February 4, 2022

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:

  • Relax your face and lips
  • Close your eyes
  • Focus on your breath
  • Breath in slowly through your nose, quick pause
  • Breath out slowly through your mouth

During contractions stage 2 – Managing Pain:

  • Deep inhale through you nose or mouth
  • Active forced exhale through your mouth until all the air is out– here you can make sounds if you want

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.

  • Quick inhale through your mouth
  • Chin closer to your neck
  • Direct force down by holding your breath
  • Exhale through your mouth, slowly

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.


Phone: (778) 990-0300

Call now


406- 1200 Burrard Street
Vancouver BC, V6Z 2C7

Get directions