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I bet you can’t wait for labor to kick in as you approach your due date. You’ve waited patiently for 9 months to hold your bundle of joy and have become restless as the last few weeks tickle by. You worry about your baby’s health, labor pains, delivery, and postpartum bonding.
To induce labor at home, these 10 simple exercises have been found to get things moving and help start labor naturally. However, studies have found, that it is best to wait until your baby is full-term, which is around 39 weeks, before engaging in any labor-inducing exercises.
Here are 10 proven easy exercises to prepare your body for delivery and induce labor fast.
10 Exercises to induce labor fast
1. Pelvic exercises
Pelvic bones tend to pull away and separate during delivery to accommodate the baby’s head.
Performing pelvic exercises to induce labor strengthens the pelvic muscles, prepares them for labor, and keeps the joints loose. It is a great exercise that you can perform throughout your pregnancy.
To do pelvic tilts, lay down on your back with feet on the floors, and your knees bent. Keep your back straight against the floors and gradually lift and push your pelvis up. Hold the pelvis in that position for 10- seconds, then release it slowly. Repeat this process several times for 10 minutes, twice a day.
Squats are incredibly safe and easy in pregnancy. They strengthen the muscles in the thigh, lower back, and abdomen.
Regular squats towards the end of your pregnancy prepare your body for labor by opening up the pelvis, stretching the perineum, and lengthening the pelvic floor muscles.
Get started by placing your back against a wall. You can use an exercise ball between the wall and your back to relieve pressure from your lower back.
Keep the feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing forward. Bend the knees and slowly go down, the same way you would while sitting on a chair. Do a half squat or full-squat and hold that position for 5-10 seconds, take a deep breath, then rise as you exhale.
Walking is one of the best easy exercises to induce labor at home.
It is low-impact and keeps you fit throughout your pregnancy. As your due date approaches, it aids with cervical dilation, allowing the baby to drop into the lower part of your uterus.
You can walk an average of 30 minutes a day, outdoors or on a treadmill. See this useful guide on pregnancy treadmill workouts.
4. Kegel exercises
Kegel exercises are extremely helpful for labor contractions.
They tone the pelvic floor muscles that support major organs like the bladder, urethra, vagina, uterus, small intestines, and rectum – preventing incontinence, and preparing your pelvic area for childbirth.
To perform kegel exercises, tighten the muscles around your vagina for 5 – 10 seconds, just like when you’re trying to hold in pee. Repeat as many times as you can throughout the day.
However, don’t engage in Kegel exercises when you are actively trying to pass urine, as it can be unhealthy.
5. Butterfly pose
Butterfly pose is an easy yoga exercise that is great throughout your pregnancy and after delivery.
It opens up the pelvis and builds strength and flexibility in the surrounding muscles. Also, it stretches your thighs and hips to ease pregnancy pains and make childbirth easier. Then after delivery, it tones the pelvic floor muscles and promotes postpartum healing.
To perform butterfly exercises, sit on the floor, bring the soles of your feet together and bend your knees. Pulse your legs up and down like a butterfly’s wings and feel your thigh muscles stretch. Maintain a comfortable pace and range of motion, and remember to breathe.
As you inhale, expand your chest forward and up while sitting up tall so that the lower back forms a natural curve. As you breathe out, lean back, round your back, and drop the chin down. Repeat this exercise 5 – 10 times.
Lunges are great for inducing labor fast. They relax the pelvis and stretch the hips, allowing the baby to move into the perfect birthing position. Also, they are very easy on the body.
To get started, stand upright and make a big stride forward with one leg, keeping the knee over the ankle. Drop the other leg so that it’s parallel to the ground and push back up to the original position. For balance and extra safety, push up against a wall as you perform this exercise. Alternate the legs and repeat the above exercise about ten times with each leg.
7. Birthing ball exercises
Ball exercises help induce labor naturally and prepare your body for delivery.
Sitting on the pregnancy ball with legs apart increases blood flow to the baby, placenta, and uterus. You’ll be getting the baby into the right delivery position and opening the pelvic outlet to make birth faster and easier.
To use a birthing ball, sit on the ball with your legs apart and your knees slightly bent, With your feet flat on the ground, gently move your hips up and down to encourage relaxation and contraction of the pelvic floor.
Alternatively, you can gently bounce up and down on the pregnancy ball for a few minutes throughout the day – this allows the spine to decompress, relieves pressure on your lower back, and naturally induces labor.
However, as you approach the last weeks of your pregnancy, use the birthing ball with extreme care to prevent sliding off due to the extra pregnancy weight.
8. Stair climbing
Stair climbing is highly effective in inducing labor naturally. It increases pressure on your pelvic muscles by engaging your leg muscles and lower back.
As you climb, your body tilts to a 45-degree angle and the hip movements cause the baby’s head to move lower into the birth canal.
Stair climbing is enjoyable when you do it with a partner, begin slowly, and increase your steps when you can. Make sure to hold on to the rails and climb steadily without exerting extra pressure on your body.
9. Prenatal yoga
Gentle prenatal yoga is an effective exercise for inducing naturally. It opens up the hips while allowing you to connect with the body and relax.
Studies in pregnant women have found that prenatal yoga reduced labor duration and labor pain.
You can start by resting in a wide-legged pose to gently release tension in your lower back. Avoid complicated lotus positions or headstands.
Swimming is a great workout that can be enjoyed throughout your pregnancy.
It helps tone and strengthens your entire body for childbirth. It stimulates the muscles in your lower body and takes the pressure off your joints.
Make sure to check with a doctor before engaging in swimming to induce labor.
What precautions should I take when exercising to induce labor?
Simple exercises to induce labor will go a long way in dilating your cervix and getting your body ready for labor. However, exercising when you’re almost full term can be stressful and tiring. Here are important points to take note of when exercising:
- Drink lots of water before, during, and after exercising to avoid dehydration and burnout. Signs of dehydration include a racing or pounding heart, dizziness, urinating only small amounts, or having urine that is dark yellow.
- Wear a comfortable sports bra and belly support belt to reduce discomfort while walking, running, or climbing the stairs. Find a good belly belt and bra here.
- Make sure to invest in a good slip-resistant birthing ball to avoid slips and falls. Shop for a birthing ball here.
- Avoid becoming overheated, call your ob-gyn when you notice any of the following signs:
- Regular, painful contractions
- Fluid gushing or leaking from the vagina
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Shortness of breath before starting an exercise
- Chest pain
- Muscle weakness
The bottom line
Exercising regularly throughout your pregnancy prepares the body for smooth and natural delivery.
They are a great way to induce labor fast while helping your body recover quickly after childbirth. Consult with your doctor and begin with any of the exercises listed in this article when you’re about 39 weeks.
Remember to start slowly and work your way up until you meet your little bundle of joy. Wishing you lots of strength and energy in the coming days and weeks!
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