive, non-pharmacological, and helpful strategy for normal delivery. There are many ball exercises to prepare your body for a smooth delivery. However, it is essential to be careful at every step while you are having fun trying this.

Some other benefits of ball exercises during pregnancy are improved flexibility, resistance, and strength, along with maintained balance in the quadriceps and lower back area (9). Furthermore, you can practice dozens of ball exercises to induce labor.

How to do it:

Rolling on the ball:

Bouncing on the ball:

While all these exercises are suggested for safe labor, there are certain conditions when pregnant women should not exercise.

Who Shouldn’t Exercise To Facilitate Labor?

If you have any of the below-mentioned conditions, then you are advised to consult an expert or a doctor before trying the exercises to induce labor.

[ Read: Exercises You Can Do During Pregnancy ]

Every pregnant woman wants to have a smooth, and preferably natural labor, and these exercises may aid in labor. However, you should always seek a doctor’s advice before taking any step further during your pregnancy. It is also recommended that you try these exercises with the help of a fitness coach well-versed in prenatal exercises.

Did you practice exercises that supported labor? How did they help you? Share your experiences in the comment section below.

References:

1. N. H. Zaky; Effect of pelvic rocking exercise using sitting position on birth ball during the first stage of labor on its progress; IOSR Journal of Nursing and Health Science (IOSR-JNHS) (2016)
2. Labor Support Cards Simple tips for the special time before a birth; Christiana Care Health System (2013)
3. 5 exercises and techniques to train for childbirth; UT Southwestern Medical Center (2016)
4. Changes in your body: What to expect in your 9th month of pregnancy; Rochester University
5. Kegel exercise; Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond; Allina Health’s Patient Education Department (2002)
6. J. Thakur, E. Sharma, and S. Masand; Yoga in pregnancy: A boon to motherhood; Journal of Ayurveda & Holistic Medicine
7. W. D. Adams & A. L. Bianchi; A Practical Approach to Labor Support; AWHONN, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (2008)
8. T. Shilling A. M. Romano & J. T. DiFranco; Care Practice #2: Freedom of Movement Throughout Labor; The Journal of Perinatal Education (2007)
9. K. Mirzakhani & et al.; The Effect of Birth Ball Exercises during Pregnancy on Mode of Delivery in Primiparous Women; Journal of Midwifery & Reproductive Health (2015)
10. Placenta previa; Patient Care & Health Information: Mayo Clinic
11. Exercise during pregnancy; Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Recommended Articles:

more!
X

Our website uses cookies to deliver most relevant ads to you. By continuing you're giving consent to cookie being used.