Your breath is the single most important thing in your life. Why? It keeps you alive! Our breath is the movement of air in and out of us – inhalation and exhalation. It is truly centered around movement and this movement provides us life and affects us on many levels. The speed of our breath is easily associated to how we feel and what we are thinking. Especially during pregnancy, our breath is our strength. You will be able to influence many aspects of your pregnancy, body and health by influencing and managing your breath.
Take some time to notice your breath during various times of the day. Do you notice any differences? What if you had an especially stressful day? Or in a situation where someone made your blood boil? We tend to take shallow breaths when we are agitated or scared and this is usually accompanied by tightening of the body’s muscles. It is extremely involuntary for so many of us. When this happens, while you don’t notice it that day, the next day, you may feel sore in certain areas.
Creating a practice of first noticing the breath and being in the present moment helps us to look inward and get to know ourselves better. You really are giving yourself the attention you need and deserve. Without the breath, you wouldn’t be alive, so, paying attention to it surely is beneficial.
Your Breath During Pregnancy
During Pregnancy, it is even more important for you to focus on your breath! Why? Because you are literally breathing for two! Not only that, stress affects the baby and breathing practices help to regulate and minimize stress. It helps the body physically process the emotional weight of stress and can help you calm your mind and disperse your agitation. This has an immediate and every important effect on your baby.
In addition to helping to minimize and regulate stress, breathing is an integral part of labor. Pregnancy breathing helps to physically relax and soften the muscles and helps deal with pain. Being able to utilize your breath effectively to manage labor helps you progress. This is because you can help reduce muscular tension and allow the body to open up. The uterus is a muscle so there is a beautiful balance between relaxation and efficiency and work. The focus that breath control can give also allows one to mentally overcome challenges, especially the challenge of labor.
Finally, the pushing phase of labor, right before delivery can be significantly affected by the breath. I always tell my clients, “Your Breath is your strength.” When you are delivering your baby, this is what you rely on to help you. It allows you to accomplish two seemingly different things simultaneously. Certain pregnancy breathing exercises allow you to push your baby out while still allowing you to provide both you and your baby oxygen. Many usually just hold their breath. Being able to modulate your breath helps you to manage this third stage and have more control over the delivery.
Create a Breathing Practice and Start Early
When you create a habit, it literally becomes a part of you and comes easily. Most first time moms (and even second timers) still anticipate with anxiety the birth of their baby. The unknown can tend to make people nervous. When you create a breathing practice early in pregnancy (or even before) and practice it during pregnancy, you will create an innate ability for your body to know what it is supposed to do…. without even thinking about it when you are in labor! It will not only provide connection ( to yourself and baby), it will help to ground you and get through the journey of labor and birth!