If your due date has already passed, you may start to feel as if you would do anything to give birth and get the chance to hold your baby. There are plenty of old wives’ tales about ways to encourage labor. There isn’t any method that is always an effective way to convince your baby to start his journey into the world other than being induced by a doctor, but many natural ways, such as walking to induce labor, can help to some extent.
When women hear these suggestions, it is common to wonder, does walking induce labor?Is it safe? Before you try walking to start the delivery process or any other method, you should always talk to your doctor. This ensures that your baby is ready before you discover how much walking helps to induce labor.
Does Walking Induce Labor?
The short answer is that it can in certain situations.
Remember that walking won’t make a difference if your body isn’t ready yet, but it can help once you already have contractors or are already at full term. After you enter active labor, try to move around and stay upright as this helps the labor progress, so walking can help then as well. Keep in mind that the answer to “how much does walking help induce labor” will vary from person to person. If your body isn’t ready, it won’t help at all, but if you and your baby are both prepared, it can make a big difference.
When you are upright, this encourages the baby to move farther down along the cervix. The walking action also applies a rhythmic pressure to your cervix with the baby’s head. His pressure stimulates your body to release oxytocin, a hormone which assists with regulating and triggering contractions.
If the baby’s head hasn’t engaged, meaning moved down into the pelvis, the act of walking may help your baby get into an ideal position, increasing your chances of labor starting by itself.
- It is safe to using walking to induce labor late during your pregnancy, but you should never walk too much to get worn out. Remember that labor may be exhausting and you want to have energy left for that process.
- The best way to induce labor with walking is to take a gentle stroll, such as a walk around the block. Remember not to go for an excessively long or fast walk.
Safe Walking to Induce Labor
There isn’t one right way to walk and induce labor, and the method that lets you positively answer the question “does walking induce labor” may vary from person to person. Walking in any way should make a difference as long as you are far enough long. This means that you can simply take a walk around your home, which is a great option as you will still be close to help. In some cases, everyday tasks like walking around your kitchen, standing while doing household tasks, or checking the mail can even help. You can also walk around your block or neighborhood or go to local stores. Don’t forget to take someone with you in case labor begins quickly.
Walking up the Stairs
A great method of walking without leaving your house is to go up and down the stairs. As you lift your body while climbing the stairs, this will help your baby go down into the right position for birth. At the same time, it can start dilation by applying gentle pressure to the cervix.
Walking on Uneven Surfaces
If you are wondering “does walking induce labor,” then you will be glad to know that all types of walking can help. This includes doing so on uneven surfaces, like putting one foot on the street with the other on the curb. This method will rock your baby so he gets lower while encouraging your cervix to dilate. Just be careful with this method since balancing can be harder during late pregnancy. Walk slowly and use someone for support.
Remember not to overexert yourself when using walking to induce labor. Stick to familiar, safe areas with good lighting and someone around. Use comfortable shoes that have non-slip soles and stay hydrated. Don’t be afraid to take breaks during your walk as well.
When Not to Walk
Walking during the late stages of pregnancy will not work for everyone. In certain situations, you should avoid this method. One example would be in the case of high-risk pregnancies, in which case you will want to go into labor while at the hospital so you can be monitored. You may even have the proper supervision to walk in the hospital without a risk.
- If you aren’t yet at full term, you shouldn’t try to induce labor since your baby might need additional time to develop.
- If you have a risk of complications like premature labor, your doctor might recommend avoiding walking so your labor doesn’t induce too soon.
- You may also not be allowed to walk if your amniotic sac has broken and the fluid isn’t clear as there may be waste (meconium) that can cause a risk for your baby.
Other Ways to Induce Labor
Now that you know the answer to the question “does walking induce labor?” you may want to know additional methods to try as a way to start the delivery process.
Many people say that acupressure can help labor and experts are still not sure whether it works or not. At the moment, some shiatsu specialists only suggest it in cases where you are already in labor. The method works by applying pressure to specific points on the shoulder, by the ankle, and between the pointer finger and thumb.
Having sex can induce labor, but only if you are close enough to term where your cervix has already begun to efface. This method can work because orgasms can cause uterine contractions, as can the prostaglandin found in semen. Castor oil might also work by stimulating production of prostaglandin, but it is also a laxative, which can lead to diarrhea.
3. Nipple Stimulation
Nipple stimulation can also induce labor as it encourages your body to release oxytocin which in turn stimulates labor. The thing to remember, however, is that you will need to do so for a minimum of an hour three times each day. No matter which method you try, you should always consult your doctor first.