Breathing exercises can help to make delivery easier.
While you're pregnant, you can perform breathing exercises to lower your stress and anxiety levels, increase your body awareness and strengthen your abdominals. If you worked in an office before your pregnancy, you may be used to chest breathing. This type of breathing is shallow and comes from your upper chest. By learning deep breathing techniques, you can boost the amount of air you're taking in and provide more oxygen to your baby.
Abdominal or deep breathing techniques provide the foundation for yoga, Pilates and tai chi. By using your diaphragm to suck in your lower abdomen, you can push your chest up and out. This movement allows your lungs to expand and take in more air. Deep breathing not only conditions your abdomen but also makes your respiration more efficient. For example, lie in a supine position with knees bent. You can also lie on your side with a cushion between your knees. Put one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Inhale through your nose and allow your abdomen to push your hand up, keeping your chest still. Purse your lips and exhale, feeling your belly deflate and your hand go down. Perform this breathing cycle three to 10 times.
By counting your breaths, you can use deep breathing for relaxation. For example, perform the 4-7-8 breathing exercise in which you begin in the supine position with one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Inhale deeply on a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven and then exhale on a count of eight. Aim to push all of the air out of your lungs on a long exhalation. Try and feel your body sink into the floor and relax. Repeat the breathing cycle three to seven times, according to Kaiser Permanente.
A technique in which you utilize your lungs to the fullest and become aware of your breathing rhythm is called roll breathing. Lie supine with knees bent. Position your hands in the same way that you did for deep breathing -- one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Practice deep breathing for eight to 10 breathing cycles. Add another stage to exercise by taking in air first into your lower lungs and then continuing the inhalation into your upper chest. Your abdomen will rise and then lower as your chest rises. It's as if your trunk is moving like a rolling wave. On the exhalation, make a soft whooshing sound, allowing both hands to go down. Practice the roll breathing exercise for three to five minutes.
Types of Yogic Breathing
In addition to deep breathing, there are different types of yogic breathing that are beneficial to practice during pregnancy. These techniques include ujjayi, or victorious, breathing, gentle belly breathing, birth cycle breathing, rhythmic breathing and alternate nostril breathing, according to вЂњBetter Birth: The Ultimate Guide to Childbirth from Home Births to HospitalsвЂќ by Denise Spatafora. For example, in ujjayi breathing, you inhale and exhale deeply through your nose, keeping your mouth closed. The air that you take in will make a soft hissing noise in the back of your throat. As you exhale, guide your breath down by constricting your throat and making the sound of the ocean. By performing this breathing technique, you'll maximize the energy gained from respiration. With each exhalation, you breathe out the tension in your body.
- Prenatal Care; Miriam Stoppard