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Breathing for pregnancy and labour

The last thing you need when you are in labour is to try to remember some complicated breathing technique.  Instead, in this section, we will teach you how to remain calm and in touch with your body, trusting that it knows what to do and to let the natural progression of labour dictate the way you breathe.

During Pregnancy

Take some time each day to rest in a quiet place, just focusing on your breathing.  Place your hand on your abdomen and notice it rise as you breathe in.  If you are feeling tense, stressed or afraid you may find that that your abdomen is not rising and your breathing seems to be shallow and taking place high up in your chest.  If this is the case you will need to consciously direct your breathing so that your abdomen pushes out on the in-breath and in on the out breath.  At first this may feel a little unnatural but practice for a few minutes each day and it won’t be long before it becomes very easy.  Switching to this type of breathing if you feel fear or panic rising, is a great way to relieve the jitters.

During birth

The most effective thing you can do during birth is to keep gently active. Obviously don’t wear yourself out as you will need your energy later.  Just gently stroll, sway or rock your hips back and forth.  




If you can purchase a birth ball, these are great for rocking and moving your pelvis around. They are soft and comfortable and force good posture.  They encourage baby to take up the correct position in your womb.

When you are engaged in this natural movement and your tightening waves come, your body will naturally adjust its breathing accordingly. Focus on, and notice these changes of breathing pattern. Imagine any discomfort floating away with your out-breath. If it feels natural to make sounds, then do so.

Trust your body, it knows what to do.