Stretches for Labor: PARTNER version
Side Lying Release Labor Stretch
Side lying release is a technique performed with a partner. This stretch helps to open up the pelvis [sacroiliac joints] and release pressure. This aids with pelvic positioning for delivery and relieves pressure in areas such as low back, pelvis, pubic symphysis, and hips.
Your adductors are your inner thigh muscles. Try massaging, foam rolling, and other muscle release techniques on your inner thighs. These muscles attach directly to the pubic symphysis/front pelvic bone. When these muscles relax, the pelvis can lengthen out and open. This can be done SOLO, however, it can be helpful to have a partner help you with this technique because these muscles tend to be quite tender!
Sacral Rocking Standing Against Wall
Sacral rocking is a technique performed with a partner to help decrease pressure in the low back and front pelvic area. This helps to open up the pelvis to optimize baby positioning during labor! It is also an amazing technique to do DURING labor to help create counterpressure during contractions! Your partner will then apply pressure at the sacral base [top of the tailbone] and under the belly near the pubic symphysis. They will then perform slow movements by pushing down on the tailbone and lifting up low under the belly to provide that rocking motion!
Sacral Rocking on Chair/Toilet
Laboring on the toilet has been a favorite technique for many midwives and doulas - rightfully so! Sitting on a chair or toilet backwards [similar to a supported squat] helps to open up the pelvis. While sitting, there is an oppotunity for more 'hands on' support. Sacral rocking is one labor technique you can utilize in this position!
Belly Sifting [ posterior placenta only ]
For this labor technique, you will want to use your exercise ball and a scarf [a towel or a sheet can work too]! Kneel on the ground and support your upper body using the ball and let your belly sink to the ground. Wrap the scarf comfortably around belly so it is completely covered. Your partner will then lift your belly up by pulling on the 'scarf' and start to shift your belly! It is fatiguing for your partner if they do not have great form! Lift with your legs! Use your core! Belly sifting takes pressure off the low back and round ligament making it a great technique for pre- and during labor!
For further information on this technique - reach out to a Birthing Doula or look into Spinning Babies.
Stretches for Labor : SOLO version
Sacrotuberous Tennis Ball Release
The sacrotuberous ligament attaches from the side of the sacrum to your ischial tuberosities [ sits bones]. The opening of the pelvic outlet is directly influenced by the tension of the sacrotuberous ligament. This technique uses a tennis ball to help release tension in the ligament and surrounding muscles aiding in pelvic outlet opening - so babe as ample room to exit!
Sacral Opening Squats for Labor
All types of squats can be beneficial to prep yourself for labor - they can help build strength and mobility in the pelvis and hips. For labor, you can modify the traditional squat by bringing your knees together and sitting back to help open up the back side of your pelvis [pelvic outlet - where baby will come out]. You can use a support like a countertop, chair, or doorframe if you need!
Kneeling Pelvic Stretch for Labor
Child's pose can help open up the top of your pelvic [pelvic inlet] as baby starts to descend. To encourage the bottom part of your pelvic to open [pelvic outlet] where babe needs to exit; you can modify child's pose! By using your exercise ball to support your upper body, position your knees close together and feet apart. Then, slowly sit back on your sit bones and relax into this position!
The adductor muscles are your 'inner thigh' muscles, they attach directly to the front of your pelvis. Using a muscle stick, foam roller, or rolling pin, you can decrease tension in these muscles! When the muscles relax it will help during labor by allowing your pubic bone to open. Keep in mind that these muscles are typically very tender!
For More Information on Labor and Delivery Prep
Read our LABOR AND DELIVERY PREP GUIDE!