Breathing Techniques for Childbirth

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Breathing Techniques for Childbirth

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As your due date draws nearer, learn and practice controlled breathing techniques for pain management during childbirth. Concentrating on your breathing will help distract you from pain, relax both your muscles and your mind, and keep your oxygen supply up.

If you haven't learned specific breathing techniques (such as Lamaze) in a childbirth education class, practice the following breathing patterns before you go into labour:

  • In early labour, use abdominal breathing, at about 6 to 9 breaths per minute. As you inhale, expand your abdomen outward; as you exhale, relax your abdomen downward.
  • As your contractions become more intense, exhale in a "pant-pant-blow" pattern, about 6 cycles per minute.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Donald Sproule, MD, CM, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised February 18, 2010

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