the bespoke bebe

the bespoke bebe

What the blog is all about

This blog is a space for my thoughts and ramblings on the subject of natural childbirth and hypnobirthing. Enjoy! Check out for more on hypnobirthing and baby massage

When in doubt remember to breath!

hypnobirthingPosted by dani Mon, July 29, 2013 15:09:49

Inhale slowly ….... and now exhale....... good now your ready to read! As an antenatal teacher I am always, without fail asked about why breathing is important...... often the immediate response to learning about breathing correctly for labour is “well I do breath everyday and I am still alive so how hard can it be?”. The answer is it can be quite tricky to teach your body to breath CORRECTLY without consciously thinking about it!

“But does it actually make any difference what so ever?” I hear you all cry.... and the answer is YES, absolutely without a shadow of a doubt breathing properly in labour (and the rest of the time)makes all the difference and here is why.

When we're scared and our bodies are tense, we rush our breaths.... we gulp air.... and this leads to our bodies using the sympathetic nervous system “The panic room” which triggers our fight or flight response which makes all the blood in your body go to your arms legs and brain and in short not to the uterus. In this state all of our muscles become tense, we feel more pain and we release adrenaline.... and here's the important part..... with increase in adrenaline our oxytocin rate goes down..... now that is much more important than it sounds, oxytocin is the hormone we produce which governs our contractions during labour and a decrease in this means contractions slowing down and labour slowing this our bodies way of protecting baby if you are in a dangerous situation, slowing labour down until you reach a place of safety. That means a longer more painful labour..... Lets face it no one wants that! so we're starting to see why regular slow breathing is really important!

But I think by far the best incentive to practice breathing for labour is the amazing benefit you and your baby get from breathing properly. Firstly and most importantly slow controlled breathing helps you remain calm and in control! If you are breathing in a slow controlled way it's more difficult than you would think to get in a panic....... This means you can stay much more relaxed and combine your breathing with other relaxation techniques like massage, visualisation and hypnosis. Here is the best bit! When your body is relaxed you will have a shorter more comfortable labour. Increased oxygen means more energy and strength for mum, baby and those all important birthing muscles (which are pretty good at doing their job given the chance). Your body will function with the parasympathetic nervous system “your calm space” which allows your whole body to be relaxed and lets your heart rate slow and the muscles of the sphincter relax..... and all this actively aids child birth! Thats right just from a bit of breathing! By far the best reason to practice calm controlled breathing is that when you and your uterine muscles are given a plentiful supply of oxygen so is baby! Now this leads me onto the subject of pushing...

Keeping in mind the idea that we want the uterine muscles supplied with oxygen continually why on earth would we hold our breaths, put our chins on our chests and push, push PUSH? Well I'm going to let you all in on a little secret.... I have birthed pushing with my first daughter, which was frankly exhausting.... and I have birthed my youngest daughter without (I had an amazing HypnoBirth)which was amazing ! And you guessed it I breathed her out... I didn't push once and the upshot of it was that I managed to have a 10lb 3oz baby without so much as a paracetamol or a stitch.... Breathing baby's down rather than the dreaded pushing keeps oxygen going to baby, which I think we would all agree is rather important! If you think about it, it makes perfect sense that breathing throughout labour will make baby happier and better oxygenated than holding our breaths pushing and panicking.... However a word of caution to this tale....

You can't simply decide to breath calmly through labour or to breath your baby down, you have to be willing to put the work in and practice, practice, practice..... but in my opinion (and knowing the difference having birthed with controlled breathing and without) it is well worth the time and effort...... I think all those marvellous benefits are not bad for a bit of humble breathing! Now inhale........

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