breathing techniques during actual labor

Archived User

breathing techniques during actual labor

I am due with my second child(3-4 weeks to go now). I had attended lamaze classes during my first pregnancy(4 yrs back).

I am currently staying in a different country where I cannot attend lamaze classes.

I would really appreciate if you could give me all the breathing techniques necessary during labor day(from stage 1 to stage 3).

Please help me with this.



Henci Goer

RE: breathing techniques during actual labor
(in response to Archived User)

Over the years, Lamaze has evolved into a much more comprehensive approach to childbirth, although conscious attention to breathing remains one of many comfort techniques. This article will give you information on Lamaze's current approach. That being said, since you seem to be looking for more specific guidance, let me tell you what I taught back in the 1980s when I was teaching Lamaze. (Yes, Ladies and the occasional Gent, I began as a certified Lamaze educator.):

  • There is no "right" way to breathe in labor; however, many women find that focus on the breathing is one way of coping with contractions, and, like the famous song in The King and I, "Whistle a Happy Tune," behaving as if you are calm and on top of things, often leads to feeling that way.
  • Begin and end each contraction with a "cleansing breath," a nice deep, sighing breath. (Factoid: This concept, and indeed, the original idea of conscious breathing as a fundamental Lamaze technique, comes directly from yoga.) The opening cleansing breath serves to release any tension, and it also serves to indicate to your labor companions that you are beginning the work of the contraction. The closing cleansing breath helps to release any tension accumulated during the contraction so that you can relax completely in between.
  • The basic breathing consists of slow, easy, relaxed breaths. You may choose to add to your concentration by breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  • As contractions intensify, it may help to follow the rhythm of their rise and fall by shortening the in an out breath as the contraction peaks and lengthening the breaths as it subsides. Keep the in and out breaths even so that you don't hyperventilate, which can happen if you breathe out more than you breathe in. (If you should hyperventilate--symptoms: feeling anxious, dizzy, or have tingling lips--re-breathing your own air will help. Breathe into your cupped hands or a paper bag until you feel better.) A variation is counting as you breathe in and out, e.g., in: 1...2...3...4...5...6 out: 1...2...3...4...5...6; in: 1...2...3...4... out: 1...2...3...4..., etc.
  • For very intense contractions, some women may find it helpful breathe in through parted lips with a little gasp (hee) then round the lips and breathe out with a little gasp (hoo). Take care to keepthis breathing controlled and even.
  • If something that you found helpful stops working for you--and this holds true for whatever coping strategy or comfort measure you are using, not just breathing--try something else. After a break, you may be able to return to your old strategy, and it will work again.

I hope you find this helpful.

~ Henci

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