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  • 7 Exercises You Can Do At Home To Help Prepare You For Labor And Delivery

    These movements can help put baby in their proper position for delivery and may even induce labor naturally.
    by R.M. Mauhay .
7 Exercises You Can Do At Home To Help Prepare You For Labor And Delivery
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/fizkes
  • Pregnancy is no easy task and as you near the end of your third trimester, you might already be looking forward to meeting your baby and eager to move things along. One thing that can help — labor exercises that not only prepare you for childbirth but may also induce it naturally.

    Is it safe for me to exercise during my pregnancy?

    If you are healthy and your pregnancy is progressing normally, it is safe to continue or start regular physical activity, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). However, it is important to consult your OB-GYN first before starting any workout.

    To give you an idea, the ACOG discourages exercise for women with the following conditions or pregnancy complications:

    • certain types of heart and lung diseases
    • the cervical opening is closed with stitches to prevent or delay pre-term birth
    • being pregnant with twins or triplets (or more) with risk factors for preterm labor
    • the placenta covers the opening of the uterus after 26 weeks of pregnancy
    • preterm labor or ruptured membranes (your water has broken) during this pregnancy regular physical activity
    • pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
    • Severe anemia
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    How can I induce labor with exercise?

    When doing labor exercises, it’s best to stay away from movements with too much bouncing, jumping, or any high-impact workout. According to Natasha Freutel of Healthline.com, “Unless you were training at a high level prior to pregnancy, heavy resistance training isn’t recommended because of the risk of injury.”

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    Here are 7 labor exercises you can do at home to induce labor as recommended by Parents and The Bump:

    1. Parallel feet squats

    Squatting is one form of labor exercise. Bringing your toes parallel to each other instead of just spreading them wide can help separate the "sitting bones." This creates space in your lower back that ultimately makes labor and delivery easier. 

    2.  Maintaining alignment

    Your tendency when standing is to push your belly forward, but Parents recommends staying aligned with your hips over your akles. Remember that it's all in the posture. No slouching when sitting! 

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    3. Birthing ball exercises

    There are a variety of ball exercises you can do if you want to induce labor naturally. Try circular hip rotations on the ball, rock on it, and do gentle bouncing.

    This will not only encourage your baby to move down, but it can also soothe him, according to Melissa Green, a labor support doula and postpartum corrective exercise specialist, in an interview with The Bump. Gentle bouncing helps the spine decompress and relieve tension in your lower back. You can also open your pelvis and dilate your cervix by sitting on a birthing ball in neutral, wide-legged positions.

    4. Pelvic tilts

    Did you know that your pelvic bones pull away and separate to give way to your baby’s head during your delivery? Pelvic tilt exercises help your joints become loose, which will make childbirth easier for you. Here’s a step-by-step:

    1. Lay on your back
    2. Place your feet flat against the floor
    3. Bend your knees. This will be your starting position
    4. Lift your pelvis slowly and make it parallel with the upper part of your body
    5. Hold the position for 10 seconds
    6. Return to your starting position
    7. Repeat several times
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    5. Butterfly pose

    Increase your flexibility in the pelvic joints and make delivery easier with the butterfly pose. It’s a prenatal yoga pose that helps induce labor.

    Sit on the floor and bring the soles of your feet together while bending the knees. Breathe as you pull your feet toward your body until you feel a stretch in your hips and inner thighs.

    6. Walking

    This simple activity can help induce labor because it helps dilate your cervix and allows your baby to drop to the pelvis. It’s also a good opportunity for you to take your mind off of things for a while.

    7. Lunges

    You can help your baby move to the ideal birthing position when you do lunges, since it stretches your hips and opens your pelvis. Here’s how to do it:

    1. Stand up straight. This is your starting position.
    2. Take a big step forward using one leg, knee over ankle.
    3. Make sure the other leg is parallel to the ground.
    4. Push back up to your starting position and repeat with the other leg.
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    How can I dilate my cervix naturally? 

    There are specific exercises that you can try at home to induce labor, though you can also just wait for the time your baby is ready to meet the world. 

    You might also wonder, do squats induce labor? Well, it's a type of exercise that may help open your pelvis, which makes your baby’s descent easier for you when the time comes.

    Doctors will only induce labor during specific circumstances. Click here to learn more.

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