Here is the second instalment of the serialisation of my little book – enjoy and do email if you have any questions – firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can come and try one of our pregnancy yoga classes on either Tuesday or Wednesday at 18:00. The first class is FREE, but please get in contact to reserve your mat space in advance.
Why breathing and not anything else?
We all need to breathe to nourish and nurture our bodies. It is a natural resource that we have. No matter which position we give birth in, focus on the breath will help us stay calm, collected and focused on the job in hand. As the importance of using the breath and being a supportive birthing partner becomes more apparent, you can see that being a birth partner is a big job! This is why I focus on breathing so that the job does not appear overwhelming. Remembering that breathing is a vital part of giving birth.
“No other natural bodily function is painful and childbirth should not be an exception”. ~Grantley Dick-Read, M.D.
Sections within the guide
I have broken this guide down in to sections relating to the different breathing techniques I feel are most useful and relevant to the birth scenario. There are others, should you choose to research further, but these are the ones that I teach and feel are the most accessible and of most benefit to practice.
A word to the wise
This guide should be read in advance of labour and the techniques practiced and refined of each couple’s ease, in advance of their big day. Use your own wisdom, anything that doesn’t feel right or suitable should be discarded. Remember that this is only a guide and that you should be prepared to modify your approach on the day as you discover what works.
What is that phrase common today ‘keep calm and carry on’? The same is true to breathing during labour. In my opinion, keeping calm, focused and carrying on is of the upmost importance when going through labour. It is hard work for most women, it is painful for most women (let’s call pain, sensation) and it is also tiring for most women and their partners. So we need to be prepared!
In my yoga classes, as with many that are held in the antenatal period, I teach our blooming ladies how to breath during birth, but as many of us teachers are not present when the babies actually arrive, you, as the birthing partner, need to pick up the shepherd’s crook and guide your proverbial flock along.
The Techniques Continued
So what breathing techniques are there and what ones can we use? Here is a list of the techniques that I recommend to practice in advance of the big day.
1). Ujjayi breathing (victorious breath) to help when trying to relax
2). Golden Thread Breathing to help breathing through contractions
3). Balloon Breathing to help breathing through contractions
4). Counted breath practice to help breathing through contractions
5). Lift breathing to help with pushing and holding energy during delivery
Details of the practices are given below.
Nicola is the founder of Yoga at the Reach on Eccelsall Road, Sheffield, S11. She teaches pregnancy, baby and post natal yoga and runs partner birth rehearsal classes as well as baby massage courses. Yoga at the Reach also offer hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga, mysore-style and blokes yoga in addition to yoga for older folk, rest and relax events and mindfulness classes. They also run workshops throughout the year. Visit www.yogaatthereach.com for more details.