When you are getting closer to your due date, you will notice your cervix dilating and softening to prepare for giving birth and this happens even before labor pains begin. The faster you dilate, the faster your labour process will be! You may be stressing when you are only, let's say, 1 cm dilated. You’ll be relief to know that there are some things you can do to speed up your dilation naturally!
When you are in labor you should try to walk as much as you can. The combination of body movement and gravity will help your baby descend down into your birth canal. In addition, the pressure that the baby’s head exerts on the cervix may help with dilation and even effacement (thinning) of your cervix. It can also help encourage contractions which in turn further help with dilation. You should ask someone to walk next to you and provide support and keep walking for as long as it is tolerable.
2. Use birth balls
Sit on a birth ball with your legs spread apart. Use a bed or chair to rest your upper body and then squat on the ball as this will relax your pelvic muscles and widen your pelvis. You can also gently rock and use gravity to bring your baby’s head down to your cervix to encourage dilation.
Most hospitals provide a birthing ball, but check with them in advance to make sure and check if there are additional charges. Alternatively, you can consider bringing your own!
3. Gentle exercises
Another great idea is to go up then down stairs but be sure to do so in long and slow strides. This will help stretch and dilate your cervix. Walking wider and slower than normal increases the stretch of the cervix, encouraging dilation.
4. Take a warm shower
Try either standing or sitting in a warm shower to help yourself relax. By relaxing, you prevent tense muscles which would make the physical work harder. Using a warm shower can ease tension while helping with cervical dilation and contractions. You can also lie in warm water, but make sure someone helps you get in and out.
If you are looking for other ways to relax, try listening to some soothing music. You can also ask someone to give you a gentle massage. No matter the way you relax, it will produce the same beneficial effects in terms of cervical dilation.
5. Medication (only when necessary)
You should always go with the natural method first, allowing your cervix to naturally dilate. Every mechanical or medical intervention will have a small risk and may even increase the risk of a caesarean section. Because of this, most doctors will only encourage you to speed up the dilation process or induce labour when they feel it is necessary. Leave it to your doctor to make this call!
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