Breathing techniques for Labour

Breathing techniques for Labour

The use of breathing techniques for labour has long been associated with calmer births and positive birth experiences (NICE guidelines CG190 1.3.9). You can practice a breathing technique to help you relax and focus in labour.

Earlier on, during the animation of birthing your baby, we discussed, how if you are breathing slowly and in a calm manner this helps to provide your uterus with all the oxygen it needs. In turn, this oxygen supply is also providing your baby with all the oxygen it needs. This process also allows your body to work at removing the by-products that are not needed.

If a breathing rhythm is practised enough, it can become second nature to us, then this breathing can help us remain calm. This technique is sometimes called anchoring. Anchoring involves entering a mindset whereby an action triggers a response that influences the way we respond.  If this anchor is ‘a particular way of breathing helps you feel calm’, then the response is ‘when I breathe this way my body does this’. It’s like a mental reference point.

You may already be doing something like antenatal yoga or mindfulness. Or you may be looking at hypnobirthing breathing techniques for birth. Practising these will certainly benefit you in your pregnancy and during labour.

If you click here, you will be able to download a relaxation technique to practice. This technique can help you to practice full body relaxation and develop your skills of manipulating your breath, to aid relaxation.

Your birth partner, friend or someone else can help you by reading this out to you in a slow calm way, whilst you are pregnant, or you can read through the techniques and close your eyes and try it a little bit at a time.