I am pumped to write this article about the Miles Circuit to induce labor. These stretches might start your labor. The Miles Circuit is a win because it helps your baby engage; it can kick start labor that has slowed down or stalled, speed up your labor, get you out of prodromal labor, and prepare your body for birth. WIN!
If you hang out with me on Instagram, then you know I am all about how you can prepare your body for labor, including the Miles Circuit. It's one of my top go-tos “get birth ready” tips for pregnant moms in my membership because it is powerful, and YOU CONTROL IT!
Why I am here and who I am:
Hey mama, I am Trish— AKA Labor Nurse Mama. I am a labor and delivery nurse with over 15 years of high-risk OB experience. I am also a mama to 7 kids and have given birth to 6. This means I am quite familiar with the postpartum period and how to navigate it. I am the online birth class educator for Calm Labor Confident Birth and The VBAC Lab birth classes and the mama expert inside our Calm Mama Society, a pregnancy & postpartum membership community! I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey! You can find me over on IG teaching over 230k mamas daily. I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey!
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What is the Miles Circuit?
The Miles Circuit was created by a doula named Megan Miles when she shared it with another doula, Sharon Muza. She has a Miles Circuit website dedicated to all things miles circuit and a great handout we love and share with our online birth class students. Megan created the Miles Circuit for her clients who were in labor and seemingly had stalled, not necessarily doing the miles circuit to induce labor. But it can work for both!
The Miles Circuit is powerful for helping to get your baby in an optimal position which is perfect for inducing labor and stalled labor. A baby in the correct position, head down and ideally the left occiput anterior or LOA position, is part of the key components of labor starting.
When Should You Start Using the Miles Circuit during Pregnancy?
I understand you are ready to do anything to induce labor at the end of pregnancy. However, it is not recommended that you do the Miles Circuit to induce labor until you're 37 weeks pregnant, continuing until after your due date. Now I say to induce labor lightly because if you know me, then you know I say it takes a lot unless your body is ready.
If you want to do something during pregnancy that can help prepare your body for birth, I suggest prenatal yoga (We have an excellent prenatal workshop recording in our membership free to our members) or check out spinning babies for ideas.
How to do the Miles Circuit?
The Miles Circuit is a series of 3 exercises (remember the goal of these exercises is to get baby into optimal positioning) that you should eventually do 30 minutes each exercise and a total of 90 minutes daily. It is best to start by doing each one for at least ten minutes and build to 30 minutes, but you do you. Many of the students in our childbirth classes go all in from the start. (Wanting to get the baby out can make you crazy!)
Insider tips before starting the circuit:
- Wear comfortable clothing that allows movement; think yoga pants!
- Create a peaceful environment.
- Empty that bladder, mama (a full bladder can block the baby from engaging lower in the pelvis, which needs to happen to allow the baby's head to put pressure on the cervix, starting the labor cycle).
- Grab lots of pillows.
- Have a yoga mat or carpeted floor for the floor positions.
- Be near your bed.
Step 1: Open Knee Chest
The first position in the Miles Circuit is the open knee chest position. I love this position for back pain, so keep that in mind! The first move in the Miles Circuit encourages the muscles in your pelvic floor, ligaments, and tissues attached to your uterus to stretch out. These tight muscles, tissues, and ligaments often can keep the baby from getting into the proper birth position. A malpositioned baby can throw a wrench into your birth. The miles circuit induces labor by helping all the wonderful labor hormones kick in when we get that baby into a proper position.
Ok, grab your yoga mat, and let's start:
- Get down on all fours
- Lower yourself onto your elbows
- Next, Keep your booty up in the air as high as possible
- I like to add pillows around you and under you to keep you in the proper position
- Stay in this position for as long as possible but at least 10-30 minutes
- Pillows to cushion that large belly, aka uterus
- Your partner can use a rebozo to help you properly position and stay that way.
- After you finish, move slowly into a kneeling position for a few minutes to help the baby drop back down and for you to get your balance back before moving into a more upright position.
Step 2: Exaggerated left Side-Lying
Here's where the bed comes in! I prefer the bed for this, although many practitioners use a cushioned massage table for this second move. This position is powerful (read more about doing this during labor) for opening up the pelvis. It is also great for getting the baby into the best birth position. Quiz time? Which position is this? LOA!
Again, grab those pillows and do this:
- Lay down on your back.
- Roll to your left side.
- Extend your right leg out by 90 degrees.
- Place pillows under your right leg to be higher than your hip.
- Stay in this position for at least 10 but ideally 30 minutes.
- If you want to nap, go ahead, this is a very comfortable position.
- We do it on the left side because this encourages your little one to get into the left occiput anterior position. LOA is best because the baby's back is aligned perfectly with its back to your front and its torso to your back. This allows baby to tuck its chin and move down and out easier.
Step 3: Lunges or Curb Walking
The next step in the Miles Circuit is a double benefit, like the nap in step 2. Not only is this one of the ways we use the miles circuit to induce labor, but it is also great for daily exercise.
Again not a difficult step but a powerful one. Lunges, stair or curb walking, serve to open your pelvis. An open pelvis is best to allow the baby to move into it properly.
So here's how to do step 3 (choose one of the following):
- Curb walking: You can do curb walking two ways, depending on the weather. Preferably the weather is ok, and you can head outside to a safe street and use your curb—step one foot on the curb and one foot on the street. Do one direction for half the time and switch to the other for the remaining time.
- Lunges: You can do these in your house. You do not want to do regular lunges because they close the pelvis. The lunges used for the Miles Circuit are done facing sideways. Don't go pro; think simple stretch and watch your balance.
- Stair climbing: Also done facing sideways! Take 2 stairs at a time going up sideways.
- Do one of the above for 10-30 minutes daily as step three after the previous steps. You may need to build tolerance.
If you have pain issues like knees or hip problems, sit on a yoga or birthing ball and do hip circles.
(For more tips to prepare your body, listen to this episode of The Birth Experience!
Does the Miles Circuit Induce Labor?
I know this is what you have been wondering all along. The answer is yes; it can induce labor. But it is not a quick fix. Your body needs to be ready for labor.
The key components for labor to start (even when it's a medical induction):
Baby's position: The baby needs to engage, which means they drop into your levis and put pressure on your cervix.
The pressure on the cervix sends a message to your brain to start producing oxytocin, releasing prostaglandin, which softens the cervix. The oxytocin starts those magical uterine contractions which cause your cervix to dilate.
By doing the Miles circuit to induce labor, you are helping this natural process along. I suggest adding other natural labor induction methods after 40 weeks or before your medical induction is scheduled. Check out this article about the Midwives brew (featuring castor oil and nipple stimulation); beware, side effects can cause nausea and diarrhea. Fun times!
Can the Miles Circuit help Prodromal Labor?
Heck yes!!! Prodromal is a beast. If you have experienced prodromal labor, then you feel my pain. Prodromal labor is when your labor starts and stops driving you insane. It is an early labor sign that birth is coming but can last for weeks.
Many of my students and members experience it like this:
Contractions start in the evening and continue regularly coming all night; when she wonders if this is actual labor, the sun rises and stops! The next evening, it starts again and stops in the morning. This continues for weeks. By doing the miles circuit, you can kick your body out of this prodromal pattern when the baby is in the best position.
How Long After The Miles Circuit Did Labor Start?
You might be asking this question! I want to encourage you that labor will start when it is best for you and the baby. Trust your body and believe in its power. The Miles circuit to induce labor only works if labor is coming soon. Nothing short of hell or high water can get a body going that isn't ready. However, if your body is ripe and ready, the good news is that labor could start very soon by doing the three steps of the steps in the circuit.
What about The Miles Circuit During Labor?
The exaggerated side-lying position (release) is one of my favorite go-to moves for my labor patients when they are in labor but not making cervical changes. It can help a stalled labor kick back into gear in no time. If you are in labor and your labor progression has stalled, bust out the 3 steps we just learned and get cracking. Obviously, you won't be able to do curb walking, but you can do side lunges all over that labor and delivery room.
Can the miles Circuit Turn a Breech, baby?
A malpositioned baby is a thorn in your labor. We want the baby to be correctly positioned, as it makes it all go smoother. As far as I have learned, the miles circuit is not contraindicated, but I prefer you do the forward-leaning inversion in pregnancy (here is a video) to turn the baby. Check out this blog, which is all about breech babies.
Who shouldn't do The Miles Circuit to Induce Labor?
Most of you are perfectly fine doing the Miles circuit. However, if you have high blood pressure or some other high-risk diagnosis, I suggest you speak to your provider before doing step 3 in particular. Also, do not do it before 37 weeks to be on the safe side, especially for those of you at risk for preterm labor.
It is always empowering to take control and do something in your power to get your beautiful body ready for birth. I loved doing the Miles Circuit when I was pregnant with Greyson. I have had 2 breech babies (that turned in one way or the other), and Greyson was my last of 7 and did not go breech! That was a massive win for me. Don't forget to learn how to labor; knowing the correct movement is key!!
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