How does breathing help in labour?
Rhythmic breathing during labour maximizes the amount of oxygen available to you and your baby. Breathing techniques can also help you cope with the pain of contractions.
During contractions stage 1 – Relaxation:
Deep breathing has a whole host of benefits.
In early labour:
Try belly breathing. As you inhale, expand your belly outward; as you exhale, relax your belly downward. Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out.
In active labour:
During contractions stage 2 – Managing Pain:
During delivery – Pushing stage:
The best way to push is to take in a breath and use it to bear down for five to six seconds. Then gently release the breath and take another.
Note: If you are not yet fully dilated but you feel like you want to push, breathe like a dog instead – short and quick breaths through your mouth. Two short breaths and one deep exhale to let CO2 out.