I tried some labor inducing exercises, because why not?
Natural labor induction is a tricky, complex thing that is somewhat mythical in the eyes of many over-cooked women and a large portion of the Western medical community. There are a lot of methods worth trying- evening primrose oil, acupuncture, spicy food, massage, etc., but truthfully the jury seems to be out on just about everything except for regular exercise to prepare the cervix and tone the uterus. It should be noted that I’m writing this as I sit with my laptop perched just below my enormous belly (visual evidence below). You see, I’m something like 4,000 years pregnant (OK, just kidding, but I’m a full 9+ months pregnant and ready to explode) and I’m 100% desperate for a solution to natural labor induction. I wonder constantly: are labor inducing exercises a real thing, or just an urban legend used to give women like me false hope?
After some careful internet research, I came up with the following maternity-friendly labor inducing exercises to help evict full term babies from overworked wombs (frankly, I suck at pregnancy and love the parenting part). My recipe calls for the following simple ingredients:
A comfortable workout outfit
A pair of comfort-enhanced Therafit Shoes (it doesn’t hurt that they’re endorsed by the most famous female OBGYN ever, right?)
And, an optional doughnut
It should also be noted that the grimace faces are a result of a careful combination of strutting around with a large belly, irregular contractions, rectal pain (I think my baby is headed for the wrong hole), and exhaustion. Meanwhile, I’m so excited to hold her in my arms you can’t imagine.
Move #1: Lunge, and push up against a wall with all your might. Theoretically, deep lunges have the ability to gently stretch the muscles that connect to cervical tissue. Enough of these and you just might efface or dilate a little. If nothing else, the body will bounce back a little faster after, right?
Move #2: Vertical lunge, and refuel with a carb or two. This vertical lunge uses the same stretching concepts as the first lunge, but increases the stretch on the lower back and tail bone areas (where many natural labors often start). If you’re like me, bring a doughnut for additional fuel and motivation. I opted for Bavarian cream to fuel these labor inducing exercises.
Move #3: Climb a few flights of stairs. Climbing stairs slowly (not at a snail’s pace, but there’s no reason to get dangerous here) will gently elevate your heart rate while the motion encourages baby’s head to drop lower into the birth canal. Lower baby plus slightly elevated heart rate typically equals the beginning of contractions if you’re already full term.
Move #4: Get squatting. Forget about all the funny looks you’ll get in the public park, just keep doing gentle squats till you feel a mild burn. Several of the muscles used in labor are also used in squats, and the deep-gravity effect of the position theoretically could bring your baby much closer to the outside world (or all the bouncing will tell her it’s time to get going, already). You’ll notice I tried this one in front of my local Babies R Us in an attempt to bring my fetus to her people, babies. I thought perhaps she might somehow have baby radar and be encouraged to make her big move if she felt like all her friends were on the outside already.
Additionally, it should be mentioned that I tried all these moves just about 24 hours ago, and so far I’m not in labor. I think I have to keep up the routine, just like any other exercise plan. I also strongly suggest staying away from any of these wild moves before talking to your doctor or midwife, because honestly, your baby might be way more willing to get out of your womb than mine. I’ll keep you posted on if these moves help throw me into proper labor or not within the next couple days.