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Birth breathing methods are frequently overlooked as a vital part of the birthing preparation.

The Hypnobirthing course teaches women the correct breathing techniques for each stage of childbirth.

Essential element of breathing is obvious. We realise that we can live without food or water for quite some time, yet we can’t live more than a few minutes without taking a breath.

healthy method of birth breathingResearch also suggests that focused breathing promotes the release of pain relieving endorphins. These hormones are necessary for a more calm and comfortable childbirth.

Focused breathing helps to create a safe space for a pregnant mum to calmly participate in the wonderful experience of childbirth. As the birth unfolds, your breath can reconnect you with the natural ebb and flow of your body and surrender to the natural process.

Breathing instructions for each stage of birth

  • Between contractions – breathe IN through the nose (at a medium pace) to a count of four (4). And breathe OUT through the nose to a count of eight (8). This breath is relaxed, gentle and flowing freely. The out breath, being longer, allows the body to disperse carbon dioxide and stale air out of the lungs. This resting phase of breathing, between contractions, helps a pregnant mum to remain deeply relaxed. As a result to also rejuvenate her energy, in preparation for the next contraction or “surge” as it is known in Hypnobirthing.
  • During contractions – the breath is intended to fill your abdomen and lungs, just like filling a balloon. But the pace of the counting is very fast. So, on the IN breath you count quickly to twenty (20). Filling up as much as you can into your abdomen then into the lungs. On the OUT breath you also count to twenty (20), counting at the same quick pace while you deflate the abdomen like a balloon. This style of deep breathing is effective in releasing muscular tension and in reducing discomfort of a contraction. You will (most of the time) need to do two or three breaths like this, over each contraction until it subsides. At the peak of your labour each contraction lasts just over a minute. Contractions are a lot shorter at the beginning. This balloon breathing (20 IN and 20 OUT breathing) helps to eliminate toxin build-up. During resting phase, between contractions, go back to breathing as already described above for between contractions. Breathing empowers a woman to fully participate in her birth experience, feeling calm and in control.
  • During crowning and pushing phase, as the baby descends you will get the urge to push. During this stage you contractions change and the breathing changes. On the IN breath (without counting), take a good strong breath in, fill up your lungs as much as you can, as quickly as you can. Then on the OUT breath, slow the breath right down. Steadily and strongly send the breath energy downward into your pelvis. while in the pushing phase you will need to do three or four of these breaths, until the pressure of the contraction subsides. This type of directed breathing will help a woman to breathe her baby into the world, free of stress and strain. The old method of holding your breath and purple pushing is obsolete. Replaced with a focused, controlled breath that eliminates muscular and physical tension or trauma. During resting phase between contractions, go back to breathing as already described above for between contractions. Breathing your baby into the world lovingly and purposefully, provides a peaceful welcome for your baby. Most mums experience a sense of relief after childbirth and in many cases this may be accompanied by elation and peacefulness.

Benefits of focused breathing?

  1. Overcoming tension and resistance during birth
  2. Surrendering rather than resisting contractions
  3. Breathing down rather than pushing
  4. A steady release of opiates/endorphins, the natural pain relieving hormones and chemistry
  5. Enriched experience of being in the present moment
  6. More peace and calm, less stress as you move through each stage of birth
  7. Empowerment to create the kind of birth you want
  8. Enhanced physical well-being and quick recovery
  9. Loving participation in bringing your baby into the world

Why is correct breathing essential in childbirth?

The breath is a vital part of our existence and a major source of energy. Eastern cultures have always understood the power of the breath and call it ‘chi’ or ‘prana’. The natural state of breathing is relaxed, rhythmic, flowing, and open.

Poor breathing habits are characterised by short, shallow irregular breaths. Shallow breathing creates internal stress, confusion, tension and lack of energy.

Learning how to breathe correctly during pregnancy and birth increases the flow of oxygen and ‘feel good’ hormones in your body. The importance of the breath is very rarely contemplated in the Western world.

Unless we are made aware of our breathing, we go through life breathing unconsciously not even fully filling the lungs.

Birth breathing takes practice, because many of us have never done it this way before. It’s important to spend time being aware of your breathing and realising just how much air you are taking in, as well as the importance of fully breathing out.

Research suggests that focused breathing promotes the release of hormones necessary for a far more comfortable childbirth.

When a mother is properly prepared mentally, physically and spiritually she can give birth to her baby in a way that is calm, nurturing and empowering.

Breathing is just one aspect of hypnobirthing birth preparation; read more about what women report experiencing during the birth of their baby.

Another interesting article, well worth reading is Breathe away pain – Psychology today, it highlights the advantages of combining mindfulness and breathing to help diminish pain.

If you have any further questions about hypnosis for childbirth, please feel free to contact Katherine Ferris, a Hypnotherapist and Hypnobirthing Practitioner in Sydney CBD and Annandale. Phone today 02 9568 6801