7 Exercises to Prepare For Labor (with Video)

Pregnant mother will feel a little fear and anxiety with excitement, as the days leading to the expected date of delivery comes nearer. To help you relax and be physically ready for easy childbirth, here are some prenatal exercises to prepare for labor.

Exercises to Prepare For Labor

1.    Squatting

How it works: Squatting helps open the pelvic outlet to allow more room for your baby to descend. This can be tiring, so practice frequently to strengthen your muscles.

How to do it:

  1. 1. Do a “wall slide” by standing against a wall with a distance about 6 inches, with your feet apart, keeping arms relaxed at the sides.
  2. 2. Slowly slide your back down the wall until you reach a squatting position with your thighs parallel to the floor.
  3. 3. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds, and then slowly slide back up to standing position.
  4. 4. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

2.    Forward Leaning Inversion

How it works: This exercise helps untwist the lower uterine ligaments, giving the baby more room to settle in position. This exercise also helps when you carry a bigger child on the hip.

How to do it:

  1. 1. Kneel on one edge of a bed or couch.
  2. 2. Slowly lower your upper body to the floor.
  3. 3. Use your hands and forearms support you, with your elbows out and hands close.
  4. 4. Tuck your chin, letting your head hang freely. Your bottom is now at the highest position, with your lower back flattened.
  5. 5. Hold the position for 30 seconds.
  6. 6. Go back up with your hands. Lift up yourself to the kneeling position.
  7. 7. Do this up to three times a day.

3.    Deep Breathing

How it works: Doing deep breathing exercises regularly can help refresh and calm you before and during labor. It can help release tension, lower anxiety and help you focus on your contractions. Deep breathing between contractions can help you relax, too. In addition, this skill can be handy when you become a parent.

How to do it:

  1. 1. Sit with your back comfortably supported.
  2. 2. While closing your eyes, relax your facial muscles and shoulders.
  3. 3. Take note of your natural breathing pattern.
  4. 4. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, filling your lungs as your belly pushes forward.
  5. 5. Exhale through the mouth, making it last longer than inhalation.
  6. 6. Do this exercise for several minutes.

4.    Walking

How it works: Walking is a natural way to use the force of gravity to pull your baby down, which can put gentle pressure on your cervix, thus encouraging it to widen (dilate). Walking creates a rocking motion and helps move your baby into position ready for birth. It can induce labor time period by strengthening the contractions if you are ready to give birth.

How to do it: Walk around your house to encourage labor. Just checking your mail by standing, walking around your kitchen to perform daily tasks, or walking around the neighborhood with a friend or your partner is an easy and comfortable way to exercise towards the end of pregnancy, which can help start labor.

5.    Pelvic Tilt

How it works: The pelvic tilt strengthens abdominal muscles, improves flexibility, and helps relieve backaches during pregnancy and labor. All will be good for the delivery.

How to do it: The easiest way to do pelvic tilts is by going down on your hands and knees, while keeping your head aligned with your back. Then pull your stomach in while arching your back. Hold the position, and then relax, with your back flat, but without letting your stomach sag. Repeat 3 to 5 times and gradually do it up to ten repetitions.

6.    Kegel Exercise

How it works: This exercise strengthens the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus and the bladder. Toning these muscles can relieve the discomforts that occur in late pregnancy, including hemorrhoids and leaky bladder.

How to do it: While sitting on the toilet, try to stop the flow of urine using the pelvic muscles, without contracting your abdomen, buttock, and thigh muscles. You must feel your vaginal muscles contract and must be able to stop and start your urine. You can also do the Kegel exercises by contracting the pelvic floor muscles and holding for 3 to 10 seconds. Relax and repeat the exercise up to ten times. You can also do quick contractions (25-50 times), followed by relaxing for 5 seconds. Repeat it 4 times.

7.    Tailor or Cobbler Pose

How it works: This kind of pose stretches and strengthens the muscles in the back, pelvis, and thighs. It also improves posture and blood flow, keeps pelvic joints flexible, and helps ease delivery.

How to do it: Sit on the floor, back straight, and assume the "butterfly position" by placing the soles of your feet together while your knees drop to the floor. Use your elbows to press your knees gently, until you feel your inner thighs stretch. Hold in position for 10 to 15 seconds, and then repeat for 5 to 10 times.

You can also learn the exercise from the video below. You can click to the related videos listed aside for more exercises to prepare for labor: