2 breathing techniques during childbirth
We hear it often: it is important to breathe well during childbirth. It allows you to better manage the pain, to calm down and to oxygenate your muscles (her uterus) and her baby.
But how do we do breathe well? Through the mouth or through the nose? Quick or slow? Are we holding our breath or not? Do we inflate the stomach before or after the lungs? There are several recipes. And you can easily get lost.
For my part, I teach two types of breaths during prenatal classes when Iaccompanies couples at birth. They each have their uses, depending on the stage of the work.
The first type of breathing is deep breathing that aims to relax you mentally and physically (including the cervix). You may be familiar with the expression soft mouth, soft neck? Well, there it is! This is what we are looking for with this breathing during childbirth.
Here's how to do it:
- As soon as you feel a contraction, breathe in deeply through your nose for 4 seconds. Start by inflating the abdomen, then finish with the rib cage.
- Then exhale strongly for 8 seconds, taking care to keep the mouth soft. Some women also make low pitched sounds during exhalation. It calms them down and creates internal vibrations that help the baby to descend. It's excellent.
- Continue in this way for the duration of the contraction and even afterwards. You will have an easier time recovering between waves.
As you breathe in this way, feel free to count the seconds on your fingers or repeat a positive phrase in your head. It will distract your attention from pain and stressors like the sound of the monitor or the comings and goings of the medical team. You will be calm and in control. This is exactly what it takes for your work to progress well.
The false whistle
The other type of breathing is that which consists of exhaling very slowly, as if you were blowing out a candle without wanting to extinguish it. This is useful when you feel like pushing, but want to give the tissue more time to stretch. I call this breathing the false whistle, because mothers often put their mouths to heart, as if they were going to whistle.
Don't block your breathing!
Throughout labor, be sure not to block your breathing. Relax your shoulders and breathe. Baby will find his way more easily if you don't tense up. And when you're ready to push and the baby is fine, keep it up.
You don't need to hold your breath before pushing as seen in the movies!
This technique is only useful in certain specific situations, such as when the mother is on an epidural and the pushing is long and difficult, or when there is an emergency and the baby needs to be taken out quickly. Otherwise, it has no reason to exist. It only increases the pressure on your perineum, which is already quite stressed.
Instead, take the deep breaths that helped you get to the push. As you exhale, use your abdominals to push your baby toward your spine, as your uterus pushes him down.
Follow the rhythm of your body and breathe! Everyone will be better oxygenated and your perineum will thank you. A smooth childbirth, lulled by the rhythm of your breathing : )
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Accompanying person at birth