When I was still living abroad, I was very amused by my friend Kayleigh and the videos she posted to Facebook (which are since gone) about curb walking for labor. She was hilarious with her big bump protruding from her otherwise small frame as she walked along the curb.
Narrating her endeavors with her husband shooting the video and encouraging her in the background, she was beyond frustrated that this baby hadn’t come out yet in the 40th week.
“Get out! Come on, baby!” she was yelling. “I’m going to evict you from my uterus!”
So, did it work?
A few days later, Kayleigh gave birth to a healthy baby boy. It seems to have done the trick.
Are you curious if curb walking for labor can help you too? Read on and find out!
Table of Content
What is curb walking?
Curb walking is about as descriptive a term as there is, and it’s just what the name implies. You walk on a curb, only with one foot on the curb and one foot on the normal ground.
Why would you curb walk?
The intention of curb walking is to move your baby farther down in your pelvis. Once that happens, the baby applies greater pressure on your cervix. That increase in pressure releases oxytocin, which can help trigger contractions or keep contractions progressing when labor has already begun.
How does curb walking induce labor?
Curb walking can induce labor naturally, though if you’re not ready to go into labor, it’s not going to help. Also, if you are preterm or at risk of going into labor early, it’s best to avoid anything that could potentially induce labor.
And even if you are full-term, it really is a good idea to ask your doctor about curb walking first. Depending on your own specific situation, they may give you the go-ahead to go for it or tell you to take it easy.
When you’ve already begun dilating and effacing, your body may need a little push to get things rolling. For those with contractions that have already started, doing a little curb walking can be helpful.
However, be forewarned that labor is exhausting! I can tell you this because I was in labor with my eldest for close to 24 hours before I had to go in for an emergency c-section. Labor is like the worst bootcamp class you have ever endured, times 1,000. You need to prepare for it like a marathon, not a sprint, so that you can keep your energy up.
What about regular walking?
I’m so glad you asked! Walking the regular way is a great idea in the weeks leading up to your due date, as long as your doctor doesn’t have you on bed rest or anything. Walking is a great exercise that prepares your muscles and your whole body for birth.
It can also naturally coax your baby to move deeper into the pelvis and prep you for the main event. So, if you know, you’re not too close to things and want to prime yourself, just taking a simple walk can help.
How to do curb walking while pregnant
Ok, so let’s assume you’ve checked with your doctor, and they have encouraged curb walking. How do you do it?
It’s really quite simple…
- Put on good shoes. Like sneakers or whatever fits at this point, something that will cushion your feet.
- Put one foot up on the curb. The other stays on flat ground.
Because you’re creating an uneven gait, you are opening up your pelvis more and giving the baby the room they need to descend. As that happens, more pressure will apply to the cervix and should lead to dilation and effacement.
You can start on a normal walk and then, in the end, do 10 minutes in the curb walking style. It’s also a good idea to go in both directions so you alternate legs, but if one feels more comfortable than the other, you can just stay on that side.
What if there aren’t any curbs near me?
Not every neighborhood is blessed with a bounty of curbs. So, do you have to miss out on curb walking for labor if there are no curbs? Or drive to a curbed place? NO!
There are others ways to recreate this movement. You can try any of the following:
Take the stairs
If you have stairs in your home or outside of it, even a small staircase, you can simply go up and down them. This action also opens up your pelvis with that uneven walk.
Grab a high heel shoe
Assuming your feet didn’t swell up to ham hocks as mine did during my pregnancies, you can take one high heel shoe from a pair and put it on. On the other foot, wear a flat style. This will create uneven height like the curb does, though it is a far less stable method than the stairs. I recommend holding onto a railing or something as you do this to be safe and prevent a fall.
Use a step stool
A step stool or even those steppers you get for aerobics, if you have one, will work in a pinch too. Just step up and then down again and again like you were taking the stairs.
A final word of advice…
As you near the end of your pregnancy, you may start to notice your balance is a bit off kilter. For someone clumsy like me, it only made my lack of balance more pronounced. So to that end, go with your husband, a friend, your mom, dad, or in-laws. And if you’re alone, please use a railing to steady yourself, so you don’t fall over!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs. She loves eating too much sushi, exercise, and jamming out on her Fender.