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Three types of breathing to aid in labor

Three types of breathing to aid in labor


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The time of delivery is special. At last, the baby that you have felt, dreamed of and already love for months will come into the world. Breathing during childbirth is a very useful tool, not only because it provides oxygen to the baby, but also because it reduces the pain of contractions and relaxes the mother.

It is important that the mother is relaxed to be able to focus on the whole process, it is true that in one way or another the baby will be born anyway, but if the mother is relaxed she will be able to better focus her efforts, she will be able to apply the breaths according to each phase and you will have a better delivery.

There are different types of breathing: thoracic, costal, abdominal, dorsal, candle blowing ... To simplify and give security to the woman at the time of delivery, they can be left in three, which are the main and most important to help relax to the future mother and to oxygenate the baby: the thoracic, the abdominal and the panting.

1. Chest breathing. It is about taking air through the nose, filling the thorax and then gradually expelling the air through the mouth.

2. Breathing abdominal. It is similar in action to the previous one, but this time the abdomen swells and then the air is slowly expelled through the mouth.

3. Breathing panting. It consists of tapping the air and making a short expulsion sound. It should not be used for more than 4 seconds and it should always be followed by deep and slow breathing.

1. Initial phase of labor. It is the slow phase where the contractions are more or less regular and weak. These contractions last 20 to 45 seconds and appear every 15 minutes.

At the beginning and at the end of the contractions, we will use abdominal breathing and during it, chest breaths.

2. Active phase of labor. It develops with intense contractions lasting about 60 seconds every 3-5 minutes.

We will use abdominal or thoracic breathing at the beginning and end of the contraction, and panting breaths during each contraction.

3. Transition phase. Contractions last about 60-90 seconds and are more frequent, every two minutes or so.

We will use panting breaths, but in order not to hyperventilate, they must be combined with abdominal or thoracic breaths.

4. Expulsion phase. Contractions come every two minutes, are strong, and last for more than a minute.

The important thing is to recover after each push with abdominal or thoracic breaths, as we will only have two minutes or so to recover. During pushing, you don't really breathe, but rather hold your breath and hold the air in your lungs to be able to force yourself out of the baby.

Although it seems very difficult a priori, we can simplify even more. The abdominal or thoracic breathing can be used both for the beginning and for the end of the contractions and for the waiting moments between one contraction and another. Gasping breath save for strong contractions. By practicing these three breaths, it will be easier for the woman to remember which breath to apply at the right times and thus meet two of the most important goals in labor, relaxation for the woman and proper oxygenation of the baby.

Marián Zamora Saborit
Physiotherapist. Pilates Technician
Psychomotor in Early Childhood Education
Contributor to our site
Marián Zamora's blog

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