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Focus on your breathing... what does that mean?

(23 Posts)
pomadas87 Sun 12-Nov-17 13:24:05

39+1 today with first baby and feeling very, very nervous. I've been reading about how to cope in labour - especially at home before going to hospital - and there's a lot about "focusing on your breathing" ... but not much explanation!

What is meant by this? How do I use breathing to help me? Any advice would be great please!

Flowersonthewall Sun 12-Nov-17 13:28:26

Just that! Really focus on breathing in slowly and out slowly. In through your nose and out through your mouth. I'd count to 5 slowly as you breathe in and again 5 as you breathe out. Each contraction is painful and focusing on breathing through it helps to distract ...
Slightly from the pain! Throughout my contractions I imagined them as a hill/mountain to climb up and come down again if that makes sense. So I'd count to about 5 or 6 slowly breathing as slow and deep as I could and that would take me to the peak of the contraction and then counting on to 10 would take me down again.....does that make sense??!
Good luck! Xx

pomadas87 Sun 12-Nov-17 13:45:03

Thanks flowers ... yes I think so, so I literally just think about the action of breathing and that is helpful?

IndieRar Sun 12-Nov-17 13:57:44

There are some really good YouTube videos for positive natural births and hypnobirthing. That will help show you what focusing on breathing is like.

Always breathe out for slightly longer than you breathe in and it can be quite calming and meditative. Like in for four, out for six or eight. I did a hypnobirthing course and when in active labour, the midwife didn’t even think I was because I was so focused and calm! I had a really good birth and it’s all in the breathing.

Please don’t be fearful of it - be calm, relaxed, breathe and look forward to meeting your little one soon. It’s an exciting time.

And YouTube those videos.

Plasticgold Sun 12-Nov-17 14:06:28

For your body to work well in any stressful situation you need to breathe well. It's really important to oxygenate your womb as you would a muscle if you were running a race, more oxygen means less tension and less pain while it works more efficiently.

Practice over the next few days breathing in over a count of four and then slowly breathing out over 8. It's very calming and will allow your body to do it's work. Best of luck, birth isn't anything to be frightened of.

GerrytheBerry Sun 12-Nov-17 14:07:58

It's helpful because it's something to concentrate on to get through your contractions, I won't lie, they aren't nice, not when in established labour, they're actually worse than the actual pushing baby out bit (in my opinion) so having something to focus on while each one passes is good. And when they are coming one after another that usually means baby is about come.

TerrifyingFeistyCupcake Sun 12-Nov-17 14:09:21

It means, basically, pay conscious attention to your breathing. Take deep slow breaths and not short panicky ones. That will not only calm you, but encourage you to relax your muscles - tensing through a contraction will only make it worse.

I practice yoga and through it, have learned how to "breathe into" a stretch or pain and just let it be rather than tensing or trying to fight it. I found this very useful in labour, to the extent that I was so quiet and calm the midwives thought my contractions had stopped when I was actually nearly at 10cm.

Hatstand Sun 12-Nov-17 14:17:34

To help with the long out breath, you could also practise making open vowel sounds like ooooo or aaaaa. Stops you clenching your teeth or holding your breath. You may feel slightly ridiculous practising but once you're in labour you probably won't care!

Trebormints74 Sun 12-Nov-17 14:20:07

Breathing is amazing for childbirth. I did pregnancy yoga which I’d recommend because it makes you practice calm breathing (rather than shallow which you tend to do when panicking).

This book was v helpful too.

None of this will guarantee not needing pain relief but I would say breathing helps regardless.

gamerchick Sun 12-Nov-17 14:21:12

The way I did it was to think the uterus is a muscle and we know the more oxygen a muscle gets the less it hurts and better it works. Long deep inhales at the start of a contraction and no panicked shallow breaths because pain.

pomadas87 Sun 12-Nov-17 14:25:18

Thanks everyone - I will have a look on YouTube and get practising over the next few days.
I thunk I'm frightened because I have no idea of what level of pain to expect so it's a fear of the unknown I suppose!

AnnieOH1 Sun 12-Nov-17 14:25:41

When you're in pain you're automatic reaction is to stop breathing (go stub you're toe now and you'll end up doing a sharp intake of breath), you may begin to panic from pain or just generally be upset by it and that will lead to short shallow breaths. That type of breathing will drop your oxygen levels. For any major pain (be it child birth or anything else) try to focus on really taking nice, long and deep breaths. You'll be amazed that it really does take the edge off. =)

IndieRar Sun 12-Nov-17 18:02:44

Have a quick read about the Fear/Tension/Pain loop. If you’re fearful, you’ll tense muscles which creates pain and slows the labour. Breathing can help overcome it.

Bubblysqueak Sun 12-Nov-17 18:04:05

For me it was stop holding your breath.

davidbyrneswhitesuit Sun 12-Nov-17 19:18:23

I used just breathing with both my labours. It wasn't an intentional approach, but I just used the deep breathing I'd learned in Pilates to try and breathe through contractions, and it worked really well!

Highly recommend it; it helps you feel calm and not overwhelmed by the contractions...more like you're riding them like waves (I'm not normally such a hippy grin).

Piffpaffpoff Sun 12-Nov-17 19:25:29

I found counting my breathing in and out gave me something to focus on during the contractions. I still do it now at the dentist or smear test etc!

Wolfiefan Sun 12-Nov-17 19:28:00

This seriously helped with my first labour. With that and TENS I stayed at home until 5-6 cm.
I focused on breathing slowly and steadily. Making my inhalation and exhalations last the same amount of time and as long and slow as I could.
Really calming and helped me feel in control.
Good luck.

Smurfy23 Sun 12-Nov-17 20:19:07

I used deep breaths to get through my early contractions- just counting how many deep breaths each contraction lasted helped me to get through each one.

pomadas87 Sun 12-Nov-17 20:38:14

Thanks everyone.
So it seems there are a few things to try!

IndieRar Tue 26-Dec-17 19:41:24

Hi @pomadas87, how did it go? Did the breathing help?

MikeUniformMike Tue 26-Dec-17 19:45:07

Breathe out deeply and breathe in naturally. It helps prevent hyperventilating.

sthitch Thu 28-Dec-17 23:45:59

Count your breath in and count the breath out and try and add some more seconds to the out.

I did pregnancy yoga and there was a golden thread breath where you would imagine your out breath was a piece of golden thread blowing through the room to try and breathe out for longer and to give yourself something to concentrate on.

The breathing really did help me for hours and hours until I was induced with a drip and epidural.

kathrynelizabeth3005 Sat 30-Dec-17 09:52:52

When I was in labour, every time I had a contraction it was so painful that I instinctively tensed up and unconsciously held my breath. Didn't really even realise I was doing it and each time, DH had to remind me to breathe!

Focussing on taking deep breaths really does distract you (as much as it can when you're preparing to push out a baby!)

Good luck OP! Hope you have the birth you want flowers

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