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8 Exercises to Induce Labor (Labor Inducing Workout)

Safely prepare the body for labor and delivery with these moves: 8 exercises to induce labor naturally! These exercises are designed to help mama and baby get into alignment before birth. This quick routine combines low impact exercises that can naturally kickstart labor with lengthening “birthing position” poses to open up the hips, pelvic floor and lower back.

We’ve spent the last nine months sharing pregnancy workouts here on the blog and I’ll be honest – I’m at that point in pregnancy where I’m very ready to meet this little one. Enter today’s workout: 8 exercises to induce labor and prepare for birth.

Today’s labor inducing workout is safe for pregnancy, but can help naturally encourage labor once baby is full-term (37+ weeks) and ready to make their arrival.

These exercises are designed to help moms strengthen the muscles they’ll rely on during labor and delivery (the lower body and pelvic muscles in particular). Additionally, these exercises will open up the pelvis, which can encourage baby to move down into a more optimal birthing position.

As always, talk to your doctor or health care provider about what forms of exercise are appropriate for you and your pregnancy.

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pregnant woman performing a butterfly stretch on a bosu ball

FAQs About Inducing Labor

Does Exercise Induce Labor?

Exercise does not increase risk of preterm birth. However, once baby is full-term, research has found that (for low-risk pregnancies), physical exercise can encourage labor naturally starting and decrease induction, cesarean, and instrumental delivery rates (Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine).

When Is It Okay To Induce Labor?

Talk to your doctor or midwife before trying to induce labor naturally. In general, pregnancies are considered full term at 37 weeks of pregnancy. You should not try to induce labor before late in the third trimester.

Who Shouldn’t Exercise To Induce Labor?

Consult with your doctor or midwife before starting an exercise program, especially during pregnancy. For most women, regular exercise is safe and beneficial for pregnant women. However, there are some pregnancy complications that can make exercise more complicated, like if you have been prescribed bed rest, have pre-eclampsia, high or low amniotic fluid, placenta previa or a history of premature labor.

What Exercises Help Start Labor?

Squats, asymmetrical movements and low impact cardio can all help induce labor naturally. You’ll find all three in today’s workout below. Bouncing and performing pelvic tilts on a birthing ball or exercise ball was helpful for me too.

pregnant woman holding her baby bump as part of workout to induce labor

15-Minute Labor Inducing Workout

Naturally induce labor and prepare for delivery with this guided cardio and stretching routine: 8 exercises to induce labor!

Each circuit in today’s workout combines a minute-long “work” period (simulating contraction time) with a 30-second “birthing position” stretch (to encourage baby to move into a more optimal position).

Add this exercise routine to your pregnancy workout plan 2-3 times a week after 37 weeks to prepare for labor.

Workout Equipment:

I’m using a bosu ball in today’s workout, but if I was at home I would use a small step or bottom stair of a staircase.

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Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the Workout to Induce Laborled by certified personal trainer and prenatal fitness instructor, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 5 Circuits (each circuit consists of 2 exercises – one low impact cardio exercise and a birthing position/recovery exercise)
  • Timed Intervals (perform each low impact cardio exercise for 60 seconds, followed by holding the birthing recovery for 30 seconds “rest”)
  • Perform Each Exercise x1 (No Repeats)

Workout Outline

CIRCUIT ONE:

  1. Cardio: Side to Side Squat and Inner Heel Tap
  2. Recovery: Squat and Spinal Roll Up

CIRCUIT TWO:

  1. Cardio: Side-to-Side Overhead Reach and Tap
  2. Recovery: Hands on Wall Squat

CIRCUIT THREE:

  1. Cardio: Lateral Stair Stepper (Right)
  2. Recovery: Wide Uneven Squat Pulse (Right)

CIRCUIT FOUR:

  1. Cardio: Lateral Stair Stepper (Left)
  2. Recovery: Wide Uneven Squat Pulse (Left)

CIRCUIT FIVE:

  1. Cardio: Wide Squat Toes In/Out Pulse
  2. Recovery: Supported Yogi Squat

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Labor Inducing Workout

8 Exercises to Induce Labor Naturally

Side-to-Side Squat and Inner Heel Tap

Targets: Glutes, specifically the gluteus medius (the outer part of your butt used for side-to-side movements), quads, hamstrings, and hip abductors.

pregnant woman performing side to side taps and thigh pull in to induce labor

How To Do A Side-to-Side Squat and Inner Heel Tap

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips.
  2. Step your right foot out towards your right, bending your knees and lowering into a squat position as you step out.
  3. Then, tap your left foot in, bringing it towards your right foot as you pull your thighs together to stand tall.
  4. Step out with your left foot towards your left, sitting back into a squat as you step out.
  5. Tap your right foot in, bringing it towards your left foot as you stand tall.

Squat and Spinal Roll Up

Targets: Opens hips and releases tight muscles in the back and neck.

pregnant woman performing squat and rolling up one vertebrae at a time

How To Do A Squat and Spinal Roll Up

  1. Start standing, feet planted outside of hips, hands resting on your thighs.
  2. Inhale as you bend your knees to lower into a squat, sliding your hands along your thighs as you lower down, aiming to get your thighs parallel to the ground (90-degree bends in both knees).
  3. Exhale, rounding through your spine and rolling up one vertebrae at a time to return to standing.

Side-to-Side Overhead Reach and Tap

Targets: Shoulders, back, core, glutes and hips.

pregnant woman performing low impact cardio to induce labor

How To Do A Side-to-Side Overhead Reach and Tap

  1. Start standing, feet just outside of hips, slight bend in the knees.
  2. Tap your left foot out to your left side, angling your body at 45 degrees, and punch your left arm overhead across your body (towards the right corner of the ceiling).
  3. Pull your left foot and arm back to your midline and repeat on the opposite side, stepping your right arm out, angling your body at 45 degrees, and punching your right arm towards the left corner of the ceiling.

Hands On Wall Squat

Targets: Opens the lats, which are connected to the sacrum. This pulls the sacrum open to create more room for baby to move into birthing position. This simulates the “slow dancing” laboring position.

pregnant woman performing squat with hands overhead to prepare for labor

How To Do A Hands On Wall Squat

  1. Start standing, facing a wall. Raise your arms overhead, resting your palms on the wall.
  2. Inhale as you bend your knees, lowering your hips into a low squat, hands sliding down the wall as you lower.
  3. Exhale, pressing through your heels to stand tall, sliding your hands up along the wall to return to starting position.

Lateral Stair Stepper

Targets: Inner thighs, glutes and hips. This pelvic asymmetry can help baby drop into birthing position (that’s the reason you might also hear about “curb walking” as a way to induce labor). Also beneficial for pelvic floor function.

Note: if you don’t have a bosu ball, you can use the bottom stair of your staircase.

pregnant woman performing lateral stair stepper to induce labor

How To Do A Lateral Stair Stepper

  1. Start standing, feet under hips, to the left of your bottom stair or bosu ball.
  2. Step your right foot out, landing on top of the bosu ball in the center.
  3. Bring your left heel in to tap your right heel.
  4. Then step out with your left heel, planting it on the ground and bringing your right heel in to tap your left heel, returning to starting position.

Wide Uneven Squat Pulse

Targets: Glutes, inner and outer thighs, and hips. Pelvic asymmetry can help baby drop into birthing position as well.

Note: if you don’t have a bosu ball, you can use the bottom stair of your staircase.

pregnant woman performing an uneven squat pulse as labor inducing exercise

How To Do A Wide Uneven Squat Pulse

  1. Start standing with a wide stance, feet outside of hips, right foot planted on a bosu ball (or bottom stair). Toes of your right foot are turned out towards the corners of the room (45 degrees).
  2. Sit into a low squat, knees tracking towards toes.
  3. Pulse up and down.

Wide Squat Toes In/Out Pulse

Targets: Glutes, quads, hip adductors (inner thighs and hips) and hip abductors (outer thighs and glutes, also help stabilize pelvic floor muscles).

pregnant woman performing a wide squat and pulsing motion

How To Do Wide Squat Toes In/Out Pulse

  1. Start standing, feet wide outside of hips, toes pointing forward.
  2. Rotate your toes out towards the corners of the room as you lower your hips down into a squat.
  3. Pulse, lifting your hips up a few inches as you rotate your toes back to starting position, facing the front of the room.
  4. With each pulse, alternate your toe direction, pointing them forward and then out towards the corners of the room.

Supported Deep Squat/Yogi Squat

Targets: Opens up hips, groin and lower back and relaxes pelvic floor.

Note: you can use a yoga block, bosu ball or the bottom step of a stair to support this pose.

pregnant woman in a low yogi squat to open hips and relax pelvic floor

How To Do A Supported Yogi Squat

  1. Stand in front of a yoga block, bosu ball or bottom step of a staircase with your feet hip distance apart or slightly wider.
  2. Slowly lower into a deep squat, bringing your glutes to rest on your support surface. You might need to shift your feet wider outside your hips to accommodate your baby bump.
  3. Bring your elbows inside your thighs, gently pressing your thighs apart to deepen the stretch. Keep your chest tall and open.
  4. With each exhale, focus on relaxing all the muscles in your body, letting go of tension and dropping your pelvic floor.

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