Exercises during pregnancy are good not only for the mother and baby to keep healthy, but also to prepare the body for the rigors of labor. Regular exercising makes the muscles and ligaments in the pelvis to go through delivery with lesser effort. Also, prenatal exercises help to position the baby optimally for childbirth.
In this article:
Can Exercising Induce Labor?
Yes, exercising can induce labor and get the body ready for the baby.
When is it Not Safe to Do Exercises to Induce Labor?
- Prescribed bed rest
- Severely high or low amniotic fluid
- Placenta previa or any other condition involving the placenta
- History of premature labor
- Gestational hypertension
- Short cervix
7 Effective & Safe Exercises to Induce Labor
These are great for strengthening the pelvic muscles and prepping them for labor. It is one of the best exercises to help induce labor naturally and can be started early on during pregnancy. Begin by lying down on the back with the knees bent and the feet on the floor. Flatten the back against the floor and slowly lift and push the pelvis up. Hold it in this position for about 10 seconds and release slowly. Exercise this twice a day for 10 minutes for pelvic strength.
A variation of the pelvic tilts is called the angry cat or the cat/cow stretch and helps in easing back pain during pregnancy while strengthening the abdominal muscles.
It is one of the most natural movements of the body and is among the safest exercises that can be performed during pregnancy. It builds strength in various muscles in the thighs, the lower back, and the abdomen while opening up the pelvis. These can be performed throughout a healthy pregnancy – doing them is thought to help orient the baby into position for delivery.
Stand with the feet slightly wider apart than the hips and toes pointing forward. For the need support or stability, hold the back of a chair placed in front. Keep the back straight and go down as to sit on a chair. Do a full squat, go down all the way or a half squat where the lower back doesn’t go below the knees. Hold this position for 5 or 10 seconds, take a deep breath and exhale as to rise back up.
It is a fun addition to the workout routine. Sit at the center of the ball with the feet flat on the ground and knees bent. Use the feet to roll back and forth or just bounce up and down gently on the exercise ball. Rolling on the ball and gentle bouncing are some good exercises to induce labor at 38 weeks as the bouncing motion can help position the baby for a natural birth.
It activates the pelvic floor muscles that support pelvic organs such as bladder, urethra, uterus, small intestines, and rectum. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and gaining good control over them can help during the pushing stage of labor. It is said that by voluntarily relaxing them, it can ease the birthing process.
To find the pelvic floor muscles, tighten the muscles around the vagina and interrupt the flow of urine when going to the bathroom. If this can be done without constricting the muscles of the thighs, hips, and buttocks, locate the pelvic floor muscles. Once learned how to isolate and control them, practice slow contractions. Contract the pelvic floor muscles tighter for a count of five seconds, hold for five seconds and release to a count of five. Practice this 10 or 15 times a day.
It is a simple exercise that opens up the pelvis and builds flexibility and strength in the surrounding muscles, including the back and thigh. This is easy and can be done form the moment of pregnancy until the time of delivery.
Sit on the floor and put the soles of the feet together. Pulse the legs up and down like the wings of a butterfly and feel the muscles in the thigh stretch. Maintain a pace and range of motion that feels comfortable. A variant of butterflies involves sitting in the same position and gently pushing the knees down to the floor using the elbows and feeling the stretch in the inner thigh muscles.
It is effective in warming up the hips and opening them up to let the baby rotate and descend. They can be used to induce labor naturally. Stand with both the legs together and take one big step forward. Descend the lower back while pivoting on the front knee while feeling the muscles in the back and hind leg stretch. For added safety and balance, push up against a wall while doing it. Alternate the legs and repeat the exercise about 10 times with each leg.
It uses lower back and leg muscles. The stretching and movement of the hips help orient the baby’s head down towards the birth canal. It is a wonderful way of inducing labor naturally as it prepares the body for the physical exertion of labor. It also presses on the cervix, prompting it to dilate and open up the pelvic region.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise for proper hydration.
- Make sure to wear a bra that supports the breasts completely and is comfortable.
- Keep moving constantly. This does not mean to don’t sit and take rest, it means try avoiding laying on the back or sitting all the time, as it can cause the muscles to stiffen.
Regular exercises throughout pregnancy help prepare the body for a natural birth. These exercises to induce labor naturally.