Breathing techniques for labour don’t sound as sexy as a Lamborghini, but they can help you manage your birth experience better, resulting in fewer interventions. If you’re pregnant and are preparing for childbirth, you might want to try a few breathing exercises.
Breathing is an important part of every stage of labour. Here are some essential breathing techniques for labour, so you know how to breathe through the pain and feel confident in the delivery room.
What Is Breathing During Labour
During labour, your body releases oxytocin, a hormone that causes contractions of your uterus. Oxytocin also causes your cervix to dilate (or open), which allows your baby to be born.
When a woman has contractions during labour, she may feel like she needs to push her baby out of her body. While it’s normal for women to feel this urge to push, it’s also normal for them not to feel it during their labours.
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Does Breathing Help in Labour
While many believe that breathing helps in labour, this is not the case. Breathing, in and of itself, does not help with pain relief. Instead, it helps to control stress levels and anxiety.
Breathing exercises are used to control pain and anxiety during labour. These exercises are done in a relaxed environment with a trained professional or partner beside you. They focus on the diaphragm and abdomen, helping you learn how to relax these areas while breathing deeply.
You will also learn how to breathe through your contractions so that your muscles do not tense up as much during labour. This can help reduce the amount of pain you experience during childbirth.
The goal of these breathing techniques is not necessarily to relieve pain; instead, they allow women to stay calm while they are in active labour, which helps reduce stress levels and allows them to focus on relaxing instead of worrying about their pain levels or rushing through things without taking time for themselves first.
One thing that should be noted about these methods is that they may not work for everyone; some people prefer other kinds of treatments such as epidurals or medications because they feel more comfortable using them.
How to Breathe While in Labour
There’s a lot to do in the days leading up to your birth, but don’t forget about something more important: learning to breathe.
You might feel like you can’t take a deep breath during labour. But that’s not true—you can! You just have to know how.
Breathing is one of the essential things we do every day, so it’s easy to take it for granted. But when you’re in labour, breathing can make all the difference between having an amazing experience and feeling like you might pass out from exhaustion.
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Here are some tips for breathing while in labour:
- Don’t think about your breath as something you have to do or force yourself into doing it—think of it as something that happens automatically when you need it!
- Have your partner or other support person remind you to breathe through each contraction by saying things like “breathe in” or “breathe out” while they massage your back or shoulders during contractions (that will help get your body into rhythm).
- Inhale through your nose, hold your breath and exhale slowly through your mouth. This will help you stay calm and relaxed.
- Repeat this cycle, inhaling through your nose, holding your breath and exhaling slowly through your mouth for 10 seconds.
- As you get closer to the end of each cycle, make each inhale shorter than the last one until it is only one second long, then holds for 10 seconds before exhaling for 10 seconds and repeat the process until you are ready to push.
What Are the Best Breathing Techniques for Labour
Breathing is one of the most important things you can do during labour. It’s also one of the most difficult, so we’ve put together a few tips to help you breathe better and be more comfortable as you go through this process.
There are many different ways to breathe during labour. Find what works best for you!
Upper chest breathing
This involves deep inhales and exhales through your nose. Your shoulders should be relaxed, and your upper back should stay in contact with the bed or chair.
This involves taking slow, deep breaths into your abdomen while keeping your shoulders relaxed and slightly raised from their normal position (but not raised too high!). As you breathe in, imagine that there is something heavy sitting on top of your stomach—this will help you relax into the sensation of filling up with air.
This technique involves taking deep breaths through the nose and mouth. When you breathe out, make sure that your lips are rounded and let go of any tension in your face, neck, shoulders and chest area. The exhale should be longer than the inhale. You should repeat this exercise as often as necessary until you feel relaxed again.
Hypnobirthing Breathing Techniques
Hypnobirthing uses self-hypnosis, guided imagery and special breathing techniques
Hypnobirthing breathing techniques help you stay calm and in control during your birthing experience. They can be used as a tool for relaxation or to manage pain by helping you focus on your body’s natural ability to give birth.
The three most common hypnobirthing breathing techniques are:
This type of breathing is designed to help you relax by sending oxygen more deeply into your body, which helps relieve stress and anxiety. It also helps the uterus contract, making it easier for you to push during labour.
Breath holds can help manage pain by distracting yourself from the sensation of pain. You can do this by concentrating on holding your breath for up to five seconds at a time. The longer you hold your breath, the more effectively it distracts you from pain.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
This technique is similar to diaphragmatic breathing but involves inhaling through one nostril at a time rather than both simultaneously (which would result in hyperventilation). When done correctly, it can help relax and manage pain during labour because it sends healing energy to the reproductive system.
Lamaze Breathing During Labour
Lamaze-style breathing exercises can help women manage their pain during labour by helping them relax their muscles, and reducing their perception of pain. This technique is especially effective for first-time mothers because it’s easy to learn and doesn’t require expensive equipment.
How Do You Breathe During Contractions
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During contractions, breathing in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth will help keep your mind clear and focused on getting through each contraction painlessly without worrying about anything else except getting through them one at a time until your baby arrives safely into their arms!
Proper Breathing During Labour
Proper breathing is an important part of labour and delivery. Breathing can help you relax, cope with pain, and help your baby get into the best position possible.
There are two ways to breathe during labour: abdominal or chest breathing.
It involves taking deep breaths through your nose and out through your mouth. You should ensure that you’re not holding your breath in but instead incorporating a full exhale each time you breathe. Abdominal breathing can help reduce stress by relaxing the body’s muscles and releasing endorphins (the “happy” hormones).
It involves taking deep breaths through the mouth, which increases oxygen flow throughout the body and helps reduce feelings of anxiety or panic. Chest breathing may also help bring on labour by strengthening uterine contractions and encouraging the baby to descend into your pelvis for birth.
Practising breathing techniques for labour | Image source: iStock
Breathing and Pushing Techniques for Labour
Breathing and pushing techniques can help you manage the pain of labour and make your birth more comfortable. When used correctly, these techniques can help your body work more efficiently during labour and delivery.
When breathing through contractions, you should:
Take slow, deep breaths through your nose and out through your mouth. You may want to try counting slowly as you breathe in and out. Breathing slowly may help you relax a little bit.
Breathing slowly will give you more time between contractions, making them feel farther apart than if you were breathing quickly.
When pushing during active labour: Use slow, steady pressure on the baby’s head (not too hard!), with knees slightly bent and hips lower than shoulders to help prevent back pain from pushing too hard with straight legs.
In between contractions: Relax! Take a break from pushing if possible; let your body rest between contractions to build up energy for the next contraction.
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Breathing Techniques in Labour
Breathing techniques in labour are designed to help you cope with the pain of childbirth. The breathing exercises can also help you relax, making your labour easier to manage. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of breathing techniques in labour:
- You can use them at any time during labour to help relieve pain or stress.
- They don’t require special equipment or training and are easy to learn.
- They don’t have any side effects or known risks associated with their use during labour.
- Some breathing techniques may not work for everyone—some women find that they make their contractions more painful, while others find them helpful for managing pain during labour.
- They may not be appropriate for everyone and can make some women feel worse rather than better.
You need to find a technique that feels comfortable for you so that it doesn’t cause more stress than it relieves; try various techniques until you find one that works well for you!
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