One home remedy we’ve all heard for inducing labor is going for a walk.
Apparently, it’s great for getting baby into the right position for delivery, as well as being a method that can induce natural labor, whilst still being safe.
But does it work? Does walking induce labor? And should you try it? Read on to find out.
Real talk. Does walking induce labor?
Like a lot of things pregnancy related, there’s no 100% when it comes to whether walking induces labor.
We know it works for a lot of women, and we know, (supposedly) why it works, but it’s not guaranteed to work for every woman or work every time.
Which is why it’s not recommended as a cure-all for every woman who wants to naturally induce labor.
In fact, according to research done on over three thousand women, standing or walking during the birthing process can cut as much as an hour off the time in labor, and the women studied were less likely to need pain relief or an epidural.
How does walking induce labor?
It stands to reason that walking would induce labor, or at least help a little bit.
After all, we’re designed to stand and move around. Before we created this wonderful world with cars, and offices and air conditioning, we were on our feet all day.
So when it came close to the due date, women in the past would have been on their feet anyway.
That’s why walking when you’re close to delivery is still completely safe unless you’ve been advised otherwise by your doctor. But don’t overdo it. Walking, especially when you’re almost due, can be tiring, and you don’t want to tire yourself out, especially if you do end up going into labor.
When you stand, gravity is acting on your baby in the womb, and as you walk, they’re going to move with you. Slowly, with every movement from your body and gravity working on them, the baby will move into a position lower in your womb, positioned against your cervix, which is the position that’s optimal for delivery.
Walking whilst pregnant can also help stimulate the production of oxytocin, which is the hormone that controls and regulates your contractions. Supposedly, it’s baby’s head pressing on the cervix, especially in the rhythmic way that comes from a walk, that causes increased levels of oxytocin to be produced, which can help induce labor.
Is walking whilst in labor good or bad?
Despite what you might think, walking whilst in active labor is actually really good for you. In fact, it’s only in developed countries like the USA and the UK that people lie down for labor, in order to let health professionals have an easier time accessing and monitoring you and your baby.
In the rest of the world, women will stand and walk during almost the entire process. It seems to be an entirely natural thing to do.
Everything that makes walking great for inducing labor makes it just as good for helping your delivery along, so staying standing and moving slowly around the room can actually help your birth experience.
In fact, according to research, standing during the first stage of labor is actually the preferred position. It can make this part of the process much faster, helps you deal with the pain that comes with contractions, and could also help stabilize baby’s heart rate.
Just make sure you keep yourself near something you can lean on, just in case you get a strong contraction and taken by surprise.
As well as this, when you lie down, you’re actually putting more pressure on the major blood vessels in the abdomen, rather than on the muscles around your tummy. This restricted blood flow could have several major effects, including weakening the strength of your contractions and slowing the dilation of the vagina.
At the end of the day, you should do whatever makes you feel the most comfortable, and puts you and your baby at the least risk.
If I don’t want to walk, what else can I do to induce my labor?
If you don’t want to walk, or you don’t feel comfortable walking, there are several other things you can do to induce labor, including:
- Trying to relax
- Having sex, or having an orgasm
- Hypnosis and breathing techniques
Labor is a trying time for most women. We all know that, so finding ways to take the stress off and make it easier on yourself is a good thing.
Does walking induce labor? Yes. Sometimes. Can it help women who are in labor? Yes. Sometimes.
You’ve got nothing to lose by trying it out, so if you feel capable, and you’re looking for a natural way to induce your labor or relieve some of the pains you’re feeling, take an easy little stroll and see what happens.
Then make sure you tell us. We love hearing our reader’s stories, especially when they’re happy.