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Top 10 Exercises for a Normal Delivery & Easy Labour


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Around 80% of pregnant women fear and worry about the process of labor and childbirth (and rightfully so). Pregnancy is without any doubt one of the most beautiful experiences in a woman’s life. And, to be able to hold your baby after 8-10 months of carrying them, is an even more beautiful experience.

However, labor and delivery aren’t a walk in the park. It comes with pain, discomfort, and also the excitement of finally meeting your baby earthside. Normal or vaginal birth is often considered an ideal route of childbirth. Not only does it have a quicker recovery for the mother, but it also imposes a lot fewer risks for the birthing process.

There are certain exercises for pregnant women that train their bodies to prepare for normal delivery and further ease the process of labor for them. Wondering what they are? This article will dive deeper into those exercises and how you can integrate them into your life.

What Should You Keep in mind When Exercising during Pregnancy?

Exercising and leading an active lifestyle are crucial to having a healthy pregnancy. However, there are certain factors you need to keep in mind.

  • Avoid indulging in heavy-duty exercises and training, especially ones involving the abdominal region.
  • Always wear loose-fitting clothes while exercising to prevent overheating of the body.
  • Maintain and regulate the temperature of the room you are exercising in.
  • Keep yourself hydrated throughout the exercise regime.
  • Wear footwear that’s comfortable and provides a good grip on the ground you are exercising on.
  • Never forget to start the exercise routine with some warm-up stretches to prepare the muscles and avoid any risks of sprains or inflammation.
  • Understand your limit when it comes to exercising and never overexert yourself.
  • Avoid indulging in exercises that make you stand still in one position for prolonged periods.

Keeping these in mind exercising during your pregnancy not only keeps you and the baby safe, it also trains your muscles for the upcoming labor and childbirth.

Best Exercises for a Normal Delivery and Labor

Pregnancy exercises will vary from one trimester to the other. The degree to which you could exert yourself during the first trimester will drastically reduce as you progress in your pregnancy.

However, before you do any exercise routine, thorough stretching and warm-up are quintessential. It strengthens your muscles and prevents the risks of a tear or injury while you are exercising.

Following are the top 10 exercises you can include in your pregnancy journey to ease the labor and delivery process:

1. Wall Slide

Ideal during: First trimester

Good for: Stabilizes the spine and the lower abdomen; Reduces back pain

How to do?

  • Stand straight placing your back lightly against the wall
  • Slowly, inch your feet forward and away from the wall
  • Make a gradual “slide” down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground
  • Simultaneously, raise both of your arms and rest them on the wall
  • Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and stand back straight.
  • Repeat this 10 times.

2. Walking

Ideal during: Throughout the pregnancy

Good for: Exercising the entire body, boosting blood circulation, and reducing stiffness in the muscles.

How to do?

Walking depends on your preference and your comfort. Some pregnant women prefer walking during the evening while others prefer basking in the morning sun. Always wear sunscreen if you are going for a walk when the sun is out. Also, if the heat from the sun is scorching, avoid daytime walking since it might overheat the body and make you dehydrated.

3. Pelvic Circles on Pregnancy Exercise Ball

Ideal during: Second and third trimester

Good for: Reduce back pain, Improve muscle flexibility, and Relax a pregnant woman.

How to do?

  • Start by picking a stable and sturdy gym ball that’s blown with the maximum capacity of air.
  • Place the ball against a wall to stabilize its position
  • Sit down on the wall, keeping your feet wide apart and putting your hands on the waist.
  • Move your waist in circles while sitting down on the gym ball.
  • Make sure you have your feet firmly planted on the ground.
  • This is the best pregnancy exercise for normal delivery and is also effective to induce labor in pregnant women who are overdue.

4. Kegels

Ideal during: Second and Third trimester

Good for: Strengthen the vagina for normal delivery.

How to do?

Kegels are basically pelvic floor muscle contraction exercises that strengthen the vaginal muscles and prepare them for the upcoming labor and delivery. The kegel exercises also strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to prevent any potential tears during delivery and direct the baby into the birth canal for safe and quick delivery. 

5. Clam Shell

Ideal during: First and second trimester

Good for: Tones and strengthens the muscles, abs, thighs, pelvic floor, etc.

How to do?

  • Lay down your yoga mat on the floor and lie down on it sideways, while keeping an arm below your head for support. Keep your heels on top of the other.
  • Elevate one of the heels as much as you can.
  • Hold that position for a few seconds and return the heel to its original position.
  • Do 10 repetitions of this exercise.

6. Cat and Cow Exercise

Ideal during: Second and third trimester

Good for: Prepares the baby for birth, Eases muscle tension

How to do?

  • Start by laying out your yoga mat and get on your hands and knees
  • Position yourself so your elbows are directly under your shoulders
  • Inhale deeply and drop your abdomen/belly to form a dipping curve in the back. Look up to the ceiling while doing this.
  • As you exhale, return to the initial position and shift your gaze to the ground.
  • Repeat this 10 times.

7. Pelvic Stretches

Ideal during: Third trimester

Good for: Stretches the muscles in the body and improves flexibility

How to do?

When it comes to preparing the body for labor and normal delivery, the first focus is on the pelvic floor muscles. Your aim is to strengthen these muscles in real time. The pelvic stretches and kegel exercises during pregnancy strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, thighs, hips, and buttocks to sustain the upcoming impact of childbirth.

8. Forward Leaning

Ideal during: Third trimester

Good for: Allows the mother to get their baby to the optimal position for childbirth

How to do?

This exercise during pregnancy is fairly simple. You will be advised to do this exercise as your body prepares itself for labor and eventual delivery. What you have to do is keep an exercise ball in front of you. Kneel in front of the ball and press your arms over the ball, keeping them parallel to the ground. Hug the ball, keeping your back straight and parallel against the floor. Gradually swing sideways on the ball to ease the tension in the back muscles.

9. Lower Back Release

Ideal during: Third trimester

Good for: Relieving back pain, stretching the spine

How to do?

As you progress through the pregnancy, chances are that you will feel a sharp shooting pain and pressure in the lower back due to the strain of carrying the baby. This exercise relieves that pain and strengthens the muscles.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Place a heavy-weight chair in front of you.
  • Place your hands on the backrest of the chair and take 3-4 steps back.
  • Keep your feet wide apart and bend down from your waist until your back is parallel to the ground.
  • Inhale and exhale as you count to 10.
  • Gradually come up to the standing position and repeat this 5-10 times.

10. Child’s Pose

Ideal during: Third trimester

Good for: Opens up the pelvis and strengthens the muscles.

How to do?

  • Place a yoga mat on the ground and kneel down
  • Ensure that your toes are touching each other in the back
  • One by one, bring your right hand and place it in front of you, followed by the left hand.
  • Bend down from the waist, stretching your muscles in the process.
  • If you feel uncomfortable or strain in the abdomen, move your thighs apart to ease the strain.
  • Breathe heavily and count to 10.
  • Repeat this 5-10 times.


And, with that, you have the best pregnancy exercise routine for normal delivery and labor. It is important to remember that you don’t have to do them all just because it is written. Always listen to your body and only do the exercises that you feel comfortable doing. You don’t want to put any strain on the abdomen or the hips. Practicing these exercises safely should be your #1 priority.

Srujana Mohanty
She is the Managing Editor of Cogito137, one of India’s leading student-run science communication magazines. She's been working in scientific and medical writing and editing since 2018, also associated with the quality assurance team of scientific journal editing. Majored in Chemistry with a minor in Biology at IISER Kolkata, Srujana loves doodling and watching series.


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