Is curb walking to induce labor effective?
Every woman is excited and nervous at the same time in the last few weeks of pregnancy.
The idea of finally meeting your baby for the first time after a long, challenging journey excites everyone.
But if your baby is overdue, that excitement can soon turn to frustration.
For this reason, many soon-to-be mothers try countless ways to induce labor naturally.
For instance, many gynecologists advise walking among other activities.
But is it possible to induce labor faster with curb walking? We wanted to investigate.
Curb walking helps induce labor because the uneven gait and gravity help the baby move down to the pelvis.
During the contractions, your baby needs a gentle push for ideal positioning deeper in your pelvis to pressurize the cervix.
And the pressure causes your cervix to open for your baby to pass through the birth canal.
Many women are keen to find ways to induce labor naturally and curb walking is an interesting theory.
We know there are still numerous people who want to know all about it.
So keep on reading as this article will discuss curb walking and how it helps to induce labor.
Curb Walking to Induce Labor
First and foremost, what is curb walking? Well, it’s exactly as it sounds. It’s when you walk with one foot on the sidewalk while the other is on the road.
Curb walking to induce labor is not a scientifically proven method to help induction.
And no studies confirm its effectiveness but it’s not the type of thing that would be the focus of a study.
However, a large majority of women found it helpful.
According to the Perinatal Education Journal, most labor triggers for pregnant women were walking and other exercises.
Many women found and reported walking as the reason for their labor induction, as walking could potentially dilate the cervix.
The authors from a newer study confirm that women who used to walk in the last few weeks had excellent Bishop scores.
Medical professionals calculate this score to know how ready is your cervix for normal delivery.
Activities like curb walking, a regular walk, and other mild exercises reduce the chance of a cesarean delivery (C-section).
A C-section or cesarean delivery is a surgical procedure performed on women to deliver the baby through an incision in the mother’s abdomen.
Women who have normal delivery complications undergo this surgical procedure to avoid risk to the mother and the baby.
So as a soon-to-be mother, if you are encouraged to give it a shot, it’s better to speak with your doctor beforehand.
Generally, exercises like curb walking are safe for most people, but there are certain cases where you should avoid these activities.
Some of these cases are:
- Placenta previa is a condition that causes bleeding, and it occurs if the baby’s placenta (an organ around the baby in the uterus) covers the cervix.
- Preeclampsia is potentially a dangerous medical condition that typically occurs halfway through the pregnancy (20 weeks and beyond). It causes swelling, headache, high blood pressure, and protein in the urine during pregnancy. But after the baby is delivered, they vanish.
- A history of premature labor or delivery
- A weak cervix that runs the risk of opening prematurely
With that said, if you don’t have any risks and complications.
And if your doctor approves curb walking and other natural techniques to induce labor, you should keep reading to know all about it and give it a shot!
1. Curb Walking and Tips To Follow For Inducing Labor
As we know, there are many communities online where people post questions and others with relevant and legitimate information answer them.
In many of these communities, people have posted questions about curb walking to induce labor, and surprisingly, numerous people are unaware of it.
Curb walking does help during your contractions, and it’s easy to do for almost every pregnant woman.
To curb walk, put one of your feet and the other on the road, and begin walking.
The walking pattern that the curb walking creates is ultimately the object that you want to achieve for labor induction.
As you start curb walking and each step you take, you’ll feel significant shifts in your belly.
These large shifts are signs that your baby needs some room to adjust in a proper position in your pelvis.
We will discuss some tips to help make your curb walking safe and easy.
Before you go out to walk on a curb, make sure:
- Your midwife or a medical professional allowed you for it or any other exercise
- You have your husband or someone with you, as the extra weight in your belly could make it difficult to walk in that pattern
- That you are a week or two out before your main event, or you are a full-term
- To put on comfortable clothes and footwear
- Use both directions and stick with either side that makes you comfortable
If you cannot go out curb walking, whether it’s the weather condition or you don’t have curbs in your living area then there are ways you can do it inside your home.
2. The Verdict: Does Curb Walking Help Induce Labor?
From the experience and success stories of many women, full-term or a week out, who are already having contractions, curb walking can help.
The reason is when you are already dilating and effacing, and your baby is ready for birth, that’s when it needs that little push to get things started.
However, curb walking will not help in labor induction if your body is not ready to go into it.
And you shouldn’t even attempt to go into labor naturally by any method if you’re preterm.
In addition, labor can be super exhausting and needs a lot of energy.
So make sure not to drain yourself and potentially avoid the risk of going into an emergency c-section.
As we have discussed earlier, from a practical standpoint, a study confirms labor for most women through the normal walk.
Curb walking is no different and somewhat similar to a regular walk, plus it does no harm, so it’s worth a try!
3. Alternatives to Curb Walking
As I’ve mentioned earlier, there are alternatives to curb walking indoors, so you don’t miss out on its benefits.
If you are having a winter baby and you are living in colder parts of the world, going out of the house in the snow and slippery roads for curb walking would seem impossible.
The possibility of not having any curbs in your neighborhood could also be a reason to miss out on it.
So here are some ways you can use that help open up your pelvis for your baby to descend.
- Use the staircase – Most homes have a staircase, and if you can’t go out for any reason, you can use it to mimic that uneven walking pattern.
The aim is to move your body from side to side and make some room, so gravity pulls your baby down into your pelvis.
One extra benefit with the staircase you can have is to hold the railing for support as you go.
- Do step-ups – If using all the stairs is too much for you since you are carrying the extra weight of your baby, use just one step!
You can hold on to the railing or the wall with your hand and do step-ups.
Or, you can use steppers that you get for aerobics if you have one. Again, the idea is the same!
- Use a high heel shoe – If you like shoes with high heels, I’m sure you’d still have them and haven’t worn them for quite some time. Sometimes your feet get swollen, but if you still can, wear one high heel shoe from the pair while leaving the other foot bare.
Walking in high heels is relatively easier than using the stairs and quite similar to curb walking.
Still, holding on to a railing or holding someone’s hand is recommended to prevent any unpleasant accident.
Although all these methods are alternatives to curb walking if you don’t want to risk going out of the house, safety still should be the first priority even if you perform these activities indoors.
Some Common Natural Techniques to Induce Labor
Here we have listed a few natural techniques that a lot of women try to get their contractions started. Although there aren’t enough studies or research confirming it, it has been used for ages and said to be working to some extent.
1. Nipple stimulation – According to the National Library of Medicine, stimulation of nipples releases oxytocin in your body which causes the uterine to contract. You can stimulate your nipples with your hands. Or you can use a breast pump, which is an effective way for labor induction.
2. Intercourse – Unless you have conditions and your doctor have put you on bed rest, you can have sex during the last few weeks of pregnancy. During sexual activity, your body starts to release oxytocin that potentially kicks off uterine contractions. Also, some studies confirm that semen has prostaglandin, which is a substance that results in softening of the cervix.
3. Acupuncture – It is a treatment in Chinese medicine and is considered one of the oldest methods to induce labor. A study has shown that acupuncture increases cervical ripening. Although, you should get this treatment in a licensed acupuncturist clinic.
4. Spicy Foods – It is thought to be useful in labor induction. The idea behind spicy foods is that they irritate the GI tract and are said to get the uterus to contract. Although, there are no studies that confirm it. Also, the gut isn’t directly connected to the uterus.
Similar post: 5 Strange Signs Of Labor
If you’re full-term or a week out, you can start curb walking to induce labor.
However, don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t start your labor right away. You can use other methods that we’ve stated above.
We all know how exciting it is to meet the long-awaited babies. And that’s why women follow all the natural practices.
Whatever you do to induce your labor, just make sure to confirm it with your doctor to avoid putting yourself and your baby at risk.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do you need to curb walk to induce labor?
You can curb walk for 10 to 15 minutes on either side as long as you’re comfortable, which will help you to induce labor.
As the uneven gait makes room for the baby and with the gravity force, your baby falls in your pelvis.
The baby’s constant pressure on your cervix results in its dilation, making it easier for the baby to come out through the birth canal during delivery.
Can walking too much induce labor
Walking too much does not guarantee to induce labor.
However, recent research has found that women at the 34th week started walking four times a week for about 40 minutes.
That resulted in an increased Bishop score in most of the women.
Before you attempt the same activity, make sure to check and confirm it with your doctor first.
Does walking open your cervix?
Walking opens your cervix because, with the movement of your body, the baby falls deep and adjusts in your pelvis.
Thereby the baby’s head puts constant pressure on your cervix, causing it to dilate and efface.
What week should I start curb walking?
Ideally, you can start curb walking anytime after 37 weeks of pregnancy. Also, curb walking can be helpful after reaching your due date or when you’ve started dilating and effacing.
Curb walking after experiencing your first contraction might help to make them more regular. But most importantly, consult with your health care provider.
Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She’s an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.
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