Childbirth Breathing Techniques

Although the midwife at my prenatal class said she wouldn’t teach us any particular breathing techniques for labor because our body knows how to breathe, my thirst for knowledge won. I picked up HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing (3rd Edition) and here’s what I learned about breathing techniques for childbirth:

SLEEP BREATHING is a relaxation technique designed to help you enter a relaxed state so that you can continue with imagery and visualization practice. Draw in a breath from your stomach. To a count of four, mentally recite “In-2-3-4” on the intake. Feel your stomach rise as you draw the breath up and into the back of your throat. As you exhale, mentally recite “Out-2-3-4-5-6-7-8.” Do not exhale through your mouth. Breathe your body down into relaxation.

SLOW BREATHING is the technique to use throughout the thinning and opening phased of birthing when you experience a uterine surge. The goal is to make your breath as long as possible. Slowly and gradually draw in your breath to a rapid count from 1 to 20+, as though you were inflating your belly. Exhale equally slowly. Never hold your breath. While breathing in, focus your attention on your rising abdomen and bring the surge up as much as you can; visualize filling a balloon inside your abdomen as you draw in. As you exhale slowly visualize the balloon drifting off into space. (You will see that this technique is very similar to what I learnt at my first prenatal lesson.)

BIRTH BREATHING is the technique to use when you are breathing your baby down through the birth path to emergence during birthing phase. The best place to practice this style is on the toilet as you are moving your bowels. Your breaths are short intakes with gentle nudging breaths downward – nothing forceful. Placing the tip of your tongue at the place where your front teeth and palate meet will help your lower jaw to recede so that you remain free of tension in your mouth and jaw area. This will also help to relax the vaginal outlet.

It’s very reassuring to know that there are all these different breathing techniques available. I however think I will make a mix of the different schools and do the breathing I have trained myself to use in my daily meditation (I write about it in depth in my book Read Me – I Am Magical: Open Me and I Will Reveal 12 Secrets to Love, Happiness & Personal Power. As You Leaf Through Me See How Remarkable You Feel)

(Photo: credit to


You might also like:

Prenatal Classes – Lesson 1

Affirmations For Childbirth

Your Childbirth Options

Hospital Bag For Labor Checklist

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Categories: Childbirth, Pregnancy Week by Week

Author:Alinka Rutkowska

Alinka is a best-selling and award-winning Children's Author.


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