Breathwork Can Become A Major Tool In Pregnancy And Birth
Most first-time mothers are unaware that breathwork can be a significant help at the time of labor and throughout their pregnancy journey. It is considered an underutilized tool, as many research articles mainly refer to its benefits during labor and birth. Doctors generally advise expecting mothers to continue with exercises and yoga. Breathwork forms a significant part of the exercises recommended to expecting mothers. Most women use these breathing techniques at the early stages of pregnancy to regulate their sleep schedules and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Sanya, a mother of two girls, recalls her first pregnancy experience and says, "I realized the benefits when my partner researched about breathwork and helped me practice during the morning sickness. It was life-saving for me. I preach it to every mom I know!"
The first thing that you hear about breathwork and pregnancy is the Lamaze Breathing Technique. Lamaze is a comprehensive curriculum that teaches confidence and keeps things simple for a safe, healthy birth. Fernand Lamaze, a French obstetrician, championed psycho-prophylaxis, a way of preparing pregnant women with physical and psychological training, in the 1950s. Conscious relaxation and regulated breathing are used as an alternative to medicines to treat contraction discomfort during labor.
Effective breathing cleanses and relaxes the neurological system, inducing a sense of well-being. Both pregnancy and labor benefit from proper breathing techniques. Some breathing exercises can be pretty helpful during pregnancy for both you and your baby. We have tried to curate a list of breathing techniques that can help your journey of welcoming your baby become only better. Read and master this underutilized tool for the future! The only thing that we recommend before you begin to try these techniques is to consult your doctor/ healthcare provider.
Breathing Exercises for First Trimester
For pregnant women, calm breathing techniques are beneficial during morning sickness. It also aids in the treatment of tiredness and muscular and joint discomfort.
Follow these steps to relax:
- Relax your body and shift your focus away from the pain in your stomach and throat.
- Be aware of the ground under you, and the support it provides as all of your body's stress melts away, muscle by muscle, with each breath.
- Breathe deeply and rhythmically through your nose.
- Maintain your focus on the sound and rhythm of your breath.
- Slow down and deepen each breath.
- Be mindful of the air entering and exiting your abdomen.
- Take a power nap if you like, and then prepare to eat a nutritious, filling supper.
Breathing Exercise from your Stomach
Abdominal breathing is the core of every successful fitness session for pregnant women. This type of breathing aids in the expansion of the lungs and more air intake. Belly or diaphragmatic breathing is ideal during pregnancy since it produces approximately three times more oxygen. Practicing breathing exercises during pregnancy helps you modulate your cognitive function and regulate your sleep cycle.
Follow these steps-
- Practice this by lying on the floor with an object on your abdomen.
- Concentrate on the item and move it up and down while you take deep breaths.
- Count a number in your brain as you raise it, and the same as you lower it.
Breathing exercises for labor and birthing process
There is limited proof of the efficacy of non-pharmacological techniques for labor pain reduction. However, research on the usefulness of breathing exercises in pregnant women to lessen mothers' discomfort during childbirth is limited. According to a study conducted by the National Library of Medicine, breathing exercises with deep inhalation and exhalation are efficient in lowering the feeling of labor pain and minimizing the duration of the second stage of contractions in pregnant women.
When labor begins, a slow breathing technique is recommended to breathe through contractions. Contractions might be painful, so it will be difficult for you to communicate now. Experiment with calm breaths, counting to a comfortable number and exhaling while relaxed. When you exhale, make your muscles limp to help you relax.
This technique uses slow breathing with exhalations, sighs, and blows. When your cervix gets dilated, this breathing technique comes into play. Many shallow inhalations, up to 5-6, should be followed by one deep sighing exhale. Take a deep inhale, then curl forward and bear down while holding your breath. Attempt to relax the pelvic floor while bearing down.
Yoga Breathing In Pregnancy
Yoga breathing is a type of deep breathing that is regulated (pranayama). In Sanskrit, "prana" signifies energy, while "ayama" implies energy dispersion. Though most breathing exercises in Yoga are safe, make sure you practice anything new with a certified teacher who has taught pregnant women. When you're pregnant, avoid taking deep, fast, powerful breaths. Doctors do not recommend Bellow's breath (bhastrika) and cleansing breath (kapalabhati) during pregnancy.
Benefits of Breathing Exercises
It is essential to practice the right kind of breathing exercises. While figuring out the techniques, remember to consult your doctor and design exercises, especially for pregnancy.
- These techniques significantly reduce common pregnancy issues by activating the vagus nerve, which aids in morning sickness.
- Through guided breathwork, women have noticed a clearer digestive system and calmness in the body. Breathing through your nose is beneficial for pregnancy. It helps in regulating mood and supports the airway.
- Practicing exercises that do not require holding your breath for long periods is advisable. In case of any discomfort, you should listen to your body.
- Breathing is critical during pregnancy because it guarantees effective waste disposal and an abundant oxygen supply for both the mother and the infant.
- During pregnancy, the mind is frequently overwhelmed with several fears responsible for increasing stress levels and triggering pregnancy difficulties. If stress levels are not regulated, it can harm the fetus and result in miscarriage. The most effective approach to dealing with stress is to avoid it. However, this may not always be possible. You'll be surprised to discover that breathing exercises not only immediately reduce stress levels but also makes you feel more energized to confront the stressor and solve it once and for all!
Our breath has tremendous power. Performing breathing exercises with a conscious mindset can help relieve stress and tension, lower blood pressure, and, according to some studies, even pain, and discomfort. While breathing is an involuntary function of healthy bodies, there are ways we can use it to manage our breathing, de-stress, and increase our sense of well-being.