Exercising even while pregnant is good for you and the baby. It also prepares the body for labor and delivery. There are a few specific exercises that can be done by pregnant women which ready the ligaments and muscles in the pelvic area for delivery. Doing prenatal exercises optimally position the fetus for childbirth.
Exercises during pregnancy which help inducing labor
Here is a list of exercises which help in readying the body for labor and will make your delivery much easier.
- Pelvic tilts are highly recommended for women, pregnant or not. This gentle exercise strengthens the muscles in the pelvic girdle. To start, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. While flattening your back against the floor, lift your pelvis (knees and hips will be at a 45˚ angle). Hold for 10 seconds and release slowly. Do as many lifts as you can. Start with 5 and do twice a day. In Pilates and Yoga, the cat/cow stretches are done to strengthen back and abdominal muscles.
- Squats are a natural movement of the body and quite safe to do, even while pregnancy. Squats help in making muscles in the thighs, abdomen and the lower back stronger. Squats play a key role in positioning the baby for delivery. Stand with feet slightly wider than your hips. Making sure that the toes are pointing forward, use a chair for support and make like you are going to sit in an imaginary chair behind you. Go down as far as you can and hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Inhale as you go down and inhale as you get back up.
- Using exercise balls adds an element of interest to the workout and also helps with stabilizing core and lateral muscles of the torso. Sit on the all with feet planted firmly on the ground. The knees are bent at 90˚. Use your feet and thighs to roll to and for or bounce up and down. Rolling and bouncing will help in positioning the baby at 38 weeks for delivery. If you are unsure, then skip using the ball as the risk of falling is higher during the third trimester.
- Kegel exercises are considered essential by doctors as they activate muscles in the pelvic floor. These muscles support organs like the vagina, urethra, bladder, rectum and small intestines. Strengthening these muscles will help not just with labor but also later in life. Contract the muscles around the vagina 10 or more times a day – hold for 5 seconds and release to a count of 5 seconds.
- The butterfly pose is quite well-known and used in yoga to release tight pelvic muscles and also build strength and flexibility in the thighs and lower back. It is easy to do and can be started at any time and done often, till deliver. Sitting on the floor, bring the soles of your feet together. Flap your legs up and down like a butterfly’s wings. You should feel the muscles in your thighs stretching. If you are able, then use your elbows to press your knees down towards the floor, gently. You should feel the muscles of your inner thighs stretch with this variation.
- Walking as an exercise routine should not surprise you – it offers a lot of benefits to the body especially during pregnancy. It is low impact and is a great way to go into labor naturally. Walking helps the baby descend to the lower part the uterine canal and stimulates dilation of the cervix.
Steps to take while exercising
While exercising is good for the mother and the baby and also helps in inducing labor, the body is in a delicate state. It is good to take some precautions that will reduce the chances of injury. Here are few things you can do while exercising and trying to induce labor:
- Drink a lot of water before and after exercise. Staying hydrated is essential.
- Wear a bra that offers good breast support and keeps you comfortable.
- Keep moving constantly. Rest is also essential while pregnant but try not to sleep on your back or sit all the time as it results in stiff muscles. Constantly moving your limbs will help keep you lose and limber.
Exercising regularly even when you are pregnant will help you have a natural birth. Exercise is a great tool in inducing labor natural and will keep your stress levels down during labor. Don’t hesitate to stay active and have a stress-free delivery.