How to Walk to Induce Labor

By Margo Upson

By the time many women get to the last one or two weeks of their pregnancy, they become interested in ways to speed up the arrival of their child. Walking is one way to attempt to safely induce labor. If done correctly, it has no negative side effects and actually serves to naturally induce labor and improve the health of both the mother and baby.

The first step in walking to induce labor is to get your doctor's permission. This will ensure that extra exercise won't have a negative effect on any health conditions. For example, if you have high blood pressure, or if your baby is in the breach position, your doctor may advise you not to walk for exercise. In either situation, walking to induce labor could cause complications. You also need to be at least 38 weeks into your pregnancy. At that point, you are considered full-term and your baby is ready to be born.

The second step for walking to induce labor is to find a pair of quality walking shoes. You need a pair of shoes that will offer adequate support. Try on shoes before buying them to make sure they fit snugly, but are not too tight. It is common for feet to swell during the last several weeks of pregnancy, and the shoes that fit you in early pregnancy may no longer be comfortable. Buy sneakers with a no-slip tread to keep you from falling on slick surfaces.

Choose an appropriate walking area. In late pregnancy, your balance will be a little off, so avoid hills, slippery areas and narrow curbs. Use indoor walking tracks during the winter if you live in an area with ice and snow.

Walk at a comfortable pace. Keep your breathing even; you should be able to carry on a conversation while walking. Bring a large bottle of water with you to keep hydrated. If you get too warm or begin to feel uncomfortable, stop.

Walk at least 30 minutes a day, every day during the last two weeks of your pregnancy. Walking helps to move your baby further down into your pelvis, putting pressure on your cervix and causing it to open, thus inducing labor.

Tips

The more walking you do, the better your chances are of inducing labor. Walking throughout your pregnancy can help you avoid going over your due date and make labor, delivery and recovery easier.

Warnings

Do not try to induce labor, through walking or other means, until at least your 38th week of pregnancy. Get your doctor's permission before trying to induce labor.

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