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What Exercises During Pregnancy Start Labor?

author image Shelley Frost
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.
What Exercises During Pregnancy Start Labor?
Walking may help get labor started.

Finding natural ways to get labor moving becomes appealing as your due date nears or passes. Exercises that may start labor are only effective if your body is ready to begin the process. Specific studies that support the efficacy of exercises to induce labor are limited. Even if the exercises don't immediately start labor, they improve your fitness, making your body better able to handle labor when it does begin. Talk with your health-care provider before trying to start labor on your own, particularly if you haven't yet reached your due date.

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Walking may get the process moving if you have experiencing contractions but aren't in labor yet, Dr. Marjorie Grandfield writes for the Dr. Spock website. The swaying action of your hips eases your baby into birthing position, with gravity assisting. Walking might also help you feel better as you have contractions.

Sexual Intercourse

Sexual intercourse is often mentioned as a possible way to get labor started, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Scientific evidence to support sexual intercourse as a way to induce labor is limited, but it may work in multiple ways to get things moving. The penetration stimulates the lower portion of the uterus, releasing prostaglandins. Semen also contains prostaglandins, which helps ripen the cervix. Orgasm in a pregnant woman may also cause contractions.

Breast and nipple stimulation during sexual intercourse may add to the potential for labor initiation. The breast and nipple stimulation releases oxytocin, which is responsible for contractions.

Birthing Ball

Birthing balls are often used during pregnancy and labor. Sitting on the ball may ease back pain, providing a more comfortable way to sit than regular chairs. The birthing ball may also help the baby move down into the pelvis, moving him into birthing position with his head engaged. Once active labor begins, the birthing ball works well as a support for squatting, or for getting on your hands and knees.


Squatting is sometimes recommended to get labor moving. Like walking or sitting on a birthing ball, squatting is thought to help the baby ease down into the pelvis for a better birthing position. Try doing squats next to the kitchen counter or other sturdy item to use as support.

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