Breathing Techniques During Labor

breathing techniquesBreathing techniques during the labor and delivery of a baby is one of the most important aspects of the birthing process. Good breathing is beneficial to the mom, as it helps reduce pain, supplies the body with oxygen, and supplies the muscles with oxygen (so that they can handle the contractions better). Good breathing is beneficial to babies, as it gets the oxygen they need to them – labor is hard on a baby, too! When babies are getting enough oxygen, it helps prevent them from going into distress. Fetal distress is one of the main causes for an emergency c-section, or other medical interventions. Stress tends to make one hold their breath, and labor can be stressful, causing anxiety to some mothers. However, holding the breath does more harm than good; and it is very important for a woman in labor to breathe it out, and have someone there to remind her to breathe!

Each stage of labor can benefit from a different style of breathing, as the laboring woman's body is going through different changes at each stage. Breathing during the first stage of labor (beginning and transitional periods) is focused on relaxing, keeping calm, and building optimum oxygenation within mom and baby. A good, deep breathing technique to use is the cleansing breath. The mother should inhale through the nose, while keeping the body relaxed; and then exhale through the mouth, and release any stress, anxiety, and tension she may be having in her body. Slow, paced breaths are good too. They help the mom relax, especially when hit with a hard contraction. Breathing at a pace that is about half of the rate she normally breathes can help with oxygenation, too. Inhaling to a count of four (through the nose), then exhaling to the count of four, is a great pace to set. The infamous pant breath can be good for mom, too.

When mom is pushing, she may have a new energy, as she knows that she will see her baby soon. Breathing at this stage should be at a comfortable pace for the mother. Just as long as the breath is not being held, it should be okay. The cleansing breath is excellent for this stage in labor, as it gives the baby a boost, and mom the energy she needs to push effectively. A mother usually tires easily during the pushing stage, so it is very important to remind her how to breathe effectively for more energy.

It is a good idea for the mom and her partner to practice breathing techniques, before labor and delivery begins. Try practicing at a time when she is feeling particularly stressed. This will help her to see which breathing technique helps dissipate the stress the fastest.

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Breathing Techniques During Labor

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27 comments

  1. I agree with @HappyAuntie213 but I’ll start practicing later today

  2. Jblair12 says:

    Good article, wish it had more details about the various techniques

  3. I want to take classes that help me breath. I know that it is difficult to do it while you are in pain however, I would like to learn.

  4. MrsPearson says:

    Im glad i found this i been looking on every baby pregnancy website to try an prepare in different ways just in case!

  5. Aiden says:

    Good info, gonna need it

  6. Holly says:

    great info wish i would have known this when i had my baby girl.

  7. stephany says:

    its nice to know a lil more, since ill be due in may and this definitely helped out alot,for those on the same level this is good advice,to me atleast!

  8. MamaCat says:

    It does help. Gives you something to concentrate on. And it helps if your support person is good at keeping you focused like my husband was. I had a natural birth even though that wasn’t my plan and I’d do it again. Best of luck!

  9. MamaCat says:

    Great information. I didn’t realize how important breathing was during labor until that was my only choice for something to concentrate on to relieve the pain.

  10. katherine says:

    Really helpful article!

  11. Stephanie says:

    I hope I keep this in mind because once in labor you seem to forget every technique you try and take in

  12. verochka31 says:

    great article!! helpful.

  13. Pennier81 says:

    I want to do it natural this time and hope that breathing right really helps!

  14. Great idea! We’ll add it to our idea bank and can hopefully create something like that!

  15. Joy says:

    It would be nice to see a longer article or maybe a video with more info on breathing.

  16. Anber says:

    I hope that works. I am really scared:(

  17. sej518 says:

    Breathing deeply into your abdomen is best. Which basically just means, when you take a breath in, you should see your stomach rise and not your chest. And breathing in for 4 counts and out for 8 is more relaxing. I have a panic disorder and was tought that this way of breathing is far more relaxing and gets the deepest breath possible. And it turns out the exhale is what actually helps you relax more than the inhale, which is why you want the exhale to be longer.

  18. One that helps me calm down through the mood swings is pretty simple. Breathe deep until you can feel it in your belly, hold for just a second or two and exhale slowly. It also helps if you imagine a smile sticker or just something that makes you happy while you do it (LIKE CHOCOLATE OR ICECREAM )

  19. That was interesting!

  20. Julie says:

    Glad to finally see an article on breathing. I have been wondering how to breath through the contractions. I will try the 4 seconds in and 4 seconds out.

  21. Anna says:

    Are there any specific breathing exercises that one can practice?

  22. Sasoo says:

    Hoping I’ll remember to breathe!!!

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