Breathing well is really important during pregnancy when you breathe for your unborn baby as well as yourself. Each breath you take nourishes your baby with new oxygenated blood and takes waste products away.
Breathe low to relax
When our breathing is slow, full, smooth and low we feel relaxed and free. During activity and stress our breathing moves away from our belly and higher up in the chest. In daily life this will increase feelings of anxiety. The converse is also true. With conscious breathing, you can allow it to settle lower into your belly. You will notice how you begin to feel more relaxed. As your baby grows inside you, you may experience as sense of having ‘less space to breath’. You may feel your breathing becomes higher and faster. Feeling your breath higher, faster and lighter can be misunderstood as anxiety, however in pregnancy this is perfectly healthy.
Breathe easy and enjoy your pregnancy
Many mothers-to-be experience some anxiety as they prepare for motherhood and cope with the discomforts of pregnancy. This doesn’t harm your baby – but knowing how to breathe well will help you enjoy your pregnancy more. You can use your breathing to help you during giving blood, internal examinations or when you feel unsettled. Focusing on a steady relaxed out breath will help you bloom.
Watch & listen
Watching and listening to your breath can help increase your sense of positivity. At challenging times it can bring you back to yourself. This process of noticing the breath and focusing on it is called breath awareness. You can listen to the sound of your breath and see your body gently expand with each in breath. You can also feel the sens of your body becoming bigger and stronger as you breath in, and more relaxed and receptive as you breath out. Breath awareness will help you settle your mind and emotions during your pregnancy.
Traditional yogic breathing
Traditional yogic breath practices cleanse, balance, heat and cool the body. Ujjayi (victorious breathing) is good for settling the mind. Its is good for pregnancy when done very gently as it relaxes and centers. There are specially devised breathing practices for pregnancy as many traditional yogic breaths are too strong for pregnancy.
Focus on your breathing during birth
During labour you will be able to work with your body and become more intuitive by using breath awareness. Consciously listening to your out breath will focus your mind, and allows your body’s natural intelligence to take over. Your body will be able to get on with the job it needs to do, unhampered by your thoughts. During labour taking deep, rhythmical breaths will, bringing increased clarity and confidence. Conscious breathing will steady your emotions, and allow you to trust your body. It will help you to ‘go with’ the experience. To stay in the moment imagine you are blowing away any pain away from you.
Specialised breathing techniques act as a natural form of ‘pain relief’. Using a soft mouth and long exhalation are common themes to these practices. Birth-Day breathing and Dandelion breathing adapt with moment during your contraction.
As your contraction peaks, so does your breathing, and as the contraction decreases – so does your breathing. Your breathing and contractions work together to bring your baby closer to birth. These techniques work very well, and many women come back, amazed, about their affect.
‘It made a HUGE HUGE difference – the breathing works wonders!’
Breathe for yourself, your birth and your baby
Your breathing connects you with your baby during pregnancy, labour and birth. Bringing your baby into the world is one of the most important things you will ever do, and breathing your baby into the world is a beautiful, satisfying way to do it.
Susannah Dean Ramponi has written and illustrated ‘Yoga & breathing for pregnancy & birth’ which covers yoga, the specialised breathing techniques mentioned, and active birth positions. (£9.99 from www.theyoga.co.uk/yoga-shop/ and amazon.co.uk)
This is a visual guide to yoga for pregnancy and birth, using the book should feel like doing yoga: relaxed, enjoyable and enlivening.Integrating yoga, breathing techniques and active birth positions can prepare the body and mind for birth. With practise you will be able to calm and energise your being so you are well-prepared to birth your baby. Bring your baby into the world consciously. This book is written with YogaBirth. This is the association of professionally trained teachers of pregnancy yoga and childbirth education. Their unique formula has been developed over 30 years. YogaBirth brings commitment, community and experience to the world of yoga and pregnancy. Practise, breathe, relax & enjoy. So you are well-prepared for the birthing of your baby.
‘Lovingly crafted. This will serve as the perfect introduction to YogaBirth’
Judy Cameron: Midwife – Antenatal Education Co-ordinator & YogaBirth Course Director
‘A beautiful book: the yoga and breathing are made accessible with simple directions and illustrations. This is a wonderful way to create health and peace of mind throughout pregnancy, and to prepare for labour and birthing’
Jill Benjoya Miller: Active Birth & YogaBirth Teacher