If you know even just a little about Hypnobirthing you’ll know that most of what you do is utilising your breath. Just as we do in yoga and fitness combining mental preparation with breath is an extremely powerful tool. Learning to control your response to sensations in your body using only breathing techniques is something women have been doing for centuries. I always tell women that the surges in their body cannot be stronger than them because IT IS them. It is your body! If you come to terms with that then you can heave peace in the knowledge that your breath can aid these advances in your body through labour.
Right now, I want you to take a moment to noice your breathing. Is it deep or shallow? Through the mouth or nose? Fast or slow? Consciously deepen your breath now, breathing in calm and positivity and breathing our or releasing any tension, worries or fears.
Notice what this does to your posture, when you pay attention to your breath you subconsciously lift your chest and drop your shoulders. This will aid you with positioning in birth. We often use the acronym UFO, Upright, Forward and Open when we talk about posture in birth. Use you breath to help you find your perfect birth positioning.
Today we will be talking about 3 of the main birth breath techniques. –
Firstly we have the Recenter Breath which de-stresses and relaxes us – use this breath between surges, during pregnancy if you’re attending an appointment that may make you feel a little uneasy and in parenthood when emotions are running high and you need a little moment to recenter yourself. Deep slow conscious breath into the count of 8 and back to the same count. It’s a rhythmic breathing and just allow to bring you down. This is the breath you can use if you find yourself in the fear – tension- pain cycle that I spoke about in my last video. Breathing in through the nose and out through the nose. Avoid through the mouth as it can sometimes lead to a shallower breath.
There is the Wave/Surge Breath – We use this during contractions. The theory behind this breath is to give the uterus plenty of room to expand during a surge. An easy mistake to make is to hold the breath while experiencing discomfort or fear, this then leads to pain. We want to avoid this cycle. What’s actually happening in our bodies at this time is the vertical muscles of our uterus are moving up while the horizontal muscles of our cervix are attempting to draw out and open. If we don’t breathe to aid this movement what happens is the muscles don’t work in sync again leading to pain. The wave breathe allows them to work together. Put your hand on your abdomen and imagine a balloon inflating powerfully breathe in and count fast up to 20 or as far as you can, you want to aim for 20 but this may take some practice. Then slowly and controlled exhale out to the same count. A surge will usually never last longer than 3 of these breathes and this is a fantastic tool to use to channel your energy into focusing on breathing and allowing your body to release.
Once the surge has subsided take yourself back to the recenter breath, slow and easy!
Decent Breathing – Similar to a yoga breathe when you are bending into a difficult position. We use this breathe after transition when baby is in those final steps of it’s journey earth-side. This is the point when most women feel they can’t go on, see this as a sign that the end is very near and harness that energy for your last sequence of strong powerful breathes. To begin take a powerful inhalation, fill your lungs and now consciously push the air down down down and out, down through your throat to your uterus, you cervix the birth canal and out of the body. Visualise this down and out, down and out!
If it feels right you may want to make a sound in the back of your throat. This is sometimes referenced as the birth call or roar and we hear animals in the wild make it, allow yourself to revert to your primal instinct and just go with what feels right. You can start by practising this breath on the loo when you have a bowel movement, see the difference in pushing and in breathing down. You may hear breathing the baby down instead of coached pushing this is what that means. We can usually effectively aid our baby down without the need to push and squeeze which most commonly just exhausts us doesn’t aid the oxygen in flowing around our body to our uterus and baby.
If you need some inspiration then search for positive birth on youtube and you will find videos upon videos of women using this same technique. Believe in your body, your mind and your baby. You can do this!
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We also run Pregnancy Wellness Retreats for a complete birth preparation experience. Our upcoming dates are 24th-27th on January and 27th-30th of March.