Curb Walking to Induce Labor: Does It Work?

Portrait of hispanic pregnant woman walking in a curb at sunset.

  • Curb walking is a strategy used to naturally induce labor at the end of pregnancy. 
  • You can start curb walking when you’ve reached your due date, with your healthcare provider’s approval. 
  • Curb walking is successful only when your body is ready for labor.
  • Do not curb walk if you have been placed on bed rest or your physician has recommended activity restriction.

There is something magical about a due date. You circle it on your calendar and count down to the day. Whenever people find out you are pregnant, they ask—when are you due? 

For some lucky mothers, their new bundle of joy arrives right on time or even a little bit early. For others, days or even a week can pass after their due date without any sign of impending labor. 

Those last days of pregnancy are long and uncomfortable, especially if you are past your due date. Curb walking is one strategy that mothers can try to bring their baby into the world a little sooner. From special drinks to sex, mothers at the end of their pregnancy are willing to try anything to jumpstart their labor. Curb walking is one of those methods some mothers swear by. 

Here, we’ll answer the most important question about curb walking to induce labor: Does it work?

Pregnant girl enjoy the view of the mountains and the forest walking on the curb.

What Is Curb Walking?

When you think of curb walking, you may picture a pregnant woman walking on a curb like a balance beam. A mom at the end of pregnancy is likely to be off-balance anyways, and this would be unsafe and nearly impossible. Luckily, curb walking is actually not difficult. 

Curb walking is when you walk with one foot on the ground and the other elevated on a curb. This uneven gait is supposed to help your pelvis open and your baby’s head to descend further down towards the birth canal. 

How to curb walk: 

  1. Stand with one foot on the curb and one foot on the ground.
  2. Begin walking with one foot on the curb.
  3. After about 5 minutes, turn around and place the other foot on the curb.
  4. If one side is uncomfortable, you can skip that side.
  5. Stop walking when you start to feel tired, since you will need to save energy for labor.

You can get a similar effect by walking up and down the stairs, by wearing one high heel shoe and one flat shoe, or even by leaving one foot bare as you walk around your house. Any type of walking puts gentle pressure on your pelvis, but uneven walking makes it more effective.

Can Curb Walking Really Induce Labor?

Of all of the tricks used to induce labor, curb walking seems to be one of the most effective. One study showed that 32% of women identified exercise such as walking as the triggering event that led to their labor. 

Like other tricks used to induce labor naturally, curb walking will only induce labor if your body is ready. In your last weeks of pregnancy, pregnant women may start to have mild contractions, their cervix starts to soften, and the pelvis gets wider to prepare for labor. Curb walking speeds up this process.

The rocking motion of curb walking can encourage contractions to become more regular and the bones of your pelvis to shift. All of this helps by allowing gravity to move your baby downward. 

The extra weight of your baby on your pelvis can also release the hormone oxytocin. The medication or naturally released hormone oxytocin induce labor by making contractions stronger.

Other Labor Induction Tricks

If you’ve reached the end of your pregnancy and have approval from your physician, you can try other labor induction tricks in addition to curb walking. While most methods are safe, some supplements like evening primrose oil and castor oil may cause problems for you and your baby. Keep in mind that even natural remedies can have side effects.

Evening primrose oil

Some midwives recommend taking evening primrose oil orally in the last few days of pregnancy, and some even administer it vaginally. It’s used to soften and dilate the cervix. However, studies show that it’s not effective and may even cause prolonged labor. 

Spicy food

Eating spicy food stimulates the muscles in your bowel to start moving. It’s also said to stimulate the muscles in your uterus to start contracting. Some people will experience Braxton Hicks contractions after eating spicy food, even early in their pregnancy. 

Nipple stimulation

Nipple stimulation releases oxytocin, which is one of the hormones that is responsible for inducing labor. Many women will start to use their breast pump every few hours as a strategy for inducing labor.

Sex

Like nipple stimulation, sex releases oxytocin which can induce labor naturally. There’s also a theory that the prostaglandins in sperm can help to soften the cervix.  

Drinking castor oil  

Like spicy food, castor oil stimulates the muscles in the bowel and the cervix. However, castor oil is not as gentle as spicy food. While it can be effective for inducing labor, it is not usually doctor-recommended. Drinking castor oil can cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Attractive young caucasian pregnant couple sitting on the curb.

When to Start Curb Walking to Induce Labor

You can start curb walking for labor induction when your body and baby are ready for delivery. Talk to your healthcare professional about how to induce labor naturally in the last few weeks of your pregnancy.

Signs you’re ready for delivery

  1. Your baby is head down.
  2. Your baby has reached full term.
  3. Your cervix has started to dilate.
  4. You’ve lost your mucus plug.
  5. You have no medical problems with your pregnancy.

Safety Reminders When Curb Walking

While it is generally considered safe, there are some important things to keep in mind while curb walking. 

  • Hold someone’s hand or use a handrail if you are unsteady on your feet.
  • Bring water.
  • Avoid curb walking in extreme heat or cold.
  • Do not curb walk to the point of exhaustion.
  • Talk to your doctor before trying anything to induce labor.

Reasons not to curb walk

While curb-walking is generally considered safe, there are a few reasons that you shouldn’t curb walk. Don’t try curb walking if:

  • Your baby is in the breech position, meaning their feet are down towards your birth canal.
  • You have placenta previa, cord prolapse, or active herpes infection.
  • If you aren’t full term. 

Always talk to your doctor before trying anything to induce labor. 

FAQs

Does climbing stairs help induce labor?

Climbing stairs helps in the same way that curb walking does. It creates an uneven gait that helps your body and your baby get into the correct positions for labor.

Can pushing help induce labor?

You should not start pushing until you are in labor and ready to deliver. Instead of trying to push your baby downward, use curb walking to allow gravity to bring your baby down into the correct position. This is a much gentler way to induce labor. 

What is the quickest way to go into labor?

The quickest way to induce labor is medical induction. Your healthcare provider can strip your membranes and give you intravenous pitocin to induce labor quickly. Natural labor induction methods like nipple stimulation, eating spicy foods, and drinking castor oil only work if your body is already ready for labor and just needs a little extra push.

What is the most effective way to induce labor naturally?

Drinking castor oil and curb walking are the most effective ways to induce labor naturally. You should not use either of these methods to induce or speed up your labor without consulting your doctor first. 

How can you help dilate your cervix at home fast?

Sex is one way that many women try to get their body in labor. One theory says that prostaglandins in sperm can help to soften and dilate the cervix. It’s unclear whether this really helps with inducing labor or not.

Curb Walking to Induce Labor: Does It Work

The information WonderBaby provides is not intended to be, and does not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. Always consult with a qualified medical professional about your specific circumstances.


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