Why are breathing techniques so great for labour?

If you’ve ever heard about hypnobirthing – or even if you haven’t you will have probably heard from someone that breathing techniques in labour can be a gamechanger!

I myself have had both a vaginal birth and a caesarean birth and I can honestly say that whilst both of my children’s births were completely different, the breathing techniques were an incredible tool.

A lot of people may see them as a nice to have but actually.. the techniques is very much based on science!

Even when teaching my classes, I often say that above all else.. its important to recognise practicing good breathing techniques.

So why is our breath so important during birth?

During birth, we produce a variety of different hormones that help support the birthing process – essentially, we want our body to be in the rest and digest system so that all of our blood in the body goes to our internal organs, our uterus (or womb) muscles which are contracting in order to let our babies out and also to our babies.

If the body undergoes a lot of stress or anxiety in labour, this can take us into fight or flight mode and its much harder for these hormones to be produced.

With calm breathing techniques, we are able to work with our bodies better in order for us to feel calm – not only can this support our labours, it can help us to think clearly should we need to make decisions about what is best during the birth (birth partners are great at advocating for you too!)

Not only is it important to feel calm during surges or contractions, its important to feel calm and safe during a c-section or any other type of birth for that matter!

With any type of birth, once our baby is born – oxytocin which helps to fuel the birth process then goes on to help support us with supporting our new born baby (please note you produce oxytocin in other ways too, for example, skin to skin with your baby!).

Is there more than one breathing technique in hypnobirthing?

During the second stage of labour (or commonly known as the pushing stage of labour) there is often a second breathing technique which birthers use in order to breathe their babies out.

Often referred to as down breathing this almost panting breathing can help us to slow down this stage in order to help prevent tearing or it is often used as a distraction tool as well (we only push during a contraction, however, the sensation of our baby being so low can often make us continue to want to push!).

Whether your looking to invest in a hypnobirthing course or another antenatal preparation class – its absolutely worth practicing breathing techniques throughout the duration of your pregnancy, not only will they help you during antenatal appointment or in preparation for your baby – they are a great way to prepare in a positive way for the birth of your baby!

How can my partner support me in labour?

Having the support of your partner in labour is so important, whilst we are labouring, its really difficult for us to focus on what’s going on around us and if we try – it really prevents our bodies from being able to open up to birth our babies.

Birth really is about teamwork, whether you have a birth partner or not – support is so important and can also come from other people such as midwives and doulas. However, if you do have a partner, them having a clear role at birth really helps them to feel involved ??⠀ ⠀

Have a read of these top tips for how to get your partner involved in the birth of your baby!

Massage – This could either be at the bottom of your back, your hips, or any other area – it’s a great way to release any tension ⠀ ⠀

Voice – Their voice can be a huge reassurance, they could read affirmations, talk about your favourite memories or just be silent for a while if that’s what your body is wanting ⠀ ⠀

Keeping you hydrated and fed (if your in the mood!) is so important to help you maintain your energy so that you can concentrate on your labour⠀

Take part in a hypnobirthing class with you so that they fully understand how our bodies and minds work in labour as well as how to fully support you in the ways that you need! ⠀

Writing the birth preferences together so that they are fully aware of what you want as well as understanding fully what everything on it means. What are your givens for any birth? Make sure your partner knows!

Be the main contact for conversations during labour so that you can remain in your birthing zone – you focus on you and your baby, your partner can focus on the rest.⠀ ⠀

There are tonnes more ways that your partner can support during labour and during my classes, couples develop their own toolkits in order to prepare for birth – head over to my classes page to see what classes are currently available!

How to adapt a hospital room for the birth of your baby

There are many different reasons as to why you may want a hospital birth and many reasons why you might not, either way – it’s up to you. Hypnobirthing is all about making the decision that works best for you.

Either way, birth has twists and turns and there are sometimes those times where a hospital birth may be the best option for you and your baby.

How can we change a hospital room to make it have a more homely feel?

Although many hospitals are investing money and time into improving their facilities, traditional labour wards tend to be slightly more clinical than a birth center or your own home. There are plenty of ways that you can change and adapt the space to make it feel more like yours, after all – this is your birthing zone and it needs to feel right for you!

  • Turn off the lights and put up fairy lights or battery-powered candles – this way, you don’t have to look at the room around you and it has a much cosier feel
  • Ask people to knock and talk in quiet voices if they need to come into the room – This will really help you to remain in your birthing zone, if you have a birth partner, ask them to become the gatekeeper!
  • Invest in your favourite scent or essential oil – Use a room spray or diffuser to make the room feel a little more luxurious – Lavender or wild orange are both great scents for pregnancy and birth!
  • Move the bed to one side of the room – At the end of the day, we go to the hospital to give birth because that’s where the majority of health professionals are based, it doesn’t mean that you need to lay in the bed and act like a patient! If you can, work with your body in active birth positions to help bring your baby down. Throw all the bags on the bed or use it as a prop!
  • Stick up pictures and affirmations so that you’ve got a reminder of home. Every time you look at pictures of happy memories, you will feel safe and will find it easier to focus on your labour.
  • Bring in a few home comforts or your birth ball to help you feel more comfortable

Are there any more things that you would suggest to take with you to adapt a hospital room to give birth? Write them below in the comments!

If you would like an online hypnobirthing course or would like to look at doing a face to face hypnobirthing class in Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate or surrounding areas towards the later months of 2020 – get in touch for further information.

With intense hypnobirthing classes, private hypnobirthing classes and group hypnobirthing classes available, there is something for everyone, whether its your first baby or fifth!

Why it’s important to create a calming home environment

So, by now – you are probably sick of hearing everything to do with coronavirus, yet, there is some really important information that people should read and understand in order to help with their mental health and happy hormones during this time.

Hypnobirthing is based on science and logic and some of the skills and information that is taught in a class are useful not only for pregnancy but for every member of the family in everyday life.

Why is it so important?

Our bodies compromise of 2 nervous systems – our parasympathetic nervous system and our sympathetic nervous system with the latter being more commonly known as the ‘fight or flight’ response system. The fight or flight response was designed to help us in a life-threatening situation, yet our very clever brains just can’t fathom out the difference between real and pretend threats and therefore start to release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.

This basically means if your feeling stressed, for example, watching too many negative things on TV – your body begins to release these hormones (that you don’t actually at that time as TV isn’t a real threat!) need and therefore makes you feel more anxious.

Instead, we want to be in the parasympathetic nervous system which is the system of calm – the important thing to note is that you can’t be in both systems at the same time.

Particularly if your pregnant, or a new mum – this system is really beneficial not only for you but for your baby as you produce hormones such as endorphins and oxytocin which is crucial for bonding with your baby.

So what sorts of things can I do to stay in the calm nervous system whilst at home?

  • Only watch small doses of TV which will produce adrenaline like the news or TV shows are action/violence based. Instead – take the opportunity to watch your favourite shows, comedies which make you laugh and romantic films which make you feel soppy (cheesy.. but it works!!)
  • Positive Statements and Affirmations – Whether you are pregnant or not, find some affirmations that make you feel confident – ‘I am strong’ is such a powerful one – print it off, pop it on your phone, say it to yourself when your feeling particularly anxious.
  • Take a long deep breath every time your anxious – I always suggest to pregnant clients to do it every time they walk through a door frame, by doing this, you automatically settle your system back down
  • Use some of your time at home to create a scrapbook of pictures or memories – looking at those we love and memories we cherish produces oxytocin!
  • Limit your phone use and take this time to invest in self-care – a yoga class, gardening, reading – whatever you enjoy, even doing this for 10 minutes a day will massively benefit you!

If you like these ideas, feel free to leave a comment or share your own ideas – its great to hear what other people do to create their best environment, pregnant or not!

If you liked this post, why not read one of my others below.