How to Breathe During Labor?

Check out different ways to breathe during labor. There are many breathing exercise and techniques to help with labor pains and delivery.

breathe during labor

For most women, the process of delivery is exciting that is until the contractions start. It is exciting because soon you will be able to meet your baby. The period of childbirth is fraught with a lot of dangers and difficulties for now expectant mother. Let’s understand this in more detail. We will start by discussing different techniques and ways to breathe during labor. Then we will look into techniques to reduce pain as well.

Understand the Breathing Process

Understand Breathing

Obstetricians advise women to start preparing for childbirth even during pregnancy. It consists mastering of certain useful techniques.

Exercises are recommended for execution on a daily basis. It is possible to include them in the gym for pregnant women.

In this case, the duration of the respiratory exercises themselves is no more than 10 minutes. Long sessions can cause hyperventilation of the lungs, which is fraught with dizziness and headache. It is advised to master these techniques initially with someone experienced and then on your own. These are not hard things but they are the essential ones when it comes to childbirth.

Different Techniques to Breathe During Labor

A challenging process such as childbirth, where breathing plays an important role, is very lengthy. Many specialists advise women to work on their respiratory techniques as they tend to help a lot. During the time of delivery and labor, mothers are in a lot of pain. This is the time when the only thing that can help is breathing.

They can be divided into 2 groups depending on certain conditions as we will see. The first group includes abdominal breathing and full breathing whereas the second one has increase in efficiency and economical breathing.

  1. Abdominal Breathing
  2. abdominal breathing

    This belongs to the first group. The use of the first technique involves a purging exhalation, which should have the maximum amplitude. There is a tension in the muscles of the abdominal press. The stomach is drawn in and “grows” to the vertebral column. Then it is followed by a slow and smooth relaxation. As a result, passive filling of the lower parts of the lungs and air is noted.

    To control the technique doctors recommend placing the palms on the area of the hypochondrium. So, exhalation goes with hands move under the ribs and inhale with leave forward.

  3. Full Breathing
  4. After mastering the abdominal, they pass to full breathing. This one is also the part of the first group.

    full breathing

    The beginning is the same, a purging exhalation, which leads to the omission of the anterior wall of the peritoneum. When you inhale, the ribs of the palms are raised and the lower divisions of the respiratory system expand.

    Gradually there is an increase in the volume of averages. Subsequently, the clavicle is raised, which indicates the inclusion of the apex of the lungs in the process.

  5. Increase in Efficiency
  6. This here marks the beginning of the second group. It is very important in this exercise to draw in the stomach, which serves as a support.


    Exhalation occurs in the reverse order. The last is the retraction of the muscles of the pelvic floor. After this, there is a pause. Then the abdominal wall is released and after it, a new breath is produced. The use of such techniques involves taking air through your nose. The diaphragm should descend smoothly.

    Perform this exercise about 10 times a day but you can do more. Slowly you will see that your efficiency increases.

  7. Economical Breathing
  8. Economical breathing is important in childbirth. This again belongs to the second group of breathing.


    In order to improve the efficiency of the respiratory process, there are certain things that need to be checked.

    First, the ratio of the number of cardiac contractions that occur during inspiration and expiration in these phases is necessary.

    Putting the thumb on the pulse area of the wrist, the woman counts the strokes that occur on inhaling and exhaling.

    Often the ratio is 1: 1, 1: 1.5, but it needs to be brought to 1: 2. As a result, by increasing the length of the exhalation phase, it is possible to breathe more efficiently. The development of such equipment takes about a week. This way as the efficiency increases the breathing becomes good and woman relaxes.

Different ways to Breathe During Labor

It is very important to properly breathe during labor. It not only helps to cope with painful sensations and reduces their intensity but also prevents the onset of birth trauma.

The proper breathing process during childbirth is explained to pregnant women starting from the second trimester of pregnancy. In this case, a woman would be wise to strictly follow these recommendations. Conduct the exercises independently at home, not only morally, but also physically preparing for childbirth.

There are different ways to breathe during labor depending on the situation of the woman. Like breathing during contraction and breathing when pushing or attempts.

  1. Breathing During Contractions
  2. According to the physiology of the generic process, it begins directly with the appearance of contractions. At first, they have a weak intensity and short duration. At this stage, obstetricians recommend using the slow technique.

    Contraction breathing

    A smooth, gradual change of exhalation and inspiration with an increase in the first is best suited. The air intake is made by the nose and released by the mouth. Begin with a deep exhalation as it relieves tension. Relaxation breathing is used in the intervals as well.

    To help a pregnant woman understand how to breathe during labor, gynecologists repeatedly hold talks on this topic. Algorithms are being tested in practice. A woman can also train at home, alone.

    Knowing how to breathe during labor, the expectant mother will be able to reduce the soreness of this process. In this case, it is worth considering the following rule. As the contraction grows longer and stronger, the deeper and slow the breathing should be.

  3. Breathing at Pushing Attempts
  4. The second stage of labor requires maximum physical effort. Immediately at this time, there is the appearance of a baby.

    In order for everything to go smoothly, each woman should know to breathe during labor properly when trying to do it.

    breathing during labor

    The process goes like this.

    • At the beginning of contraction of the uterus, a deep breath is to be taken.
    • The typed air is not exhaled but as if swallowed.
    • When there is a sense of lack of oxygen then a smooth, slow exhalation is needed.
    • Then again begin with the repetition from first.

    The swallowed volume of air pressurizes the diaphragm, which actually transfers the voltage to the bottom of the uterus. After exhalation, care must be taken to ensure that there is no interruption. Short breaths are needed as the effectiveness decreases sharply. This is due to the movement of the diaphragm upwards.

    For 1 attempt, the duration of which is 1 minute, the woman should repeat 3 cycles of inspiration and expiration. This is done all the while avoiding the load on the muscles of the pelvic floor by not pushing the head (obstetric term).

When the birth takes place, the proper breathing process is as explained by the obstetrician. Due to the fact that the level of pain is so high, the mother cannot always follow the recommendations and advice received. In view of such features, many doctors work with future mothers on these exercises even before the delivery begins. Such training is not in vain.

Importance of Breathing During Childbirth

It is worth noting that in certain periods of the generic process, breathing should be carried out in different ways.

Important of Breathing

The technique of breathing during delivery is significantly different from that used in the first stage of the baby’s appearance. Correct use of it helps to avoid the following severe problems.

  1. It helps to avoid the development of fetal hypoxia.
  2. Prevents the occurrence of birth injuries.
  3. Facilitate the process for the woman in childbirth.
  4. Reduces pain on the body during delivery.

Different Techniques of Breathing for Pain Relief

The full process of actions during delivery is discussed with a pregnant woman in detail. These talks are usually carried out during a visit to a gynaecologist in the second half of pregnancy. In this case, the breathing technique during delivery is considered separately. Its main points are as follows.

  • First exhalation at the height of the bout or contraction.
  • Then inhale through the nose using economical breathing a calm intake of air followed by a prolonged, quiet exhalation.
  • Relaxing breathing in the intervals between contractions.

There are several other breathing techniques advised by gynaecologists depending on the condition of woman. Two of the most common ones are mentioned below.

  1. Breathe like a Dog
  2. Obstetricians advise to breathe like a dog at delivery to relieve pain with prolonged, frequent bouts.

    Dog Breathing Exercise

    Begin with slow breathing, gradually bringing it up to 1-2 breaths per second. As a result, both phases have the same duration.

    The fence is conducted quietly and let out with a small sound. To moisture less evaporated from the mouth and remember to cover your palm. Periodically, rinse your mouth with water. At the end of the contraction, then switch to economical breathing. This is where the ice chips come in to help instead of water.

  3. Breathe like a Horse
  4. Because of painful sensations, there is a reflex compression and tension of the internal organs. This negatively affects the health of the fetus. Spasm of the vessels of the placenta leads to a decrease in the amount of oxygen that enters the baby.

    Breathe like Horse

    In addition, there is a decrease in it and in the bloodstream of the mother. All this can adversely affect the disclosure of the cervix. Breathing like a horse at this stage can correct the situation. This technique is implemented as follows.

    • Start with a deep breath through your nose.
    • Then gradual, slow, smooth exhalation through the outstretched lips.

    As a result, a woman can remove tension from the muscle fibers of the face, neck and lips. Gradually, the relaxation of the lower parts also occurs reflexively. Exercise helps to perfectly relax the uterine musculature, facilitates and accelerates the period of such an important moment as the opening of the neck. As a result, the first stage proceeds more quickly and is much easier for the future mother.

Important Tips for Breathing during Labor

As seen in the above information breathing has a significant effect on your body especially during childbirth. So, because it is essential there are certain things you can’t forget. These important tips on how to breathe during labor are mentioned below.

  1. You will be advised about these exercise during the second half of the pregnancy. So, if you have any query make it a point to ask your doctor as much as you want.
  2. Practice breathing techniques and exercises regularly and soon the process will come naturally to you.
  3. There are four different ways of breathing divided in two groups. The first group consist of abdominal breathing and full breathing. And the second group consist of increase in efficiency breathing and economical breathing.
  4. Different ways of breathing are seperated by breathing while contracting and breathing while pushing.
  5. Breathing is a very important process as it can help to avoid many birth deformities in newborn child.
  6. The different techniques of breathing to reduce pain includes dog breaths and horse breaths.
  7. Nowadays breathing and couple classes to practice for childbirth are also available if you want to go for it.

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How to Breathe During Labor?