You’re almost there. You’re so close. You can’t wait to meet your new baby, but maybe even more than that, you can’t wait until your pregnancy is done. We get it; you are tired. It’s OK to be climbing the walls a bit, especially if you’re overdue. And of course, you have tried the usual ways to induce labor — spicy foods, sex, the works — and nothing is making that baby budge. Now is the time you may want to consider some exercise. Before you click this window closed, hear us out. We know you’re exhausted, and the last thing you want to do is anything that will make you even sweatier than you already are. But there’s a reason you see heavily pregnant women doing laps in maternity wards: Exercise helps get things moving.
So, here are a few exercises that could induce labor to try if you’re tired of being in the eleventy-seventh month of pregnancy. (At this point, what do you have to lose, right?)
Gentle Exercises to Induce Labor
1. Light Jogging
If you’re in the mood to pick up the pace — both in terms of exercising and the remainder of your pregnancy — doing some light jogging could do the trick.
2. Pelvic Tilts
Doing pelvic tilts is probably what got you to this position in the first place, but they can also be useful for getting the birthing party started. Give them a try by lying on your back with your feet flat against the floor and bending your knees. Slowly lift your pelvis until it becomes parallel with your torso. Hold for 10 seconds, get back to your starting position, and repeat.
3. Step Exercises
You don’t need any fancy equipment for this one: Just find something sturdy you can safely step on (and off) and go to town.
4. Be a Baller
Whether you call it a “yoga ball,” an “exercise ball,” or a “birthing ball,” if you have one of these sitting around, use it during your last few weeks of pregnancy — including as a way to help induce labor. And if you’ve tried one of these before in yoga class and accidentally flung it across the room with your legs or did one sit-up and had sore abs for a week, don’t worry: There are plenty of exercises that involve being gentle, like the hip rolling move in the video above.
5. 10-Minute Workout
Are you someone who responds more to exercise that involves some sort of workout routine? If so, here’s one that lasts 10 minutes and can help send your baby its eviction notice.
6. The Miles Circuit
Many people rave a labor-inducing exercise flow called the Miles Circuit. Long story short? It’s a series of positions that helps move baby into a favorable position for birth. If you want to try it yourself, the video above walks you through the process.
Squatting is a great exercise to help your body prepare for childbirth, and it won’t put too much pressure on you or your baby if you do it right. Stand with your feet wider apart than your hips and keep your toes pointed forward. If you need support, put a chair in front of you and hold the back of it, making sure your back is straight. Then bend down like you’re about to sit in a chair. Don’t worry if you can’t do a full squat! Do it halfway, which means don’t bend below your knees. Stay like that for five to 10 seconds, taking deep breaths as you come back up.
Foods That Induce Labor
Before we begin, the following foods are not clinically proven to help women go into labor. However, there are some meals mamas and pregnancy folklore swear by. So, if you’re over it (your long pregnancy, that is), pick a tasty item from the list below and hope for the best.
- Spicy foods
- Cream cheese
- Raspberry leaf tea
- Licorice root
- Black cohosh
- Green papaya
- Cumin tea
- Balsamic vinegar
- Basil and oregano
- Evening primrose oil
- Castor oil
Other Ways to Induce Labor
If spicy food and exercise aren’t working for you, don’t worry! There are many ways to get your baby’s attention and evict them from your uterus.
- Having an orgasm releases oxytocin, which can cause uterine contractions. The prostaglandin hormone is also found in semen, which can soften your cervix.
- Nipple stimulation isn’t just foreplay. It can cause your uterus to contract, which can induce labor. Your partner can help you out, or you can grab your breast pump to get things going.
- Membrane sweeping is when your doctor sweeps their finger between the membrane of your amniotic sac and uterus. This releases prostaglandins, the aforementioned hormone that pushes your body into labor.