While we are pregnant, we take utmost care of ourselves and the little life inside us. We ensure that we eat healthy, exercise and do everything needed for our child’s wellbeing. But towards the end of pregnancy term, things are somewhat tricky. You will find it difficult to breathe properly; getting up or changing sides while sleeping can be a challenge too.
The anticipation of the child on its way can make you a little anxious too. And that anxiety can raise a level if you are nearing or have crossed your due date. In such cases, certain exercises to induce labour and exercise to dilate cervix faster are absolutely safe to do at home. So let us quickly understand what those exercises to induce labour are(1)
7 Most Effective Labour Inducing Exercises
The Butterfly Pose
Sit on a flat surface on the ground and keep knees folded and wide open with the sole of your feet together. This is a very common pose for exercises to induce labour even during pregnancy, and you might already be doing this. For additional support, you can place your palms under your knees. When you inhale, pull your chest out and make a natural curve with your spine. When you exhale, bring your chin down, lean a bit and round your back. Repeat this 10 times per session or as long as it feels good. These movements are among the labor inducing exercises that are also important for pushing when in labor.
The Supported Squats
The supported squats is an exercise to open cervix when your labor is approaching. It helps strengthen your legs and glutes. It also helps stretch the pelvic floor and encourages the baby to move down towards the cervix. To do supported squats, place yourself against a wall. You might want to put an exercising ball between your back and the wall for better support and balance. Keep your feet apart, and toes pointed slightly outwards. Now, squat down and slowly stand back up as much as your body allows. Inhale while you go down, hold for a few seconds and exhale from your mouth while pulling yourself up. Repeat these five to ten times, or as much as your body allows you.
When we breathe normally, the abdomen gets contracted when we exhale. But if you are trying exercises to open cervix for delivery or induce labor, you should be engaging with your core and diaphragm. Sit at a peaceful place without any distractions and practice deep and engaged breathing. Inhale through your nose, hold your breath for a few seconds and then exhale through your mouth. This helps your pelvic floor muscle relax. You can also do variations of this engaged breathing in butterfly pose, on an exercising pose or while doing squats.
Supported Forward Bend
Supported Forward Bend is the simplest among exercises to induce labour and is as simple as its name suggests. First, look for something sturdy that you can lean on and stand against, like a wall or a sturdy kitchen counter. Next, place your palms on the wall or counter with your legs stretched apart. Next, stretch your hip backwards while bending forward. Take long, deep breaths while doing this. Do it as long as you are comfortable. This helps give your baby a proper position to drop down towards the pelvis and strengthens your pelvic floor.
Quadruped Pelvic Tilts
Quadruped pelvic tilts are the exercises to induce labour where you get down on the floor on all four limbs. Then, like the camel and cat position, you tilt your pelvis up and down. This helps in strengthening the pelvic floor. Take a deep breath while you tuck the muscles in and pressure your ribcage. Hold it for a few seconds and then exhale while releasing the pressure from the tailbone.
In quadruped rocks also, you get down on the floor on all four limbs. Your shoulders would be right above the wrists, and your knees would be directly below your hips. As the name suggests, you rock the pelvic area by going back and forth without moving your limbs. You move your hip towards your rib cage while inhaling and bring it back while exhaling. Do these five to ten times, or till it feels comfortable to keep doing it. This helps open the pelvic floor and gently relaxes the muscles to prepare you for labor.
Quadruped Deep Diaphragmatic Breaths
This is one of the exercises to induce labour that connects and softens your pelvic floor and prepares you for easy labor. The quadruped deep diaphragmatic breaths are a variation of engaged breathing. You do engaged breathing while on the floor or on any hard surface on all four limbs. While doing this, consciously lengthen your pelvic floor with each inhale and exhale.
Please ensure that you check with an expert before starting these exercises. This is even more crucial if you have any specific condition due to which your gynecologists' or midwife has asked you to not indulge in exercising or if you are on bed rest. It is essential to keep active throughout the pregnancy and keep doing yoga and exercises to keep yourself healthy and active. This should not be limited only to the last few days to induce labor.
Common Questions Parents Ask
Q1 – Are there any foods that can induce labor?
It is believed that pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain that induces labor. Although there is no scientific evidence of it, as there is no harm in consuming pineapple in moderation in the third trimester, you can give it a try.
Q2 – Can any medicine induce labor?
Although exercises to induce labour are safer and come without any side effects, there are certain medicines that help too. The most common drug to induce labor is Pitocin which is administered through IV or injections. But these are NEVER to be self-administered and should be advised and given only by your gynaecologist.
Q3 - How will I know if I am in labor?
Read our article to know about the Labor Signs HERE