Breathing exercises during pregnancy might help you deal with stress during pregnancy better. Practicing deep breathing exercises and maintaining your well-being can help you have a healthy pregnancy. But just a deep breath in and a deep breath out might not do the trick. So read on to know about a few easy breathing exercises that you can integrate into your daily routine during pregnancy to deal with those exhausting nine months.
4 Effective Breathing Exercises During Pregnancy:
There are a few breathing exercises in pregnancy that you can try. The exercises may look easy now, but as your uterus grows, you’ll realize breathing isn’t that easy! (1)
So, start practicing these breathing exercises for pregnant women today.
1. Abdominal Breathing:
Whether it is yoga, Pilates or tai chi – abdominal breathing forms the foundation of a good workout session. This form of breathing helps to expand the lungs and breath in more air. It also strengthens the abdominal muscles.
How To Do:
- Lie down with your back to the ground and knees bent. During the later stages of your pregnancy, try lying on your side. Get a cushion to make it more comfortable.
- Now, place your right hand on the belly and the left on your chest.
- Breathe in through your nose.
- You’ll feel your abdomen push your hand up.
- Your chest should be still during this process.
- Next, breathe out. You will feel your belly deflating when you exhale.
2. Counting Breaths:
When you count your breaths, you can help your body and mind relax. It is a great exercise and will come handy during labor!
How To Do:
- Lie down with your back on the floor.
- Place one hand on your belly while the other rests on your chest.
- Breathe in deeply to a count of five.
- Hold your breath for a count of eight.
- Now breath out slowly, to a count of nine.
- Try to push all the air out of your lungs as you breathe out.
- Simultaneously, try and relax your body.
3. Roll Breathing:
Roll breathing allows you to use your lungs to its optimum capacity. It also helps you get in tune with your breathing rhythm. This is one particular breathing exercise during pregnancy, which offers a great way to relax your achy muscles!
How To Do:
- Begin as you did in the abdominal breathing exercise – supine, with one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
- Bend your knees.
- Repeat deep breathing for eight to ten breathing cycles.
- If you pay attention, you’ll notice that your abdomen will rise and then fall back while your chest rises – almost like a rolling wave.
- As you breathe out, make a whooshing sound as both your hands go down.
4. Ujjayi Breathing:
Apart from deep breathing exercises, there are few yogic breathing techniques during pregnancy that can help you. The best yogic exercise to try is ujjayi breathing. You can maximize your body’s energy level with this particular yogic breathing exercise.
How To Do:
- Breathe in and out deeply through your nose.
- Keep your mouth closed throughout.
- As you breathe in, the air will make a hissing noise.
- As you breathe out, constrict your throat and make the sound of the ocean.
5 Benefits of Breathing Exercises During Pregnancy:
Why do we need to breathe right during pregnancy? Let’s find out! (2)
1. As your baby grows, your body requires more oxygen to function at its optimum. Your baby too needs adequate oxygen to grow properly. Shallow breathing is not sufficient to provide the body with ample oxygen. But with these breathing exercises, your body will get the oxygen it needs.
3. As you deep breathe, you provide your body with more oxygen. This in turn provides relief from achy joints and muscles.
4. The one thing most pregnant women dread is labor. But if you practice breathing exercises regularly, labor won’t be such a huge battle. It will allow you to manage your contractions and labor pain better.
5. Most importantly, these exercises will help you stay ‘present’ during your pregnancy and labor. They will allow you to enjoy the miracle that’s childbirth.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I improve my breathing during pregnancy?
You may improve your breathing during pregnancy by (3):
- Sitting or standing straight so your lungs have more space to expand
- Moving slowly, so your heart and lungs have to work less
- Propping your body with pillows during sleep
2. Is it normal for a pregnant woman to have difficulty breathing?
Yes, pregnant women find it difficult to breathe because of the rise in progesterone and the increase in the uterus’ size that exerts pressure on the diaphragm (4).
3. Is diaphragmatic breathing safe in pregnancy?
Yes. Diaphragmatic breathing during pregnancy is safe and helps the body relax deeply by reducing anxiety and stress (5).
Proper breathing may become harder as your pregnancy progresses, and you will require a lot of deep breathing throughout the stressful days ahead. Therefore, breathing exercises during pregnancy might be helpful. You and your partner can attend a birthing or Lamaze class together, or you can watch videos and take a brief online course. Also, practicing breathing techniques early in pregnancy can help you stay calm during your pregnancy and birth, allowing you to appreciate your child’s birth, which can otherwise be exhausting and miserable.
source : “Better Birth: The Ultimate Guide to Childbirth from Home Births to Hospitals” by Denise Spatafora.
- Breathing and relaxation techniques for labor and delivery.
- Nadine S Fink et al; Relaxation during pregnancy: what are the benefits for mother fetus and the newborn? A systematic review of the literature.