Exercise is often recommended as a natural method to induce labor. Exercise is especially helpful in lowering your baby and encouraging him to participate better. There are at least five types of exercise you can do when your pregnancy is full term to encourage your baby to be born.
Walking as a method for natural induction of labor
Walking keeps you upright and helps your baby descend. This puts downward pressure on the cervix, bringing it closer to the effacement and dilation of the cervix. The pressure that your baby’s head exerts on the cervix also increases the local release of oxytocin, which in turn causes labor.
In addition to helping your baby get into the correct position, walking is good for you, too. Walking is a great cardiovascular workout and can be done by most people; it also does not require a gym or special equipment. Walking improves blood circulation, breathing, and muscle tone. It keeps you fit to cope with the onset of labor and ready to receive your newborn.
If you can, take a walk in the morning when the air is cooler and less polluted. Wear comfortable shoes and also carry a large umbrella. It’s nice to have one, in case you want to lean on something to ease any tension on your back. And of course it comes in handy if it’s too sunny or it starts to rain.
Does climbing stairs really help start labor?
It is often said that midwives in hospitals ask you to go up and down the stairs to speed up the initial stage of labor.
Climbing stairs has the same effect as walking. It helps your baby to engage better, her cervix to dilate, and it also increases the level of oxytocin in the cervical area. Also, lifting your legs, one after the other, to move on to the next step, opens your pelvis. This leaves more room for your baby and helps start labor. The slight rocking motion and small accelerated movements when going up, and the small lumps when coming down, help your baby to better position himself for labor.
Remember, it is important not to exhaust yourself climbing stairs, trying to go into labor faster. You must know your own limits and you must listen to your body’s signals.
How about swimming to cause labor?
Swimming is another great exercise that helps start labor. Breaststroke is especially said to have this effect.
Remember to wear goggles and follow proper swimming techniques. If you keep your head above the water all the time while swimming, your spine will curve unnaturally. This is likely to strain your back, which is already supporting the extra weight of your belly.
If you don’t know the proper techniques, don’t let that stop you! If you can swim a bit, it will be surprisingly easy to learn proper breaststroke swimming technique. Contact a swimming teacher for a lesson.
Immersing your body in water, when you are very pregnant, is truly a joyous experience. The water supports your body and takes weight off your feet and joints. If you suffer from swollen feet in late pregnancy, the light pressure of the water will comfortably alleviate this common problem.
In fact, it is worth going to the pool or the beach to enjoy the benefits of water and swimming, to help initiate labor and relieve swelling of the feet.
Do squats help you start labor faster?
Squatting opens your pelvis and makes labor easier because it helps your baby move through the birth canal and also creates more space for him or her to be born. Squatting can help you start labor faster, in case you don’t start because your baby is too high.
The squat helps your baby lower and latch onto your pelvis. Once your baby is well engaged, he is less likely to be able to turn more. This means that you should squat only when your baby is in the correct position for birth. This position is called the anterior position in which the baby is head down and facing your back. If your baby is in a posterior position, with his back against his back, or in the breech position with his head up, it is important that you do not encourage him to descend. Your baby should be in the optimal position for the previous delivery before you squat.
Rocking: could exercise be more suitable for natural induction of labor?
Using a swing results in a small G-force that encourages your baby to descend. To try this type of physical exercise early in labor, find a safe swing that you can sit on stably.
All of these exercises can be the last natural stimulus your full-term baby needs to be born. It is always good to exercise. It’s never too late, and even a little physical exercise goes a long way, and it’s an improvement over doing nothing at all. Exercise helps your labor start and keeps you fit too. When you are in good physical condition, you will feel great and will be able to withstand stress and illness much better. So, go for a walk around your block or to the nearest park to use a swing!