Take a deep breath in through your nose and a looooong slooooow exhale out your mouth.
Birth and Breath seem to go hand in hand, right? We take a childbirth class and we’re “taught” to breathe. But why? How will it help us? What is the value of breathing (other than keeping us alive)?
When we are hit with pain, our instant physical reaction is a quick breath in and a holding of our breath, which is quickly followed by some foul language. Usually just one or two words that might include one that starts with an F.
But it sends no relief to what is hurting us. It’s as though for a moment, our mind disconnects from our body and leaves our body to fend for itself.
Quickly they seem to reunite, we pull ourselves back together and our mind and body attack that pain as a team but in those moments in between, the pain is insane.
Research performed by a scientist at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center has shown that controlled breathing at a slowed rate can significantly reduce feelings of pain.
So let’s bring this information to labor and birth with us.
· How do I breath during contractions?
· What is the best way to breath during labor?
Take a deep breath in through your nose and a looooong slooooow exhale out your mouth. As labor intensifies and the discomfort becomes greater, add some noise to the exhale. Allow yourself to be uninhibited. If you feel inclined to make noise… do it. Holding back in any way is counter-productive to the birth process.
The higher pitched the sound, the less comfort and relief it will bring you. The lower the tone of the sound you make the more comfort and relief it will bring you.
When we make a high pitched sound, we tighten our bodies and when we make a low pitched sound, our bodies are loose. Allow the vibration that a low sound creates in your throat, chest and abdomen to soothe your body and your baby’s body as well.
For women that use this technique of breath and sound during labor, they are often surprised to see that it is of great help to re-create it as a comfort measure for their newborn during fussy times.
By holding or laying the baby long ways on your body and making soft, low OOOOOOO sounds, that vibration will once again, soothe and bring comfort to the baby.
It is important to be in control of your breath and your sound. Being in control will not only bring you more relief but it will build your confidence as well. If you are managing with this as a comfort measure, you will feel confident that you can continue.
If epidural is part of your birth plan, but other interventions are not, breath and sound can help you get far enough along in your labor to use an epidural with less risk of other interventions.
Authored by: The Rock n’ Roll Doula