Breathing Techniques For Labour

When we are in a stressful situation, we often forgot to be aware about what is happening within our bodies. The anxieties of the moment keep our minds busy on almost everything but our physiological functions. As a result, those functions often become irregular, leaving us in an unhealthy state of being. When we are in this state we have fewer chances to succeed in whatever we try to accomplish.

Breathing is mainly affected by stress. Proper breathing is essential for sustaining life and cleansing inner body systems. By learning proper breathing techniques, stressful situations may be handled better and overall mental and physical health will be improved.

Relaxing Breathing Techniques Before Labour

During early labour, it is easy to remain relaxed. If you want to practice relaxation techniques, you have to make sure first that your environment is conducive for relaxation as possible: lights are not so bright, relaxation cd is played, no distractions. This is a good time to begin the relaxation as it will help you develop a good pattern that will stay with you as labour becomes more intense.

Ideal breathing rate: The average adult has a resting respiratory rate of 16 breaths per minute. A relaxed adult breathe at about 5 breaths per minute. You can start to practice breathing slowly at a rate of 5-7 breaths per minute. Do not hold your breath! The air exchange should be continuous and relaxed.

Benefits Of Breathing Techniques During Labour

A pregnant woman who follows proper breathing techniques with a pattern or rhythm during her labor, benefits both herself and her baby.
The use of breathing exercises before and after every contraction is important. It is an exaggerated, deep breathing, usually done by breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. The purposes of this breath are to:

  • Allow increased supply of oxygen to the mother and baby.
  • Reduce muscle tension, and promotes emotional relaxation by reducing anxiety. Rhythmic breathing promotes physical relaxation.
  • With the right relaxation breathing, the mother is better equipped to cope with the pain that contractions bring about.
  • Signal you that a contraction is beginning and to remind you to begin concentrating on breathing, focusing, and relaxing.
  • Signal your partner and anyone else assisting with the labor that a contraction is about to begin. They can then offer assistance, such as verbal encouragement.
  • Allow the release of residual tension after a contraction is over.
  • Give your baby a boost of oxygen at the end of the contraction.

Guidelines For Breathing Techniques

Focus on your breathing when you feel the need to relax or can no longer walk or talk through a contraction. Your breathing should be at a comfortable rate and not cause you to feel short of breath or light-headed.

  • Your breathing style should be your own. The key is to have the breathing feel natural, relaxed and even.
  • But to give you an idea on how to do it properly is to practice, breathing in through the nose, and breathing out through the mouth.
  • Think of the word “re-lax” or any words that has two syllables in guiding you when to breathe in and breathe out.
  • You can make a sound such as “pheeew”, while exhaling.
  • A woman in labour, who is inhaling with nose and exhaling with mouth, may find that her mouth and throat have become dry. To avoid that, along with this breathing exercise, a woman should be given water to sip, periodically.
  • Making noises upon breathing out. It can help you to release tension and stress. Don’t be afraid to moan or groan as you breathe out, a lot of women use vocalization during labour and contractions.
  • Try to avoid fast, rapid breathing, as this will tire you and cause you to hyperventilate.

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