Curb Walking: What Is It and Can It Help Induce Labor?
Pregnant women approaching their due dates are often more than ready for the big day to arrive. Sometimes, babies don’t pay attention to due dates or simply decide to take their sweet time entering the world.
What can be done to give the birthing process a little nudge? To speed things along?
The internet is loaded with ideas on how to induce labor without going to the hospital for medications. Many, such as eating spicy foods – boiled crawfish, perhaps – or downing some Caster oil, sound more like old wives' tales.
One “natural” technique to induce labor that has received attention lately is curb walking.
What is curb walking?
It sounds like something a gymnast might do on a balance beam. Most women who are 40 weeks pregnant wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing.
But you don’t have to be Simone Biles for curb walking. It’s actually very simple. You just put one foot on the curb and one foot on the street and begin walking.
Theoretically, the unequal walking pattern created by the curb causes the pelvis to open and allows the baby’s head to descend. When the baby’s head is deeper into the pelvis, there is more pressure on the cervix, causing dilation and effacement.
This uneven walk should be done for about 10 minutes. Do not walk to the point of exhaustion.
It’s a good idea to take someone with you when curb walking. Toward the end of a pregnancy, a woman’s balance may be slightly off, and it’s good to have someone to grab hold of if you begin to lose your balance.
If this type of exercise causes pain or discomfort, discontinue it immediately.
And, of course, it’s not the kind of thing you want to do on a busy street or one filled with cracks or potholes.
Does curb walking work?
Even though curb walking and walking can be effective at encouraging the baby to move into a better birthing position, experts say these activities won’t trigger labor if your body isn’t ready to go into labor. The same is true of any induction method.
If you’ve already started dilating and effacing and your body needs a little motivation to get the process rolling, curb walking may help. If contractions are underway, you may find this could help them to become more regular.
Of all the practices you might find on the internet that purport to induce labor, exercise and walking – with or without a curb - are at the top of most doctors’ lists.
While there’s no significant research suggesting curb walking will induce labor, most doctors believe 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five times a week can be helpful in any stage of pregnancy for most women having a normal pregnancy.
It’s essential to see your doctor for regular visits during pregnancy and discuss anything you might try to jump-start the delivery.
It’s also important to try to remain patient. Pregnancy fatigue can be an issue for many expectant women, especially those with due dates in late summer when Louisiana’s heat and humidity add to the misery.
At the end of the day, babies arrive when they are ready to make their debuts. So, try to curb your enthusiasm as much as possible.
Learn what to expect when expecting at Ochsner.