Childbirth can be an incredibly rewarding but also challenging experience for expectant mothers. Many women understandably feel anxious or fearful about the prospect of giving birth, and this can make the process more difficult than it needs to be. One technique that has been shown to be effective in reducing the pain and anxiety associated with childbirth is diaphragm breathing.
Diaphragm breathing, also known as abdominal breathing, involves using the diaphragm muscle to take deep breaths in and out. This type of breathing is different from the shallow breathing that many people do unconsciously throughout the day, which only involves the upper chest.
When it comes to childbirth, diaphragm breathing can be especially helpful because it encourages relaxation, lengthens the pelvic floor, and helps the body to cope with the physical demands of labor.
Here are some of the ways in which diaphragm breathing can be used during childbirth:
1. During contractions: When a contraction starts, try to take slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus on using your diaphragm to expand your belly as you inhale, and let your belly relax as you exhale. This type of breathing can help to reduce the pain of contractions and keep you calm. 2. During pushing: When it comes time to push, try to take a deep breath in, feel the sphincters softening and opening while the pelvic floor and perinium lengthen, then use your diaphragm to push the breath out while bearing down. This can help to provide more oxygen to your muscles, and relaxing the muscles of the pelvic floor, making it easier to push effectively. 3. Between contractions: In the moments between contractions, continue to focus on your breathing. Take slow, deep breaths in and out to help your body relax and conserve energy for the next contraction.
It's important to practice diaphragm breathing regularly in the lead-up to your due date, so that it becomes second nature when the time comes. Try incorporating it into your daily routine by taking a few minutes each day to lie down and focus on your breathing. You can practice while laying on your side or in a variety of other positions such as child’s pose, happy baby, or in a deep squat.
In conclusion, diaphragm breathing can be a valuable tool for expectant mothers during childbirth. By focusing on deep, abdominal breathing, you can help to reduce pain and anxiety, and make the experience of childbirth more manageable and rewarding. With practice and patience, you can learn to use diaphragm breathing to make your childbirth experience a positive one.
Brown, S., Douglas, C., & Flood, M. (2013). Women's experiences of using a breathing technique to manage pain and anxiety during childbirth: A qualitative study. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 42(1), 16-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2012.01401.x
Yildirim, G., Sahin, N. H., & Koca, Ö. (2017). Effects of breathing and relaxation techniques on pain intensity and anxiety during labor. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 23(10), 791-798. doi: 10.1089/acm.2017.0008