Do you remember films like What to Expect When You’re Expecting where there’s one pregnant mum about to give birth in panic and anxiety?
It’s not an uncommon sight for an expecting mum to panic and feel afraid of labour, especially a first-time mum who has heard all the stories about painful births. Usually, when she starts yelling, the doctor or nurse says, “Breathe. Just breathe. You need to calm down.”
And her distressed reply? “You want me to calm down?! I’m about to give birth! I can’t!”
When you’re stressed or afraid, it’s never easy to calm down, to relax, and to breathe properly. It’s difficult, but not impossible. With hypnobirthing, you can relax and breathe calmly to take off the pressure from your body, to alleviate the pain during labour.
With the Hypnobirthing Hub, you can make use of relaxation breathing techniques, which will help you keep calm and relaxed during your pregnancy, through your surges, and during your labour. This type of breathing strategy is ideal for the early stages or pre-labour stages and in-between surges to help you relax. The more you relax, the more your muscles will loosen, the easier your labour will be.
Relaxation breathing is more than just practicing inhaling and exhaling. So, how is it done? Do this short exercise:
Close your eyes, a take a long breath in and then a long breath out. Do you find the in-breath or out-breath more relaxing?
Since out-breathing or exhaling is more relaxing, you will be focusing on this more when you do relaxation breathing. Your out-breath will be twice as long as your in-breath.
Relaxation Between Your Surges
In-between your contractions is the time when fear and anxiety creeps in. Even an off-hand comment doubting your ability to handle the surges, or a disbelieving look your way can make you start to feel panicked and anxious.
Because we birth like mammals and have such a primal response at our birthing time, our instincts are overly heightened and we feel very sensitive at this time.
You can’t control everyone and everything around you during your birth, but you can control your own emotions and create a sense of calm whenever you need it. If you ever feel you could do with some extra relaxation between your surges, just take a few relaxation breaths and feel renewed and confident once more.
Relaxation Breathing Technique
- Allow your eyelids to gently close.
- Consciously drop and relax your jaw, neck and whole body.
- Slowly inhale through your nose (or mouth) to the count of four (4). Breathe in 1,2,3,4
- Slowly exhale through your nose (or mouth) to the count of eight (8). Breathe out 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
- On the out breath, allowing your breath to drift down into the chest, stomach and down through the entire body. Feel your shoulders sink into the frame of your body.
- Repeat four times or as needed to feel wonderfully relaxed.
It is also important to remember that this breathing is a gentle breathing technique that focuses on breathing mainly from your upper chest (or whatever feels right for you). It is not specifically abdominal breathing, as in surge breathing, which you can learn about in our blog.
Remember that practice makes perfect (or almost perfect). If you want to feel more relaxed and in control of your birth, you can look up our Hypnobirthing Classes at Manly or download our Hypnobirthing Home Study Course Manual Downloads where you can listen to our podcasts and study different breathing techniques from our manual.
For a more detailed and step-by-step guide on relaxation breathing techniques, check out our Hypnobirthing Relaxation Music, and always stay tuned to our blog!