Understanding The Importance of breathing During Labor

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Breathing is a wonderful distraction for contractions

Hello mamas! Did you know that breathing is one of the most important things you can do to make your labor less complicated? Breathing should be like second nature in labor. I have witnessed many moms over the past twenty years of my career that they do not practice breathing skills in preparation for labor. And so today I am going to help you understand the importance of your breathing during labor.

Understanding the elements that can affect labor

There are many common elements that can affect labor. In many instances women who go into labor and are not educated often are the victims of a poor birth experience. Knowledge is indeed power and breathing in labor does not have to be complicated at all. Some of the elements that can affect your labor include:

  • Excitement
  • Pain
  • Tiredness
  • Worries/anxiety
  • Fear
  • Contractions.

Throughout labor, any of these reactions may occur. Your regular breathing rhythm may be altered by these emotions in one of two ways:

  • Breathing deeply or holding your breath
  • Fearful breathing (hyperventilation).

These could exacerbate your tension, fear, and anxiety. During labor only your uterus should be working while you try to get your body in a relaxed state.

Breathing during the second stage of labor

Learning to breathe through the first stage helps you to graduate to the second stage. As the labor progresses, the surges become more intense and can be challenging. Remember labor is normal and natural, physiological process. Millions of women including myself have done this. What I want for you is that you be prepared during all of the stages of birth.

Contractions are felt as the uterine muscles tighten and the muscles of the cervix relax and open. Some may be experienced as backache, aching in legs or similar to deep cramp of period pain. It is important to maintain a regular breathing pattern to assist the uterus by:

  • Relaxing
  • Listening to your breathing –
  • Together with your birthmate
  • Before giving delivery, practice your breathing together.
  • Slow breathing, in particular, lowers heart rate, anxiety, and pain perception. It works in part because other sensations, like labor pain, recede to the edges of your awareness when breathing becomes a focus.
  • Use a phrase with your breathing. This is where your affirmations and bible scriptures come into play. This breathing technique is shorter than the destressor breathing you can link at here.


  • Breath in deeply and breathe out slowly focusing on relaxing your entire body, except for your uterus. Remember where you lead your mind, your body will follow. Mama you must be the one in control on that day.
  • ‘Breathe in through your nose and sigh out through my mouth’ (in 2,3 out 2,3).
    Breathe in through your nose and imagine that you are breathing in peace, tranquility, and joy; the joy of seeing your little star soon. As you sigh out, imagine that you are causing the release of fear, tension, anxiety, and worry.
  • You may find it useful to greet the contraction with a sigh and end with a sigh.

You and your birth partner can practice breathing together, before the birth.

Practice always makes improvement if it is intentional! Be intentional with your breathing during labor. When you are intentional , you take the focus off the pain and on the breathing. By doing this you also add more blood and oxygen to your baby and your uterus that is working hard to get baby out.

  • Think about the onset of a contraction
  • Sigh at the initial discomfort.
  • Breathe through the discomfort while relaxing
  • Sigh to close.
  • your birth companion

Additionally, your partner can help you time your breathing so you can practice how long each contraction lasts.
can adjust their breathing to match your own, can help you remember a phrase you’re using throughout labor, and can encourage you to relax and focus on your breathing throughout the process.

Another element that was helpful for me was the power to imagine anything I wanted. I thought that was so much power. I enjoyed listening to the ocean, walking on the beach, my uterus softening , my baby gently gliding down further and further without any resistance. All of this makes labor a good experience.

Breathing during the second stage – Transitional 8-(10 cms)

This breathing is more focused and deliberate as you near the final lap.

I hope you are understanding the importance of breathing during your labor.You can use it for ANYTHING that is uncomfortable to you during your hospital stay e.g vaginal exams, getting out of bed after having baby, on the toilet and passing stool and urine for the first time after baby.

  • Before giving delivery, practice your breathing together.
  • You must manage your breathing throughout the second stage of labor in order to assist with pushing your baby out. Work with your body, and pay attention to what it is trying to tell you. Your midwife might think she can assist you in this, though. While pushing, try not to hold your breath and to relax your pelvic floor muscles.
  • The midwife can tell you to stop pushing as the baby starts to come out, stretching the perineum. You might find some relief in this by panting.
  • The baby will emerge more slowly if the midwife / practitioner uses either gradual panting or gentle blowing (just forceful enough to cause a candle flame to flicker), which will allow her to manage the birth while attempting to prevent  tearing.
Breathing helps you to ease baby out of your birth canal smoothly


Now that we have come to the end of the importance of understanding breathing during labor:

It is my hope that as we come to the end of this presentation , you would have gained a better understanding of what to expect and how to navigate your labor experience. We covered:

  • Understanding the elements that can affect labor– We are now aware of the elements that can trigger a bad labor event
  • Breathing during the second stage of labor– We learned that breathing is focused, and deliberate. We learn that breathing is our life line for positive birth
  • Breathing during the second stage – Transitional -We learned that our breathing takes on a deeper focus, and intentionality as we welcome every surge with courage and grace -breathing in through our nose deeply, slowly, and out through our mouth slowly as we allow our entire body except for the uterus to relax. Mama the uterus, the contractions have a purpose and a focus, they do it much better if you let them take control of the jod they were created to do.
  • Learning to relaxation in labor is really understanding the importance of breathing during labor.

I would like to hear your comment below. What do you think about breathing during labor as a first or second time mom or what has this chapter taught you? Remember to stay positive during every stage of your labor because this is one of the things that makes labor so wonderful and cool!

About Maternal Treasures Birth and parenting education

It is truly our hope that you labor with confidence like a pro We are here to provide you with evidenced based resources, stories, and answers for expecting parents. To share your birth story or contribute an article, please contact Marilyn Smith @ https://maternaltreasures@gmail.com

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