Ways To Start Labor At 40 Weeks – At 2 years old, my niece is nothing but adorable. But when he was ten days past his original due date in mid-June, my sister had other choice words to describe him. She loves being pregnant, but at the end of her third trimester, she can’t wait to get things started (and meet her first-born son). Like many mothers, her due date came and went without a visible contraction. And while overtime is completely normal, it can feel like your baby isn’t coming. Fortunately, there are safe and effective ways to help induce labor naturally—exercise is one of them.
Now, before we dive in, there is one thing you should know. “There aren’t any exercises that have been proven to get women into labor if your body hasn’t already started the process,” explains Dr. Heather Irobunda, MD and Board Certified OB/GYN based in New York City. However, it can help prepare your body for what’s to come. “Typically, exercises help move your body from early labor to more active labor.” In general, this means that it can help induce labor by positioning the baby correctly as well as improving the mother’s alignment by “causing more weight on the cervix, which increases signals to the body and more specifically to the uterus.” Light cardio, such as walking, is one way to help promote this process. If you’re comfortable, he also suggests incorporating some low-impact movements like squats and lunges. You can also sit and roll on an exercise ball to help open your hips and “allow the baby to sit lower in the pelvis so the body knows it’s time to labor.”
Ways To Start Labor At 40 Weeks
The answer is yes. In fact, it’s generally safe to exercise while pregnant, “as long as [the movements] are no more strenuous than your fitness level before the start of your pregnancy,” says Dr. Irobunda Your second trimester is not the time to start training for your first marathon, and the last trimester is not the time to try a new Zumba class. Stick to the movements your body is used to and always make sure you are in an environment where you can safely participate in these exercises. It is also a good idea to have a training partner. “Make sure you have someone nearby if you need help moving,” he warns. “If it’s not possible to have someone present while you exercise, make sure you have your phone handy in case you need help.” And before you buy the big exercise ball, always discuss any labor and delivery plans with your doctor. Exercise may not be recommended for women with certain medical conditions or high-risk pregnancies.
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If your doctor gives you the green light, here are eight OB/GYN-approved exercises you can try today, all provided by Brooke Cates, a pre- and postnatal exercise specialist as well as the founder of The Bloom Method and Studio Bloom. As you move through these exercises, he suggests focusing on two main things: opening and softening. “Releasing tension in the uterine cavity (your core and pelvic floor) while creating movement and strength in the lower body and pelvic region can provide support for a soon-to-be born.”
In an all-fours position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and knees directly under your hips, begin breathing in and out through your nose. As you lengthen each breath as much as possible, begin to increase the speed of your breathing, transferring the movement to your diaphragm. As you inhale, allow your ribcage to expand along with your abdomen. At the same time, try to consciously lengthen your pelvic floor with each new breath. On your exhale, reverse the movements, keeping your body light and loose. Nothing should feel strained and no muscles should be actively engaged. The focus here is on your breath so it can create space and lengthen.
In an all-fours position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and knees directly under your hips, begin to open and close your pelvis by bringing your hip bones into your ribcage on your exhale, then drop your tailbone toward the sky on your inhale. For an advanced version of this exercise, try a contraction of your deep core and pelvic floor as you squeeze with a gentle lengthening of the muscles as you open.
In an all-fours position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and knees directly under your hips, begin to rotate your hips back and forth, inviting a deeper opening of the hips and pelvis. Inhale as your hips snap back into your heels (go only as far as your body will allow) and exhale as you return to the starting position.
Tips And 4 Exercises For A Normal Delivery
*Squatting can help open the pelvis and signal the body that it is time to prepare for labor. Sitting in a supported deep squat and pressing on your core and pelvic floor connection can be very beneficial during labor.
Start in a standard squat position with your feet approx. hip width apart and toes angled towards your body. Lower into a squat as your butt drives down and back. From here, push your heels up to return to the starting position, keeping your knees slightly bent the entire time. Once you’re comfortable with this movement, try including a 15- to 30-second hold at the lowest point of your squat. This will add an extra layer of hip opening as well as pelvic floor relaxation. While here, engage in diaphragmatic breathing to center your focus on your core.
Start in a wide squat position with your feet wider than hip distance apart. Drop into a deep squat as your butt drives down and back. Find your lowest position (if you feel comfortable resting your butt on your legs, do so). From here, push your heels up to return to the starting position, keeping your knees slightly bent the entire time. Once you’re comfortable with this movement, try including a 15- to 30-second hold at the lowest point of your squat. This will add an extra layer of hip opening as well as pelvic floor relaxation. While here, engage in diaphragmatic breathing to center your focus on your core.
*Pelvic movements on a birth or stability ball can help support the physical preparation for the baby’s arrival and the body’s readiness for birth.
Exercises To Induce Labor (video)
This exercise can be performed on any exercise ball or by kneeling with the butt lifted off the feet.
Find a comfortable sitting position on a birth or stability ball. Begin by moving your hips in a circular motion, starting in one direction and then moving to the opposite. This range of motion will be different for everyone. Keep it short and shallow or deep and wide, whichever feels best.
Lie on your back (or propped up if your body needs it) and spread your legs in a happy baby position with your legs up and your feet wide. Hold your feet, ankles or legs (whichever is more comfortable) and let your body sink into this position. When you need to find your diaphragmatic breathing, feel free to stay here or gently rock from side to side.
*Add support here by sitting on some yoga blocks or by placing your back against a wall or couch.
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Start in a deep birth-style squat with your legs wide, butt down, chest up and both feet planted firmly on the ground. If your heels are raised when in this position, place a wrapped towel or yoga mat under them. Bring your hands to the center of the heart and gently press your elbows into your knees to create resistance. Find your diaphragmatic breathing and let it guide you through this class.
Studio Bloom is a virtual fitness studio designed to educate and empower expectant and postpartum women with safe and effective exercise. If you’re interested in trying more, use a code
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