Exercising to Induce Labor is a great way to keep your and your baby healthy. Here’s why:
Exercises prepares your muscles and the ligaments in the pelvis region. It truly helps to go through the labor period with lesser effort.
Also, it is a great way to retain a balanced physical and mental health throughout the pregnancy period. Studies suggests that it reduces the rate of gestational diabetes, hyper tension and depression. Also, it gives a healthier start to your newborn baby. But as it turns out –
A research study on pregnant women suggests that only 23% of women exercises during the pregnancy time. It’s somewhat discouraging considering the benefits.
Things You Need To Know To Induce Labor Naturally
1. When Is The Best Time To Try Labor Inducing Exercises?
Labor induced exercises are best as you are getting close to your final date. If you are at your 39th week then you’ve officially reached what it’s called – a full term pregnancy. While some babies make their own way for the grand entrance, others require some help to make their way through.
Simply put, 39 to 41 weeks gestation is the ideal time for encouraging labor induced exercises. Also, babies that retain until 39 to 40 weeks of gestation showed better brain development than the ones born before this timeline.
2. What Are The Best Exercises For Labor And Delivery?
Exercises for pregnancy depends on your position in the calendar. For that reason, every pregnancy can be divided into three periods –
- First Trimester (0 – 13 Weeks)
- Second Trimester (14 – 26 Weeks)
- Third Trimester (27 – 40 Weeks)
Best Exercises For First Trimester In Pregnancy
- Butterfly Pose
Thighs have to carry a lot of weight during the pregnancy time. This exercise will help you to relax those inner-thigh muscles.
Start by sitting on a cushion and lean back against the wall. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet as close to each other as you can. Exhale and then inhale. Repeat this until you feel the thigh muscles relaxing.
- Deeply Relaxing Dip
Baby’s head needs to be in the right position for a labor to progress smoothly. And squatting can help you to bring the baby’s head in the right position.
Start by standing behind a chair with a wide stance. Keep your feet directed outwards and bend your knees into a sitting position as if you’re sitting on a chair. Try this exercise and let gravity do the rest of the work for you.
- Pressure Easing Lunge
It’s important that you have a wide pelvis before the labor happens. You know this exercise is very crucial so, keep reading…
Place a chair positioned against the wall. Place one foot on the chair seat and then bend your knee to make a 90-degree angle. This moves your knee diagonally towards the wall.
Make sure the chair is stable. Continue this process for a few seconds and repeat with the other foot.
- The Gentle Circle
You might feel your baby pressing against the spine. If this happens then, do this exercise at will. It will make you feel better.
Be careful and get down on all four (hands and knees) on the ground. Keep your knees wide apart and place your hands wider than the shoulder-length. Make sure your back is flat during this exercise.
Now, slowly lean to the right and tilt your weight to your right arm and then to your right hip. Follow the motion on the other side as you shift the weight to your left hip and then to your left arm.
Seems difficult? Just shift your weight gently in a clockwise motion. That much would do fine.
- Other Exercises
There are other alternatives you can do if you prefer more. Here’s a list for you to check out –
- Walking and Slow Jogging
- Water Aerobics
Best Exercises for Second Trimester in pregnancy
Walking of all the exercises is the easiest to do on a daily basis. Make sure to wear something comfortable and add with it a pair of good gripping shoes. Take a 20-30 minute slow walk every day.
This will help you to stay mentally and physically refreshed. That’s not all –
Your heart rate will remain healthy.
Yoga drastically improves your mental and physical health. The second trimester is tough to deal with, especially when the hormones keep swinging. Here are some quick yoga benefits that you should know –
- Improves flexibility to avoid stiffness in any part of the body
- Yoga positions directly contributes to inducing labor
- Yoga teaches breathing exercises that you need at the time of your labor. It takes a lot of pain and breath to bring a baby into this world. Yoga just makes it a little easier.
If you want to relax all your muscles in cool and calmness then, do swimming. It’s a great for a simple full body workout. Swimming does not put extra stress on the abdomen so, it’s a great pick for a second trimester exercise. Do it for 20-30 minutes few times a week.
Squats strengthen your leg muscles. That is something you’ll need during your delivery time. Do this exercise as long as you feel comfortable and when don’t pose a high risk for pregnancy. But hey, the good news is –
You can do this one every day.
Best Exercises During Third Trimester
Third Trimester is physically the most difficult part to adjust with. During this time, the body experiences the most stretched form and gets pushed to the limit. Some of the common symptoms are – fatigue, shortness of breath, back pain, sleeplessness, frequent urination, swelling, round ligament pain and etc.
And the Good news?
Yes, you can alleviate some of the symptoms by doing regular light exercises. Here are some of the safest exercises you can do –
- Back Soother
The extra weight your body puts on during pregnancy puts a lot of stress on the back. Do some stretching out on your spine and back muscles. It will relieve you off pain and also prepare you for the delivery time.
Get down on all fours on the ground. Spread your arms in front of you and adjust your bum as low as you can bring to your feet. Keep your spine straight during the process.
- Tension Reliever
You’re in your last stage or pregnancy so, contractions are likely to get intense. If so then, this exercise can give you a little relief.
Put a chair against the wall and kneel down on the floor. Rest your elbows near the edge of the seat. Now, rest your forehead between your hands. Now, tilt your pelvis and arch your back. This is will make the spine point outwards.
Keep steady in this position and take slow breaths and then, rest back on your heels. Repeat this workout as you need.
This exercise gives you one big benefit by opening up your pelvis. This allows the child’s head some extra room to pass through easily during the delivery.
For this position, get down on all fours. Spread out your knees and come down on your elbows. Grip both hands if you require a firm balance.
Now, gently shift the weight of the body on the back. Do this while curling the base of your spine towards the floor. Take a pause and then again shift the body weight on your arms and elbows.
- Climbing Stairs
Climbing a few flights of stairs is a great way to induce labor. Expert chiropractors suggest that there isn’t a better exercise for inducing labor than stair climbing. It prepares your body and your baby for an easier birth giving experience.
Start stair climbing on your 38th week of pregnancy. Climb two stairs at a time if it suits you. Also, while climbing the stairs place your feet at a wider distance than you normally would.
This movement helps to open the pelvis and moves the baby closer to the pelvis. As a result, your delivery time gets shortened significantly.
Besides these exercises you can always rotate between –
Walking, Swimming, Water Aerobics, Prenatal or Pilates, Muscle Toning and so on.
3. Benefits of Pregnancy Exercises
- Steadily increases the heart rate
- Improves blood circulation
- Decreases the chances of obesity, gestational diabetes and depression
- Helps to prevent constipation, varicose veins, backache and other pregnancy complications
- Keeping a fit body
- Controlling weight gain
- Preparing the muscles before child birth
- Improves sleep
- Helps to prevent deep vein thrombosis
- Reduces the risk of cesarean delivery
- Improves stress tolerance
- Enhanced nervous system development
- Gives the child a healthy start
4. 7 Conditions When You Shouldn’t Use Exercise To Induce Labor
Regular exercise is a safe way to maintain a sound health for both the mother and the baby. But if you have any of the following conditions, make sure consult a doctor before exercising –
- Chronic lung or heart conditions
- Critical Anemia problems during pregnancy
- Short cervix
- Imbalanced amniotic fluid
- Gestational hypertension
- Placenta previa or any other conditions related to placenta
- History of premature labor
These are my 3 tips on exercises to induce labor naturally. I’ve added as much information as you need for the safest exercise. However, if you’re past your delivery date you better get moving. It is true that regular exercises allow for a natural birth. But, do keep in mind that you should not overdo it. Hope you become a mother to a wonderful and healthy child.