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Tips for Childbirth: Breathing Exercises and Other Techniques

Judes Schwangere im Krankenhaus Atemübungen und sonstige Tipps für die Geburt

Photo by Jimmy Conover on Unsplash


The impending birth is an exciting and emotionally charged time for many. Along with all the joy that a new life brings, there can be many questions and uncertainties, especially if it's your first child. Birth is a natural and yet such an individual process that it can be helpful to prepare for it well. In particular, breathing exercises and various relaxation techniques can play a crucial role and help you experience birth as self-determined and conscious as possible. Because you are the main actor, the director of your own experience - and that is an incredibly powerful position.

Why are breathing techniques important for childbirth? Breathing exercises are important during childbirth because they can help alleviate pain, reduce stress, and optimize oxygen supply for both mother and baby. Furthermore, they support the mother in better controlling her body, maintaining a positive focus, and using energy efficiently. 

Below we have summarized the most important benefits of breathing exercises. We also introduce you to some breathing techniques and give you more tips for a gentle birth.

What Role Does Breathing Play During Childbirth?

One of the main reasons why breathing is so important during childbirth is its direct connection to the nervous system. Deep, conscious breathing can help activate the so-called parasympathetic nervous system, our ""rest and digest" nerve," which assists in relaxation and stress reduction. This can be an enormous advantage during childbirth. Through breathing, you can actively contribute to calming your body and mind and manage contractions better.

Oxygen Supply for Mother and Child

Another important aspect is supplying your body and your baby with oxygen. With deep, conscious breathing, more oxygen enters your blood, which is then passed on to your baby. This can help support the health and well-being of your child during birth.

Pain Relief through Conscious Breathing

Last but not least, focused and conscious breathing can also help alleviate pain. It is scientifically proven that deep, rhythmic breathing can reduce the perception of pain. By concentrating on your breathing, you divert your attention away from contractions and towards a conscious and soothing action.


What Types of Breathing Techniques Are There for Childbirth?

There are various breathing techniques that you can actively use during childbirth. Each has its own benefits and can be helpful at different stages of the birthing process. Here are some techniques you might consider:

Deep Breathing: Relaxation and Pain Relief

Deep breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is a simple yet effective technique that can help you relax and better manage pain. With this technique, you breathe deeply into your belly, so that your abdomen expands as you inhale and contracts as you exhale. Deep breathing helps to relax the body and can also alleviate pain.

Panting Breath: Energy for the Final Phase

Panting breath, also known as light breathing, can be particularly useful as the birth progresses and during the expulsive phase of labor. You breathe quickly and shallowly, almost like a panting dog. This breathing technique can help you maintain energy and gather strength for the final phase of childbirth.

Breath Holding: Control and Focus

Another technique is briefly holding your breath during contractions. You hold your breath while you push with a contraction. This technique can help you concentrate your energies and focus on pushing. However, it is important that you only hold your breath for a short time and then breathe deeply and calmly again.

Birth Breathing: Connection and Rhythm

Birth breathing is a technique that can help you find a rhythm during childbirth and establish a deep connection with your body and your baby. With this technique, you exhale slowly and controlled, as if you were blowing through a straw. Imagine helping your baby make their way into the world with each breath.

Remember: There is no "right" or "wrong" way to breathe during childbirth. It's about finding the technique that best helps you relax, manage pain, and connect with your baby. The key is conscious breathing. Try out the different breathing techniques and see which one feels best for you. Also, try to consciously allow sounds when exhaling. 

Special Breathing Techniques

Besides the basic breathing exercises that you generally learn in childbirth preparation classes, there are additional techniques that can accompany you through your childbirth. Below we introduce two of these techniques:

  • Ujjayi Breathing Technique - Focus and Serenity:

The Ujjayi breathing technique, which originates from yoga, is another breathing technique that can be useful during childbirth. In this technique, you breathe deeply and slowly exhale, creating a slight resistance in the throat, similar to the sound you make when you fog up a mirror. The Ujjayi breathing technique can help you deepen your focus and create a state of calm and serenity. It promotes oxygen supply and can help reduce tension.

  • Lamaze Breathing Technique - Control and Awareness:

The Lamaze breathing technique, named after its founder Dr. Fernand Lamaze, is a technique aimed at promoting awareness of one's own body and control over the birthing process. The technique includes a series of breathing exercises, including short, rapid breathing (similar to panting breath) and slow, deep breathing (similar to deep breathing), which are applied in different phases of childbirth. This technique is often part of childbirth preparation classes and aims to help you experience birth as a natural, manageable process.

Judes Pregnant in Bathtub with Flowers Breathing Exercises and Other Tips for Birth

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Breathing Exercises During Childbirth - How to Stay Relaxed

Practice in Advance: Be Well Prepared

One of the best ways to ensure that you can breathe effectively during childbirth is to practice the breathing techniques in advance. Start a few weeks or months before your due date to familiarize yourself with the different breathing exercises and incorporate them into your daily routine. This way, you can find out which techniques help you relax and reduce stress the best.

Stay Calm and Relaxed: Don't Let Stress Overwhelm You

Childbirth can be a stressful experience, and it's completely normal to feel tense or nervous. However, try to remain calm and relaxed nonetheless. Your breathing can help you with this: If you notice that you're getting upset or scared, focus on your breathing. Breathe deeply in and out and remind yourself that you are capable of handling this experience.

Positive Affirmations: Strengthen Your Self-Confidence

Positive affirmations can be very helpful during childbirth. As you breathe, repeat positive statements in your head like ""I am strong"", ""I can do this"" or ""I trust my body"". These phrases can help you strengthen your self-confidence and focus on the positive aspects of childbirth.

Birth Plan: Clarify Your Preferences

A birth plan can help you to document your wishes and preferences for childbirth and to share them with your birthing team. For example, you can specify which breathing techniques you would like to use and how your team can support you with them. Even though changes can naturally occur during childbirth, a birth plan gives you a sense of control and security. Ensure that everyone present knows the key points of your birth plan.

Childbirth is an intense and life-changing experience. With the right preparation, including practicing breathing techniques, you can make this experience more conscious, calm, and self-determined. Trust yourself and your body - you have the strength and ability to perform this miracle.

Additional Tips for a Gentle and Relaxed Birth

Besides proper breathing, there are many other techniques and methods that can help you make childbirth as gentle and positive as possible.

Relaxation Techniques: Find Your Inner Calm

Various relaxation techniques such as Meditation, autogenic training, or progressive muscle relaxation can help you calm down during childbirth and reduce tension. Similar to breathing techniques, it's helpful to practice these methods during pregnancy so that they come more naturally during childbirth.

Movement and Positions: Utilize Gravity

Different birthing positions and gentle movement can support the birth process and alleviate discomfort. Whether standing, walking, squatting, or being on all fours - experiment beforehand with various positions and find out what feels good to you. Use gravity to your advantage during childbirth.

Birth Support: Seek Assistance

Having a loving and competent birth support, whether it be from a partner, a doula, or a midwife, can be very helpful during childbirth. These individuals can support you, encourage you, and help you maintain your focus and breathing.

Mindfulness and Self-Care: Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to your body and your needs throughout the entire birthing process. Take time for breaks, drink plenty of water, and have a nutritious meal if needed. The better you take care of yourself, the better you can handle the challenges of childbirth.

A gentle birth is a very personal experience. There is not one right way, but rather what is right for you and empowers you. Try different techniques, trust in yourself, and allow yourself to create your very own birthing experience. You already possess all the abilities and strength you need for this special moment. Believe in yourself.

Judes Mom Breastfeeding Baby Breathing Exercises and Other Tips for Birth

Photo by @ablondegirlsjourney

Judes - Gentle and Relaxed Even After Birth

Even after the birth, there are decisions to be made and a new routine to structure. On one important issue, we can already help you: choosing the right diapers.

We at Judes stand for sustainability, health, and simplicity, and our diapers reflect exactly that. Judes cloth diapers are washable and can be used throughout the entire diapering period. More than that: our diapers can be worn by up to four children. And the best part: In application, Judes are just as easy to use as disposable diapers. Many users even report that Judes are even easier to use. 

Here are the advantages you can expect when you choose Judes:

  • Environmentally Friendly: Judes are reusable and reduce waste generated by disposable diapers. 
  • Cost-Efficient: Although the initial investment may be higher, cloth diapers are often cheaper than disposable diapers in the long run.
  • Gentle on Baby's Skin: Cloth diapers are made from natural materials, which are often softer on sensitive baby skin.
  • Chemical-Free: Judes cloth diapers contain no chemical ingredients that may be found in many disposable diapers.
  • Less Diaper Rash: Studies suggest that babies wearing cloth diapers are less likely to develop diaper rash.
  • Earlier Potty Training: It is often reported that children in cloth diapers become potty trained quicker.
  • Adaptable: Our cloth diapers come in two sizes. They grow optimally with your child. 
  • Aesthetically Appealing: Cloth diapers come in many different colors and patterns.
  • Sustainability: Cloth diapers are a sustainable choice that conserves resources and contributes to the reduction of plastic waste.


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