You know how, when you go for a run, or do any vigorous exercise (Can’t say I relate…) your heart rate increases, you take deeper breaths, you begin to sweat, you feel like you are working hard. These are all compensatory methods to help your body adjust to the exercise you are doing.
Increased heart rate to pump blood and oxygen to your muscles that are being exerted upon, as they need more energy to keep going.
Breathing faster and more deeply, to get the oxygen in and by products out.
Sweating to cool yourself down.
Having a drink to hydrate your cells, and replace the fluid being lost from sweating.
Eating to replace the used up energy.
Labour and birth are exactly the same as any marathon in terms of the way the muscles function and use up oxygen, blood and energy. However, in response to potential discomfort, we always hold our breath and this can make the discomfort worse, leaving you in a vicious cycle! Your body will have a freak out if you are not getting sufficient oxygen to your muscles and your baby.
There are many breathing techniques out there and we teach two main ones here at The Little Birth Company. Practicing these will work wonders for keeping you calm and letting your body function as nature intended, but the main thing is that you remember to breathe! This doesn’t mean holding your breath for 30 seconds and then hyperventilating, it means keeping a regular breath throughout. Practice really does make perfect, which is why our hypnobirthing classes are perfect for keeping breathing in the forefront of your mind.
Here are our top tips for breathing during labour!
Practice during pregnancy – do it daily, even a couple of minutes of deep breathing will program your body and mind to make this your normal
Get your birth partner on board – having someone breathe with you, who knows your technique and you have practiced with previously will work wonders. It will also help them to remain calm!
Use gas and air (entonox) – if you are going to get some medical relief from your discomfort in the process of breathing, it can be a motivation to do so
Visualise – if you can close your eyes and visualise a calm wave rolling in and out, or another visualisation which you like, it will give you a focus
Listen to relaxation audio or someone talking you through a breathing technique
If you would like to find one of your local instructors and learn more about all things breathing and hypnobirthing, click here. If you want to join our family of instructors, you can find all the information here.