Sometimes, babies are more than ready to come out, but sometimes, they are quite comfortable where they are and don’t seem to be willing to leave the womb. It can be unbearable to wait for labor to start, and you may find yourself getting desperate.
Thankfully, there are a few tried and true methods to get your body ready for labor. One of these is curb walking. This article is here to help you learn more about curb walking as well as other methods to induce labor when nothing else seems to be working.
What Is Curb Walking?
Curb walking may sound strange or uncomfortable, but it is quite easy. All you have to do is walk with one leg higher than the other. It is called curb walking because the easiest way to do it is to walk with one foot on a sidewalk curb and the other on the road.
The foot on the curb will be higher than the one off of it. This exercise doesn’t have to be done extensively either. Usually, a ten-minute walk is more than enough. You should never push yourself to the point you are exhausted.
You will also want to be careful or bring a friend to walk with you. Many pregnant women tend to be unbalanced, and walking on the curb can make the situation worse.
Does It Help to Induce Labor?
If your body isn’t ready to go into labor, curb walking won’t help. However, it can help your baby get into a better position, and it helps to make sure your baby is where it needs to be when your body is ready for labor.
If you have started labor, but things aren’t going quite as you want, then you might want to try curb walking. It helps your body get more ready, helps to expand dilation, and might kick-start the whole process. If you are contracting already, curb walking can help to regulate them.
Most doctors promote walking and light exercises to help induce labor. This is usually without a curb, but walking on a curb can add a little boost to your walk.
Should You Try Curb Walking When It’s Time?
It is always good to talk with your doctor before trying anything new. They should be able to tell you if it is safe to practice, or if it will help. If not, they can at least suggest other options for you.
If your doctor gives you the go-ahead, it is worth trying. It can at the minimum help to regulate your contractions and might make your labor a little shorter.
Be aware of the weather and time of year as well. It is very easy to get fatigued and overheated. Take it slow and go back whenever you start to feel tired.
Variations of Curb Walking If You Don’t Have a Safe Place to Practice
Essentially, curb walking is just going up in elevation with one foot and down with another. Curbs are best because they allow you to walk in long stretches at a time easily. However, if you don’t have a safe space to do curb walking, or there aren’t curbs near your home, there are other options.
Standing at the bottom of a staircase and stepping up and down on the bottom step is a good option. All you have to do is face one direction, and step up with that first for two to three minutes. Then, you can switch sides and do that for another two to three minutes.
Since this doesn’t include walking, you may also want to do a little bit of walking around your neighborhood for a few minutes as well.
A yoga step is another option. Again, you would just step up with one foot for a few minutes, and then turn and swap and repeat for the same length of time. You will still want to do a few minutes of walking as well if you are feeling able to. You don’t have to do it at the same time, but doing both in the day is a good idea if you can.
Anything else that you have around your home or yard that is stable and about a foot off the ground can be used for curb walking. It is a bonus if it is long enough you can take a few steps in either direction instead of standing in place.
Just make sure the equipment is stable. You don’t want to risk falling and injuring yourself or the baby. You can also put soft things around like yoga mats or padding if it makes you feel better.
12 Other Labor Induction Tricks
Sometimes, you just know it is time to get your baby out of your belly. You and your doctor will go over some ways to help push your baby out when it is time. You can try one or several of these.
Like with anything else, check with your doctor before trying any of these practices to make sure that it is safe for you and your baby.
Sexual intercourse is considered one of the best methods. There are a couple of theories as to why it works. Some people think that something in ejaculation, likely the prostaglandins, helps to stimulate the cervix and cause contractions.
Another theory is that the woman’s orgasm itself is what helps. Since the uterus is stimulated, it may promote contractions. Additionally, completing sex can let out beneficial hormones like oxytocin which is said to promote contractions as well.
It may be one of these or a mix of all three, it isn’t clear. But whatever it is, it has been shown to help and many people stand by that method, so it is always worth giving it a shot.
Rumors say that three ejaculations contain the same amount of prostaglandins as the medicine Cervidil, without harmful side effects like contractions, ruptured membranes, and fetal distress.
2. Castor Oil
Castor oil is an oil that tastes disgusting but can promote labor. It is normally used as a laxative, and this is why it can help you to give birth. Castor oil works as a laxative by stimulating the intestines into spasming.
3. Membrane Stripping
This doesn’t sound comfortable, and we have to say it isn’t the most exciting thing to do. You cannot do it yourself as it is considered a medical procedure. It involves your doctor separating the amniotic sac from your cervix. This releases prostaglandins.
1 out of every 8 women who undergo the procedure says that they go into labor within two days of the surgery. There are some dangers with it, so always talk to your doctor first to make sure you understand the risks.
4. Spicy Foods
Spicy foods, like castor oil, stimulate the bowels. It is a little more gentle though, so more preferred for a lot of people. However, it can upset the stomach, and there haven’t been any studies done on how spicy food works to increase labor.
If you usually already eat spicy food, there is no harm in trying it out, but there is no reason to force yourself to eat hot foods just to try it out.
5. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red raspberry leaf tea is said to tone your uterus while you are pregnant, and so many women drink it throughout their pregnancy. However, it can also help to stimulate contractions. You can drink it throughout the day, and it may even make your labor easier.
Another way to increase your oxytocin is a massage. During a massage, you can focus on certain pressure points or areas in pain to make you feel better and stimulate your uterus. If you aren’t feeling a massage, cuddling, snuggling, and relaxing in bed can also promote the same levels of oxytocin.
Dates are said to help with dilation. Additionally, some studies have shown that the first stage of labor was shorter for those who ate dates. You can start eating them up to four weeks before expected labor.
8. Nipple Stimulation
This may sound weird, and highly embarrassing, but it can be very effective. If you are tired of waiting on your baby, and not sure what else to try, give yourself some nipple stimulation. Just massaging and gently twisting your nipples can release oxytocin to increase the chances of contractions. Work around your whole breast as well, in slow and rhythmic motions.
Breast pumps can also do the trick if you don’t want to have to do it yourself.
Mild exercise is best at promoting labor. One of these is curb walking, or just regular walking, but that isn’t all you can do. Squats, birthing balls, and swimming can all also be beneficial. Try a few different exercises to see what is comfortable and what seems to be helpful with promoting baby drop. You can do one or multiple versions of these exercises.
10. Evening Primrose Oil
Midwives are quick to suggest evening primrose oil. The herb that creates this oil is said to help with thinning and dilating the cervix to help your body get ready for labor. Taking it in the last couple of weeks of your pregnancy can be beneficial.
However, if you have placenta previa, you should stay away from evening primrose oil as it can do more harm than good.
Though this one may sound unrealistic, experts and mothers both agree that this method works pretty well. While it can’t force a baby to come out when they aren’t ready, it can promote it a little. It helps to reduce stress, which allows your body to relax, and it stimulates activity in the uterus, to promote labor.
Like acupuncture, acupressure is said to help induce labor. It works similarly to acupuncture, but it uses finger pressure instead of needles. This is a method you can attempt yourself if you don’t want to pay for expensive appointments and it keeps you away from needles if you are scared of them.
The best pressure points are found in the webbing between your thumb and index finger, and about 4 finger-widths above your ankle bone on the inside of your leg. If you want to make sure you are hitting the right spots, you can find a professional to help you out.