Thanks to Lamaze, breathing patterns and techniques for labour have become something of an old joke but that doesn’t make breathing techniques any less useful for managing the intensity of labour.
A slow and steady breathing pattern with help your body stay relaxed, give your baby the oxygen needed during contractions, creates a focal point and signals your support people that a contraction is beginning or building.
There are many ways that you and a professional support person, such as a Labour Doula, can work together to utilize different breathing patterns during labour.
At the beginning of each contraction a long deep breath helps set the tone for the rush. Visualize yourself breathing in relaxation and strength, while breathing out tension and fear. Your doula reminds you to take this breath, letting others in the room know it’s time to pause for a contraction before focusing her energy on you and your partner.
Following the initial breath, you’re encouraged to breathe deeply and rhythmically. I often say things like “Nice and deep. Bring that air all the way down to your baby.”. Your doula reminds you of any visualization you have discussed previously or may even vocalize with you.
At the end of the contraction a nice deep breath helps you to let it go. I like to remind clients to “blow it away”.
Depending on what stage of labour you’re in or how you’re feeling at any given point, once you’ve let go of the rush it’s a good time to have a few sips of water, work on releasing any tensions that is lingering, and take the opportunity to move freely.
Combined with visualization, steady and rhythmic breathing is an excellent tool for your labour management toolkit!
Contact Chinook City Doulas today to learn more about how we help our clients achieve their goals for birth and parenting.