Exercises to Induce Labor

by Carol Roberts, Childbirth Researcher on June 10, 2011

So you’re 39 weeks pregnant, and your baby is supposed to be due any day now, and you’re starting to feel a little impatient. What if your baby isn’t born on time? What if you have trouble going into labor? All sorts of questions can plague a pregnant woman’s mind at this stage in the game. But the last thing you should do is stress out. Stressing out will actually make it difficult for you to go into labor and deliver your baby.

But how can you not stress out at such an important time in your life? You could try out some exercises to induce labor since it is one of the most natural things your body can do. Note that you shouldn’t try to induce labor anytime before your final two weeks of pregnancy, or your baby (and you) won’t be ready yet. Delivering prematurely can be bad for both of you.

One simple exercise you can try to help induce labor is to walk up stairs two at a time. What does that do? It opens up your pelvis a bit and exerts pressure on your cervix.

Another simple exercise is to try squatting. This has a similar effect, as does walking, which moves the baby downward in the pelvis and exerts further pressure on your cervix.

You shouldn’t overdo it with any of these exercises, or you can hurt yourself. You should also talk to a doctor before deciding to do any of them, just to make sure you’re up for it. If you go on walks, 30 minutes a day on gentle, flat ground in your last two weeks is all you need.

You can also try using a “birthing ball,” which is a rubber ball similar to those used in other exercises, for instance stomach crunches and back workouts. You sit on the ball with your legs slightly apart so that your pelvis opens up. Then you bounce lightly on the ball for a while. You can do this exercise while watching television.

Another exercise which can induce labor is sex. Having sex releases a hormone known as Oxytocin, which can cause contractions in the cervix.

If none of these exercises seem to be working for you and you’re still late, you shouldn’t despair. Getting into a discouraged frame of mind will tell your body you’re giving up on it, which won’t help you out at all. Instead, consider taking some herbs to try and induce labor like black cohosh, ginger root, or red raspberry leaf. You may also try eating pineapple (releases Oxytocin) or eating some spicy foods.

Still no luck? Consider trying acupressure on yourself, or seeing an acupressure professional. Acupressure is similar to acupuncture (which you can try as well), minus the needles which bother some people. The goal of acupressure is to cleanse your energy field and restore some flow and balance to your body and mind. Sometimes this is all you need to finally induce labor naturally. While results vary, it is fully possible you could deliver within 48 hours of acupressure or acupuncture.

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