Is there a certain way to lay during sleep to induce labor? There are things you can do help baby find their best position in your pelvis, but will it make you go into labor?
Hi, I’m Hilary — The Pregnancy Nurse. I’ve been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of bedside labor and delivery experience. I’ve spent a LOT of time positioning patients and I am excited to share with you guys the best ways to position your body to go into labor.
How should I sleep to induce labor?
While there aren’t particularly ways to sleep that will start contractions, there is a way that can help relax your hips and may help baby turn into a good position for delivery. It is called Sims position — usually termed left sims or right sims.
In this position you lay on your side, almost onto your belly and then pull one leg up and put it on a stack of pillows. Your underlying shoulder can be directly under you, or your can pull it back to stretch-out your chest and/or back a bit. Try to get as comfortable as you can in this position.
You can do it either on your left or on your right side. It looks similar to this:
We often use this position in labor to help baby turn in labor. Patients love what it does for their hips and it often helps baby turn, and possibly let labor progress more quickly. Many patients love this position throughout their third trimester
Remember: You aren’t laying directly on your belly, just on your side tilted a bit towards your belly, but pressure should be on your side, not on your belly. If you have any quesitons in how to get into Sim’s position, do ask your provider to help you.
What sleeping positions help you dilate?
The main thing that helps with cervical dilation is contractions, and baby’s head pushing further into your pelvis — placing pressure on the cervix to open it up.
How can I dilate my cervix faster in bed?
As I mentioned above you want to engage the baby into your pelvis as well as you can.
Some people believe that penetrative sex can help you dilate, although studies seem mixed on it. The most valid information is about having sex multiple times may decrease your need for an induction, but just once hasn’t been studied.
What positions help you go into labor faster?
The main things that can help you go into labor faster:
- Feel more comfortable with the idea of going into labor — getting prepared can help that.
- The baby is ready — you can’t control this aspect, and normally takes 40’ish weeks for this to happen.
- Your uterus and cervix is ripe and ready for labor — most often that just takes time.
In order to let oxytocin flow, the more comfortable you are the better it flows. Remember oxytocin is the love hormone, so being in a happy place will help that. I have a whole post on ways to let oxytocin flow.
Does lying down slow dilation?
You can go into labor while you are sleeping. Some people may feel contractions slow or stop when they lay down, but most often those are “true labor” contractions.
Those contractions may pick-up at any point. Sleep is important for you to have the energy to have your baby!
Can you start to dilate overnight?
Yes! Often people will dilate as they relax and get some good rest. Sleeping in positions that help open your hips can aid in that in some cases.
What else can I do to go into labor?
Remember, you shouldn’t be considering inducing your labor prior to 37 weeks. Please do talk with your doctor about the ways you want to use to possibly go into labor as you get closer to your due date so they can tell you the risks and the benefits for yourself.
I have a whole pamphlet called “Going Into Labor Made Easy” where I share my best tips on going into labor, but I’ll share a few of my favorite ways to help induce labor here:
Curb walking before bed – This is just like it sounds. One foot is up on the curb, and one is in the gutter area, and you walk. The action of adjusting your pelvis as you walk can help to open your pelvis in a way that helps baby descend.
Nipple Stimulation is shown to start contractions. However, it doesn’t always kick you into labor on your own — meaning baby may not be dilating your cervix — you’re just having unprofitable uterine contractions.
Rotate on a birthing ball — Sitting on a birthing ball (or exercise ball) during your last trimester may feel good. Often it can help you stretch your hips and back vs your regular seated position. Just move your pelvic region in circles or figure eights on top of the yoga ball.
Ask your doctor or midwife to strip your membranes — This is where they stick their finger between the cervix and the bag of waters and “ring” around it. It’s believed to both irritate the uterus into contracting and possibly stirring up some hormones in that area.
Things I don’t recommend to go into labor:
In general most of my patients have regretted using castor oil because of how sick it makes their stomach.
People haven’t found that spicy food or eggplant parmesan can put you into labor.
Bouncing on an exercise ball will just make your ligaments hurt, doesn’t really do much to help baby to move into your pelvis.
Remember: Being in pain and being in labor are two different things. Often people seem to mix those up. Pain alone will not help progress the baby’s head towards the birth canal.
Best Birthing Positions
While positions to “go into labor” are different than when you’re actually in labor I am a HUGE fan of movement during labor. In fact, when you aren’t asleep I encourage you to change positions every 30 minutes so baby can find their best way out.
This is why I have a variety of labor movement cards included with The Online Prenatal Class for Couples Bump to Bassinet Bundle. Movement is mis-understood in the labor process, and I want to help you understand how to use it best (and how your partner can support you!
And, if you’re not quite sure you’re ready for that whole thing, check out my free prenatal class. It’s your first step toward getting in the driver’s seat of your birth.
- About the Author
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A nurse since 1997, she has worked in various fields including pediatrics, geriatrics & hospice.
She has 20 years of labor and delivery experience in the San Jose, CA and Phoenix, AZ areas.
She is also the curly head behind the website Pulling Curls and is the creator of The Online Prenatal Class for Couples — the #1 hospital-based prenatal class on the internet.