10 Effective Exercises for Easy Labor & Safe Delivery
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Exercises during pregnancy are not only good to keep you and your baby healthy but also prepare the body for the labor. Regular exercises ready the muscles and ligaments in the pelvis to get through delivery with lesser effort. Here are 10 Exercises to Induce Labor Naturally:
1. Pelvic Tilts
Pelvic tilts are great to strengthen the pelvic muscles and prep them for labor. It is one of the best exercises to help induce labor naturally and can be started early in pregnancy. Begin by lying down on your back with the knees bent and the feet on the floor. Flatten the back against the floor and slowly bend the pelvis up. Hold it in this position for about 10 seconds and slowly release. Exercise twice a day for 10 minutes for pelvic strength.
Squatting is one of the most natural movements of the body and among the safest exercises that can be done during pregnancy. It builds strength in various muscles in the thigh, lower back and the abdomen while opening up the pelvis. Squats can be performed throughout a healthy pregnancy and are even thought to help orient the baby into position for delivery.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and the toes pointing forward. If you need support or stability, hold the back of a chair that is placed in front of you. While keeping your back straight, go down as though you’re about to sit on a chair. You can either do a full squat- go down all the way or a half squat where your lower lack doesn’t go below your knees. Hold this position for 5 or 10 seconds, take a deep breath and exhale as you rise back up.
3. Exercise ball
An exercise ball is a fun addition to your workout routine. Sit in the centre of the ball with your feet flat on the ground, and the knees bent. Use your feet to roll back and forth or just bounce up and down gently on the exercise ball. Rolling on the ball and gentle bounce are some of the good exercises to induce labor at 38 weeks as the bouncing motion can help position the baby for a natural birth.
4. Pelvic floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises activate the pelvic floor muscles that support pelvic organs such as the bladder, urethra, vagina, uterus, small intestines and rectum. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and gaining a good control over them can help during the pushing stage of labor. It is said that by voluntarily relaxing them you can ease the birthing process. Contract the pelvic floor muscles tighter for a count of five seconds, hold for five seconds and release for a count of five. Practice this 10 or 15 times a day.
The butterflies are a simple exercise that open up your pelvis and build flexibility in the surrounding muscles along with strengthening the muscles of the back and thigh. Butterflies are easy and can be done from the moment you’re pregnant to the time you deliver.
Sit on the floor and put the soles of your feet together. Pulse your legs up and down like the wings of a butterfly and feel the muscles in your thigh stretch. Maintain a pace and range of motion that feels comfortable to you.
Lunges are effective in warming up the hips and open them up to let the baby rotate and descent. They can be used to induce labor naturally. Stand with both the legs together and take one big step forward. Descend your lower back while pivoting on the front knee while you feel the muscles in your back and hind leg stretch. For added safety and balance push up against a wall while you do it. Alternate the legs and repeat the exercise.
7. Stair Climbing
Climbing stairs requires you to use all the muscles of your lower back and legs. The stretching and movement of the hips help orient the baby’s head down towards the birth canal. Stair climbing is a wonderful way of inducing labor naturally as it prepares the body for the physical exertion of labor. It also presses on the cervix, prompting it to dilate and opens up the pelvic region.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that walking can have tons of benefits to your body during your pregnancy and this is low impact aerobic exercise is a perfect way to induce labor naturally
9. Back Stretches
Back stretches are among the best exercise for labor pain reduction as they help relieve muscle tightness during labor. The following exercise stretches the muscles along the spine, shoulders and the back of your legs. It can also be tried whenever you feel a tension in the back.
Facing a wall, bend forward pivoting at the hips, so your upper body makes a 90-degree angle with your legs. The back should be flat and the legs straight or slightly bent. Now place your hands on the wall at the shoulder level. Relax your head while you look down keeping it at the level of your arms. Push your hands into the wall as you lean back from the hips until you feel a stretch in the back and the muscles in the back of your legs. Hold for 10 seconds, relax and return the hips to a neutral position.
Leaning forward is the best way to counter all the time you spend leaning backward every day. Leaning forward is also essential to help flip the baby into an optimal position. You can lean on anything that’s comfortable such as counters, tables or an exercise ball. If you can still work, try and scrub the floor while on hands and knees to help add to all the leaning time you need.
Regular exercises throughout pregnancy help prepare your body for a natural birth. They are also a wonderful way to induce labor naturally while keeping you warmed up for the stresses of childbirth.