You’re in the last leg of your pregnancy and eager to meet your little one. While going into labor naturally is ideal, waiting for the final weeks to pass can feel like an eternity. The good news is there are a few natural ways to encourage your body to kickstart the labor process.
But before you try any risky alternative methods, why not consider changing your sleeping positions at night to help nudge your body into labor mode? Trying different sleeping positions to induce labor is also one of the easiest ways to begin the birthing process.
With the help of gravity and optimal positioning, you’ll be cuddling your new baby before you know it. Read on if you want to know about sleeping positions to induce labor.
Sleeping Positions That Help In Inducing Labor
Believe it or not, how you sleep at night can have an impact on your hormones and pelvic area. Specific positions are thought to increase comfort and oxytocin levels, relax your pelvic floor, and stimulate contractions.
These sleep positions can help put pressure on your cervix to stimulate contractions and induce labor. The two best sleeping positions to induce labor are:
On Your Left Side
Try sleeping by lying on your left side and pulling up the upper leg closer to your belly. You can place the leg on a stack of pillows or use a body if you want to get more comfortable in this position.
Sleeping in this position improves circulation to your uterus and promotes cervical ripening. It also helps in stretching the perineum and widens the pelvis. In addition, sleeping in this position takes the weight of your baby off your spine and back.
This is not exactly a sleeping position but you can try this exercise while lying on your bed before going to sleep. This position involves lying on your back and pulling your knees up to your chest. It helps align your pelvis and opens up your hips to make room for the baby to move into the optimal birthing position. Rock gently side to side for added effect.
Prop Up Your Upper Body
While sleeping, use an extra pillow or two to elevate your upper body. This takes pressure off your back and makes it easier for your uterus to contract. The incline also helps relax your pelvic floor muscles, which can speed dilation and effacement.
Get On All Fours
Spending time on your hands and knees opens up your pelvis and helps the baby get into an optimal birthing position. Rocking gently side to side or forward and back may increase the effectiveness. This can be an especially good position for back labor.
Do Pelvic Tilts
While on your hands and knees, arch your back upward, tilting your pelvis. Then lower your back downward. Slowly rock back and forth. This helps open up your pelvis and may stimulate contractions.
Using gravity to your advantage and opening your pelvis are two of the keys to naturally inducing labor. These positions, when done regularly in the final weeks of pregnancy and especially when you’re full-term, can help kick-start the labor process so you’ll soon be snuggling your new bundle of joy.
Along with these sleeping positions to induce labor, here are some other things you can try:
- Use extra pillows under and between your knees for support and comfort.
- Have your partner speak or sing to your belly. Familiar voices can be soothing and stimulate your baby’s movement.
- Ask your partner for a back massage to relieve tension and induce relaxation.
The more you practice these techniques, the more effective they’ll be when it’s time for labor to begin.
Let’s Have A Look At Some Labor Positions
The birthing process takes a toll on the body. But that does not mean that you should not be comfortable. The labor positions help ease the discomfort and help in moving the baby downward through the pelvis. Let’s have a look at a few of the best labor positions.
The Knee And Hand Position
This position requires you to get down to your knees and hands either on a floor mat or a bed. Rebekah Wheeler, RN, CNM, a certified nurse-midwife, says, “The hands and knees position is a great one since it helps open the pelvis.” Megan Cheney, MPH, MD, added, “Sometimes baby’s heart rate responds better when you’re in the hands and knees position, especially if the baby isn’t in the best spot.”
- Eases back pain as it takes some pressure off the spine.
- It also helps in boosting the baby’s oxygen.
- There is a high chance that your arms will get tired.
The Sitting Position
When you start feeling that your baby’s weight is going downward, it is best that you should sit down. It does not matter if you sit on the toilet seat or a birthing chair, but sitting down during that time and spreading the legs helps in relieving a bit of pressure from your pelvis.
- It is a good resting position.
- Sitting down relaxes the perineum, which reduces tearing.
- A hard seat might not be very comfortable.
- This is not a good option if you have high blood pressure.
Squats never make it to anyone’s favorite list of exercises, be it during any time or during pregnancy. But during labor, you might want to do exactly that. You can squat against a wall or take the help of a partner or chair.
- It opens the pelvis.
- Allows a baby room for maneuver as they move toward the birthing canal.
- It might become tiring after a while.
Tips For Getting Comfortable And Falling Asleep In Labor-Inducing Positions
Once you’ve tried the optimal sleeping positions, here are a few other natural methods you can try to encourage labor to start:
Going for walks is a simple but effective way to induce labor. Walking helps stimulate the pelvis and uterus, which can trigger contractions. Even just light walking around the block can help. You can also curb walking which is exactly what it sounds like. Try walking with one leg on the curb or footpath and the other one on the road for a few minutes just before going to bed at night. This exercise will help you to open up your pelvis and help your baby descend quickly.
Gently stimulating your nipples releases oxytocin, the hormone that causes uterine contractions. Have your partner massage or suck on your nipples to stimulate oxytocin release.
Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme thought to soften the cervix and induce labor. Enjoy fresh pineapple, pineapple juice, or smoothies.
Eating Spicy Food
Spicy food like chili, curry, or jalapeños can stimulate the bowels and uterus. The bowel and uterus share some of the same hormone receptors, so irritating one organ can affect the other.
Having an orgasm releases oxytocin, which can trigger uterine contractions. Sex with your partner, especially in positions where penetration is deep, may help induce labor. Semen also contains prostaglandins, hormonelike substances that can soften the cervix.
Sit On A Birthing Ball
You can also try bouncing gently while sitting on an exercise ball or a birthing ball. To do this exercise, you should sit on an exercise ball with your legs wide apart and move your hips up and down in a gentle motion. This exercise will help in dilating the cervix and relaxing the pelvic floor. It also helps the spine to decompress and relieves tension in the lower back!
Castor oil is a natural laxative that may stimulate the bowels and uterus. The dose is usually around 2 ounces, mixed with juice. However, castor oil can cause unpleasant side effects like diarrhea, so only try this method under the guidance of your doctor. They can determine if your cervix is ready and the proper dosage for you.
So there you have it, the best sleeping positions to induce labor. Try experimenting with these positions as you approach your due date to find what works for you. Remember that every pregnancy is different, so don’t get discouraged if labor doesn’t start right away. Your baby will come when they’re ready.
In the meantime, do your best to relax, get plenty of rest, and cherish these last few moments before your little one arrives. Before you know it, you’ll be holding your baby in your arms. May these sleeping positions speed you on your way to meeting your little bundle of joy.
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