How Long Should I Walk to Induce Labor? (Does It Help With Contractions?)

If you call in for early labor at a birthing center, the midwife will likely suggest you walk around. Unfortunately, science does not back this with enough evidence proving the claim to be effective or not. Nevertheless, walking and moving around has helped many moms to ease through the process of labor faster for centuries now. This is because gravity and pressure on the cervix both work to increase dilation and push the baby down. For it to work well, however, physically fit moms need to do walking exercises daily for at least 20 minutes a day.

In the hospital, your OB will likely check your dilation every once in a while. It is after sending you out to walk around before your active labor. That is why the timing may not be the same for every mother.

There are also a lot of other ways that people believe in inducing labor. Some may even try the potency of cumin tea to stimulate contractions. Still, walking is one of the trusted processes that is safe for most moms.

How walking can hasten contractions

A pregnant woman is walking at her nearby park to help hasten contractions.

Although there is no basis that walking does help, there are also no reasons why you can’t do it. Walking is safe unless contraindicated on certain conditions.

Experienced moms and even doctors trust walking to help with labor contractions. But when walking doesn’t do the trick, doctors will intervene to induce labor like introducing prostaglandin and oxytocin derivatives.

Once you start with labor pain, get up on your feet and move around. It will nudge the baby to press further down the cervix. The motion of your hips will work with gravity to draw the baby downward. It will help you progress through the labor.

Even if walking does not contribute to inducing labor, it is still an important activity for women. Gentle exercises like this will help your body develop its core strength to fight off flu-like symptoms before labor. In addition, it will keep you in top shape so that you are body-ready for the whole ordeal of delivery.

Here’s the safe way to engage in walking before or during the labor contractions:

  • Walk around at your most comfortable pace.
  • Start walking for 20 minutes a day, at least four times a week.
  • You may increase the walking time if you feel comfortable.
  • Healthy women may walk about 3 to 5 miles in a day.

Other ways of naturally inducing labor

A pregnant woman is speed walking towards the end of her pregnancy to help induce labor.

Medically inducing the labor is painful, but it is the only effective way of ripening the cervix to hasten delivery.

Gentle exercises are a great help to pregnant moms. But before doing any strenuous activity, check with your doctor first. It is necessary to avoid common injuries for both you and your baby.

Here are some other natural ways of easing the labor process that most mothers trust:

  • Massage
  • Have sex
  • Eat spicy foods
  • Stimulate your nipples
  • Try acupuncture or acupressure
  • Drink Cumin Tea

FAQs

Is squatting to induce labor safe?

Gentle squats are beneficial for stimulating dilation and let the baby get into a better position. But don’t overdo it to prevent injury to your baby.

Is it safe to consume herbs for inducing labor?

Some herbs contain abortifacient properties that will cause contractions of the uterus. However, there is not enough study that establishes their safety. You may contact your midwife or doctor if you plan on using complementary herbal medicines.

Do birthing balls or pilates balls induce labor?

Birthing balls are also essential tools for stimulating contractions and bringing the baby to the best position. But before using a birthing ball, check with a qualified prenatal exercise specialist first.

They will give you the correct and safe movements and exercising techniques that will effectively cause uterine contractions.

Takeaway

Walking is a simple, safe, and easy way of getting your body ready for labor and contractions. In addition, it may contribute a little to pushing the baby into the birth canal and putting pressure on the cervix.

Whether it is scientifically proven or not, it is still an important activity that moms can do leading up to the delivery. Walking helps relieve stress and strengthen the muscles.

It is also necessary for giving the body an added boost of energy and being ready for the delivery day.

Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She experienced handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also trained in labor rooms and pediatric wards while in nursing school - helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.

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