Guest Post by Olga Morkova
As a birth doula, I work with couples who prepare for birth through various childbirth methods, each containing different techniques to breathe their baby into the world. Women who have tried HypnoBirthing breathing techniques during their birth, whether they learned them from a HypnoBirthing childbirth class or heard about them for the first time from their doula, have consistently expressed to me that it made their birth much easier. In this blog post, you can read about the 3 techniques and learn when to use them.
The three birthing techniques are:
- Calm breathing
- Wave breathing
- Breathing the baby down
During your birth, you can use calm breathing in between your contractions (or waves, as we refer to them HypnoBirthing. Before the birth, you can use this technique to keep yourself relaxed, when practicing relaxations or falling asleep.
To practice calm breathing, assume a comfortable position – either a lateral position with a pillow between your knees or a nesting position supporting your neck, elbows, and knees with pillows.
Allow your eyelids to gently close. Consciously drop and relax your jaw, neck and whole body. Slowly inhale through your nose (or mouth) to the count of four. Breathe in 1, 2, 3, 4. Slowly exhale through your nose (or mouth) to the count of eight. Breathe out 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. On the out breath, allow your breath to drift down into the chest, stomach and down through the entire body. Feel your shoulders sink into the frame of your body. Repeat four times or as needed until completely relaxed.
We use wave breathing during uterine waves (known as contractions), starting from the very beginning of your labor up to the moment when you start feeling downward pressure and the need to breathe the baby down. Your doula can help you to recognize and acknowledge that moment when needed.
To practice wave breathing, assume a comfortable position (lateral or nesting, as described above). Put your hands gently around your belly, close to the pubic bone. Imagine that you are filling an inner balloon as you slowly draw the breath from the pubic bone all the way up (inhaling gently through your nose) for as long as you can go (counting up to 20). Then, breathe out (again through your nose), directing the energy of the breath down. Repeat for as long as your wave lasts. Switch to calm breathing in between the waves.
BREATHING BABY DOWN
Breathing baby down, also called J breathing, is a great technique that can replace the forceful pushing that is so commonly used in birth. The benefits of this technique include minimizing tearing, reduced chances of episiotomy and hyperventilation, as well as offering baby a gentle entrance into the world. You use this technique in labor when you start feeling downward, pressure all the way up until the baby is born.
To practice this technique, take a quick breath in through your nose, and then exhale with a long downward breath out. As you exhale, visualize directing your breath along the back of your throat into your spine and all the way down through your birth path. You can practice this breathing prenatally when going to the bathroom.
I hope these techniques will help you to have a calmer and easier birth.
Olga Morkova is a birth doula and a HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator who serves Washington DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland. She runs a company called OM Doula Care.