The big day is here! You’re starting to feel contractions everywhere and siren alarms are going off in your brain; your little one finally wants to enter the world you live in. As mothers, we don’t necessarily have much preparation when it comes to pregnancy other than the reliance of others that have gone through the journey before, pregnancy articles (like ours!) and interesting documentaries we’ve come across from time-to-time.
Motherhood requires less preparation and more time to learn new things as we go and we sometimes forget that following what’s written in books may not be the best approach. You’re counting down the days until your little boy or girl arrives but not sure what the breathing techniques are for labour. But let’s be real here, who really does? If you’re one of the lucky ones about to give birth, this article will help you nail the basic breathing techniques you need to know for labour.
Simple Breathing Techniques
When it comes to simple breathing techniques, it’s important to keep calm and relaxed while breathing. Depending on the intensity of contractions, you want to be able to adjust accordingly by taking on board techniques that will help you breathe at a normal pace. During labour, you may feel stressed at the lack of support you’re receiving. As long as you find ways to help you feel calm and collected, breathing in-and-out in a relaxed manner will come out naturally.
Here are some ways to adjust your breathing levels normally while in labour:
- When you’re breathing, try and breathe in through your nose and out of your mouth. It may be helpful to make sounds while breathing. For example, your “oooooooh”s or “aaaaaah”s. In-between contractions, make sure you have a cup of water nearby to prevent you from having a dry mouth.
- Following ‘counted breathing’ is another simple technique to use during contractions. When you’re breathing in, hold your breath and count to three, as you breathe out, count to three again. With this technique, you’ll find it can help you structure the pace of your breathing especially if stress levels are on a high.
- Think of the word ‘relax’. When breathing in, think of the syllable ‘re’ to yourself. When you’re breathing out, let go and think ‘laaaaax’. In this way, you’ll be able to draw out any stress and nervousness related to the contractions you’re having.
In the course of labour, you will start to experience pain so implementing simple breathing techniques aren’t enough to sustain you from the stress of giving birth. When it comes to that point, you should keep in mind these tips:
- Having your birth partner there to help you breathe is one way to keep your mind off the pain. With their support, you’ll be able to do breathing exercises together. It’s a huge advantage if you took birthing classes together to help prepare for the big day.
- When you’re feeling tired due to the irregular breathing from labour, make sure your birth partner is there to hold your hand and encourage you even when the going get’s tough. Not only will you feel more grounded and calm, you’ll feel lucky to know that you’re not doing this alone.
- Do a lot of practise when it comes to co-breathing with your partner. It helps doing some preparation before the event of the birth.
- When you reach the second stage of labour, get ready to push out your baby in no time. By this stage, your contractions will become much more intense so when you feel urges to push a couple of times, follow the way your body reacts.
- Avoid holding your breath and having your chin against your chest when pushing your baby out. This can potentially damage your pelvic floor and it might leave you with long-term bladder problems.
What if I’ve taken an epidural?
If you’ve taken an epidural, make sure you wait at least an hour from the time you are fully dilated before you start pushing your baby out. Remain calm during this process and listen to your midwife when they start telling you to push. They will let you know if the contractions are happening. Remember to take a number of breaths and push each time.
Overall, giving birth is one of the most precious moments you’ll share with your family. Even though the process of giving birth isn’t a painless method, remember that those hours of pain will lead to decades worth of happiness and fulfillment in your life. One of the best feelings in the world is finally holding your baby in your arms after nine long months. Hold on to that fact.