Pregnancy breathing, the key to a calm birth

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Pregnancy breathing techniques – The key to a calm birth

By Paula Mitten – Owner of Durga Yoga

Practicing a pregnancy breathing technique for 5 minutes a day could be the key to a calm birth!

These days we are super busy. Early starts, long commutes, busy traffic and fast paced working environments are just some of the daily stressors that our bodies are up against. Many of these things cannot be changed but what we can change is the way in which we react to external pressures. I often say to my students that when they find their centre and they become grounded in themselves that nothing can knock that or take it away from them.
This becomes even more important during pregnancy and birth. As a birthing woman you need to be able to trust in your body and stay as clam and present as you possibly can.
So, the big question is “How do I find my centre?” or “How can I be fully present and let go of stress?” And the answer lies with your breath!

Your breath is the key to letting go of stress, anxiety and worry. It will keep you connected inwards and allow you to let go of distractions from the world around you. When your breath is slow and steady, your body and mind will be calm. You cannot be stressed or anxious when you are connected to your breath.

During labour, your body will birth more easily and naturally if you can let go of all other distractions around you. When you get out of your thoughts and out of your head space, and you come down into your body, mother nature will take over. Your body already knows what it needs to do to birth your baby and when you breathe fully and connect with yourself deeply your body and your baby will instinctively know what to do.


Starting a breathing practice in pregnancy


1. Begin by watching your natural breath to become familiar with it.
2. Notice each inhalation and each exhalation without trying to control or change your breathing in any way.
3. Let your belly rise with the in-breath and fall with the out-breath. This movement can be very subtle at first.
4. See if you can gently slow down your breath. Avoid forcing your breath to slow down, you should still feel very relaxed and comfortable.
5. As this becomes easy start to lengthen the exhalations until, eventually, your out-breath is up to twice as long as your in-breath

Spend 5-10 minutes practicing this breathing exercise every day to become very comfortable with your breath. The more you practice the easier it will become, and you will be able to use this technique throughout your labour to help you stay calm and focused. If at any point during your breathing practice you become light headed or it feels to much in any way, stop and come back to your natural breath again.

Paula teaches weekly pregnancy yoga classes in Durga yoga, Maynooth, Co. Kildare and Pure Health, Ongar, Co. Dublin.