If your due date has come and gone, the anticipation of giving birth may be building whether this is your first child or you are well-experienced in giving birth. The days until your child is born may seen like an eternity. There are stretching exercises you can complete to help naturally induce labor. Talk with your doctor before participating in any types of stretching or exercises, suggests the American Pregnancy Association.
Use an exercise ball to help induce labor. Exercise balls can be purchased at your local sporting good store. Sit on the center of the exercise ball -- keep your feet positioned flat on the ground with your knees bent. Use your feet to roll back and forth across a room. You may also simply bounce up and down on the exercise ball. Midwives believe -- according to "Your Best Birth" written by Ricki Lake, Abby Epstein and Jacques Mortiz -- this exercise can help move the baby into position for labor. Complete an exercise ball stretch for 10 minutes at a time, three times per week throughout your pregnancy. This can also strengthen your abdominal muscles and those in your lower back, according to Peninsula Regional Medical Center.
Perform squats throughout a healthy pregnancy. Squats are also believed to help get your baby into position for delivery. Stand with your feet positioned shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Slowly bend at your knees while keeping your back straight. Bend your knees as far as you comfortably can without your knees surpassing a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for five seconds. Relax and repeat. Complete one set of 20 repetitions.
Perform kegel stretches. Kegel stretches are designed to help tighten and tone your pelvic floor muscles. Your kegel muscles are the muscles that help control the flow of urine. While not scientifically proven, many pregnant believe performing kegel exercises in high repetitions can help to start your contractions. Stand with your feet flat on the ground and your back against a wall. Contract your kegel muscles and then relax them. Complete 100 kegel exercises. These stretches can be done during your entire pregnancy.
Exercise your legs. Moving your legs including walking and stair-climbing may help to exert pressure on your cervix, which may cause dilatation. Exercising and stretching your legs can also help your baby to descend and get into position for delivery. Simple tasks -- such as walking to get the mail, going grocery shopping or walking around your house -- are also believed to help induce labor. Swimming can also be beneficial. Exercise and stretching is an important part of an pregnancy to help mom and baby stay healthy. The National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends 15 to 30 minutes of exercise, three to five days per week. This largely depends on the fitness level of the mother, the discretion of your doctor and if you are having a high-risk pregnancy.
- "National Academy of Sports Medicine; Essentials of Personal Fitness Training"; Scott Lucett; 2008
- "Your Best Birth"; Ricki Lake, Abby Epstein, Jacques Mortiz; 2009
- Peninsula Regional Medical Center: Birthing Ball Pointers
- American Pregnancy Association: Exercise During Pregnancy
- American Pregnancy Association: Exercise and Pregnancy