Childbirth is a physiological process our body prepares from the beginning of pregnancy. Unfortunately, we cannot know the exact day on which labour will begin in advance, although it is customary from week 37 pregnancy when our baby is fully prepared to live outside the womb without problems. The most frequent is that she begins around the 40th week of gestation.
“If labour does not eventually trigger on its own, it will most likely require to induce before week 42; generally, ten days are expected from the probable delivery date,” warns midwife Natividad García, a specialist at the Clinical Hospital of Madrid. So that the end of pregnancy does not become too difficult for us, some exercises and activities can help our baby be encouraged to be born without having to wait for labour to be induced. The more practice you do during pregnancy, the better physical shape you will have in your postpartum period.
Exercises for the baby to “drop” and support itself in the birth canal
“When the baby is still positioned in the cephalic position [head down] – it is very high in our pelvis and does not support its head against the birth canal -, if we get the baby to descend enough for that support to occur, the Pressure from the child may help start or improve cervical effacement.
Walking at a brisk pace every day, going up and down stairs, doing squats, squatting or dancing to a gentle rhythm by swinging the hips are exercises with which we can achieve this effect.
How long do the 10 centimetres of childbirth “last”?
The average is 1 cm per hour…
Exercises to cause uterine dilation
We have already seen that many types of exercises cause dilation. Among them, walking or going downstairs (better than going up them) and squatting, if you can. It appears that the position and Pressure of the baby’s head against the cervix stimulate the production of oxytocin, which could lead to Birth.
Walking helps you prepare for childbirth and postpartum
If the baby has not settled into the pelvis or is still very high, walking can help the baby get into a better position, thus increasing the chances that labour will start on its own.
“The walks are good for before, during and after pregnancy. It is not necessary to be in shape to start with them”, recommends the head of the Gynecology and Obstetrics service of the Infanta Elena de Valdemoro Hospital.
Know the essential dictionary of childbirth: It will be handy when you are admitted to the hospital.
Exercises and tricks to dilate quickly
Swiss ball exercises to dilate
During pregnancy, Pilates ball exercises are very beneficial for pregnant women; they strengthen the back and abdomen muscles without causing injuries in these areas and in the pelvis and knees, facilitating the baby’s descent head.
“This ball is also used during labour for pelvic tilt exercises, which relieve discomfort during contractions and make work easier. It’s much more comfortable sitting on the ball than on a bed or chair. Sitting on the ball, the force of gravity is greater, facilitating the baby’s descent and the blood flow to the placenta.”
How do you know if you are dilating?
- How to use the ball for childbirth
- Pilates ball exercises to speed up labour
The exercises on a rubber ball (of Pilates) strengthen the muscles of the back and abdomen without straining or causing damage to these parts, as well as to the pelvis and knees, facilitating the descent of the fetal head.
This ball is also used during dilation so as not to overload the legs with the pregnant woman sitting on it. Thermodynamics, or gymnastics with giant balls, comes from Switzerland. This technique, known as “swiss ball” or “fitball”, is indicated to tone the pelvic floor, increasing respiratory capacity and stimulating circulation. All this is very appropriate for the dilation phase.
The exercises can be done at home quickly. They are soft movements and contractions of the pelvic floor when you sit on the ball (usually performed in yoga classes for pregnant women).
Does intercourse help to go into labour?
“An excellent way to release oxytocin is to have frequent intercourse if there is no contraindication from your gynaecologist. Intercourse is safe during pregnancy, and it is unnecessary to stop practising it because the delivery time is approaching “.
What infusions help uterine dilation?
” The use of specific infusions, such as raspberry leaves or different types of tea, can help cause increasing contractility of the uterus during the dilation phase; even so, its effectiveness is not proven, and they are not free of contraindications or side effects. Therefore, consult your midwife about its efficacy and safety before taking any infusion.
Perineal massage and Kegel exercises naturally produce oxytocin; according to expert consultants, they facilitate dilation and have no contraindication for the pregnant woman or the baby. The granules of Actea Racemosa at 7CH (previously known as black cohosh ) taken two weeks before childbirth are very useful in dilating and relieving pain and relaxing the pregnant woman.
“Homeopathy is also useful, as long as it is used responsibly by professionals who have experience in this treatment.
Osteopathy, through a series of manual techniques or non-invasive treatments, attempts, at the end of pregnancy, to restore flexibility to the spine and correct mobility to the maternal pelvis. Relieve muscle tension in the area so that the mother feels more relaxed and comfortable, and the baby can be positioned correctly to help us start labour or shorten dilation”, indicates this specialist.