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How to Do Breathing Exercises During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, you can breathe deeply through your nose by engaging the lower abdomen while you slowly inhale to fill your belly. Exhale slowly and steadily through your mouth.

To do breathing exercises during pregnancy, breathe deeply through your nose by engaging the lower abdomen while you slowly inhale to fill your belly. Exhale slowly and steadily through your mouth.

There are many benefits to doing breathing exercises during pregnancy. We’ll discuss some common types of breathing exercises along with answering some commonly asked questions pregnant women have. Deep breathing exercises in general highly beneficial and essential to experience a more enjoyable pregnancy.

Table of Contents

Benefits of Breathing During Pregnancy

Breathing exercises are beneficial for anyone, but especially for pregnant women. There are many benefits to adopting a routine of daily breath work. It is an easy practice that improves the pregnancy from the first trimester to the delivery room.

Reduces Stress

Breathing exercises are highly addictive because they are so relaxing for the body and mind. They provide an easy way to immediately lower muscular tension. When practiced consistently, you will likely have a very relaxing pregnancy.

Eases Discomfort

Pregnant women have plenty of reasons to experience discomfort. Since deep breath work increases blood flow to the entire body, you will immediately feel relief from any discomfort you may have.

Prepares for Labor

The National Library of Medicine discusses a trial that proves the effectiveness of breathing exercises during the second stage of labor. The study concluded that breathing exercises improve labor pain and duration.

Optimizes Oxygen Flow

Fresh oxygen revitalizes all body systems. During pregnancy, you want a steady supply of quality oxygen to help your developing fetus thrive. Your unborn baby needs fresh nutrients that can only delivered through oxygenated blood.

Promotes Mind-Body Connection

When you quiet your mind and focus on your breathing, you immediately connect your body to your mind. It is a conscious practice that requires focus, which provides the mind with much-needed rest.

Getting Started: Basics of Breath Work

Shallow and Deep Breaths

You’ll want to aim for slow deep breathing. Pay attention to your diaphragm, which is the muscle that moves up and down as you inhale and exhale. The American Lung Association states that the diaphragm performs approximately 80% of the work it takes to breathe.

Neutral Position for Optimal Results

Find a relaxing and neutral position to perform breath work. Ideally, you’ll have an uninterrupted session in a quiet place where you can relax and focus on the exercises.

Preparing to Practice Breath Work

To prepare for breath work, be sure to wear comfortable clothing. Wear non-restrictive garments that keep you at a comfortable temperature. Before you begin, set an intention that you will clear your mind and focus on your breathing. It’s also recommended to do the exercises on an empty stomach.

Common Types of Breathing Exercises During Pregnancy

Abdominal or Belly Breathing

Also known as “stomach breathing,” this technique involves sitting in a comfortable position with your legs folded. Place one hand below your abdomen and the other above it. Breathe in deeply and slowly while you feel your belly rising, filling up with air. Exhale slowly and steadily. Continue breathing repeating for about 10 minutes.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing focuses on using your diaphragm as a reference point instead of your belly. Perform this technique while standing up straight with your feet facing forward and evenly positioned.

Feel your chest rise with your hands while breathing in through your nose. Count to eight slowly as you breathe in. Then, feel your hand rising as you inhale and the lungs expand. Exhale through your nose for about the same length of time you did on the inhale.

Variable Speed Breathing

This type of breathing is mostly utilized by pregnant women who are entering the second stage of labor. Variable speed breathing helps the body recharge and provides a calming effect. You may be familiar with this technique from the unique sounds you recognize from Lamaze classes.

Organizing the Breath

During the first stage of labor, you have to start with slow deep breaths when contractions start and slowly release the breath. It releases physical tension all over the body. Pause slightly after you inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.

Cleansing Breath Exercise

To have an easier delivery, a deep cleansing breath is very helpful. Allow the breath to come from the abdomen instead of the chest. It is a very deep intense breath in through the nose and out through the mouth.

Slow Counted Breath Exercise

Slowly counting to eight as you inhale and again as you exhale is a common pace for most pregnant women. Choose a rhythm that feels comfortable to you. The whole point of breathing exercises is to relax the whole body.

When to Practice Breath Work During Pregnancy

Breath work can be practiced when you feel it is best for your daily routine. You can perform them while lying down, sitting, or standing. Get to know your body and customize your routine. Incorporate your breathing exercises with affirmations and some quality time with your baby.

Early Stages of Pregnancy

Start practicing breathing exercises as soon as possible. The more you are familiarized with the techniques that work for you, the better you’ll feel performing them while pregnant. The earlier you get started the more efficient you’ll become at later stages of your pregnancy.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I start breathing exercises during pregnancy?

Start breathing exercises as soon as possible. The more familiar you are with them, the more effective they will be.

What is the best breathing exercise during pregnancy?

For most women, the best breathing exercise during pregnancy is deep abdominal breath work. It is an effective technique that prepares and relaxes you for birth.

How can I solve my breathing problem during pregnancy?

If you encounter an episode of difficult breathing, start by raising your upper body to a sitting or standing position. Be sure there is plenty of humidity in the room. If episodes don’t improve or they recur, contact our OBGYN immediately. If you become dizzy or faint, seek medical attention immediately.

What type of breathing is done during pregnancy?

There are several types of breathing exercises you can perform during pregnancy including Lamaze breathing, organized breathing, and variable breathing.

Is belly breathing good for pregnancy?

Belly breathing is not the best exercise for pregnant women. Instead of belly breathing, diaphragmatic breathing is better for the mother and baby.

What is the proper breathing technique?

You must find the techniques that work best for your individual needs. Generally, to breathe properly, inhale through the nose while counting to eight and exhale through the mouth at the same pace. Breathe deeply and steadily.

Is walking long distances good for pregnancy?

Walking is one of the best exercises for pregnant women. However, you want to take frequent breaks and not overexert yourself. The distance you can safely walk while pregnant is determined by several factors including your level of athleticism, status of pregnancy, and other considerations.

What are the benefits of breathing during pregnancy?

In addition to relaxing the entire body, breathing exercises calm the mind as well. Breath work also helps to oxygenate the body, supplying fresh nutrients to the developing fetus.

Is it safe to do breathing exercises during pregnancy?

Yes, breath work is one of the most essential activities a pregnant woman should practice. It is completely safe when performed with instructed techniques. Never strain in any way or hold your breath to accomplish an exercise.

What trimester is shortness of breath?

Many pregnant women experience shortness of breath in the second trimester, which lasts about 28 weeks.

Why is breathing difficult during pregnancy?

As the baby grows, the size of your uterus expands and the baby puts pressure against your lungs. Additionally, since you are carrying extra weight, it can make it difficult to breathe as you normally would.

When to start breathing exercises during pregnancy?

The sooner you start breath work, the better. You want your body to adapt to the exercises early so that when the baby grows significantly, your body will be accustomed to the exercises.

Benefits of breathing exercises during pregnancy

There are several benefits to practicing breath work while pregnant including increasing oxygenation, relaxing the body and mind, improving lung capacity, and providing the baby with fresh nutrients.

Breathing exercises during labor

During labor, breathing exercises help to relax the body and muscular release tension. It provides the woman with a rhythmic focus that makes delivery easier. Follow the guidance of your nurses and doctors to execute the breath work effectively during labor. Not all women are the same, which is why it is so important to engage your healthcare team.