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.
6 Effective Breathing Exercises During Pregnancy
Breathing exercises during pregnancy can positively impact fetal development and maternal health. Additionally, practicing deep breathing and calming exercises can assist women in establishing a strong mind-body connection throughout pregnancy, alleviating stress, and facilitating relaxation.
Breathing exercises can also assist in postpartum recovery by enhancing pelvic floor function and promoting healing. In addition, incorporating mindful breathing and other stress-management techniques into daily routines can help women cope with anxiety and emotional difficulties during and after pregnancy
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. Pursed Lip Breathing
Pursed lip breathing is a deep breathing exercise that helps you keep your airways open for a longer time by reducing the number of breaths you take. It is a great way to relax if you are feeling stressed or have shortness of breath, especially in the later stages of pregnancy (2).
How To Do:
- Sit down at a comfortable place and relax your shoulder and neck muscles.
- Breathe in slowly through the nose. Ensure your mouth is closed.
- Purse or pucker your lips.
- Exhale slowly through your pursed lips.
- Continue doing this until you feel calm and your breath becomes normal.
5. Square Breathing
Square breathing, also known as box breathing, is another deep breathing technique that can help calm and regulate your nervous system. It lets the body take in more oxygen, which helps ease anxiety and stress (3).
How To Do:
- Inhale deeply for four seconds.
- Hold your breath for four seconds.
- Exhale completely for four seconds.
- Hold for another four seconds.
- Keep repeating this process until you feel calm and relaxed.
6. 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.
In addition to practicing breathing exercises, you can consult with your doctor about including other low-impact exercises in your routine, like pelvic floor exercises, to help promote your overall pregnancy health and prenatal fitness.
5 Benefits of Breathing Exercises During Pregnancy:
Why do we need to breathe right during pregnancy? Let’s find out! (4)
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.
2. Anxiety and stress are a part of the whole pregnancy experience. With breathing exercises, you can stay calm and de-stress.
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 preparation and labor pain management 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:
- 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 (5).
3. Is diaphragmatic breathing safe in pregnancy?
Yes. Diaphragmatic breathing during pregnancy is safe and helps the body relax deeply by reducing anxiety and aiding in stress management (6).
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 and relaxation 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.
Infographic: Benefits Of Doing Breathing Exercises During Pregnancy
Breathing exercises can be a beneficial addition to any pregnancy workout routine. Not only do they help to relax and reduce stress, but they can also improve respiratory function and increase oxygen delivery to the baby. This infographic discusses some advantages of practicing breathing exercises while pregnant.
source : “Better Birth: The Ultimate Guide to Childbirth from Home Births to Hospitals” by Denise Spatafora.
- Breathing exercises during pregnancy help relax and release stress.
- Abdominal breathing is recommended in Pilates and tai-chi.
- Counting breaths is a meditation technique that aids relaxation and focus.
- Roll breathing eases aches and pains, while Ujjayi breathing increases energy levels.
- Pregnancy breathing exercises provide ample oxygen, reduce stress, alleviate aches, aid labor, and enhance mindfulness.
Learn how to use breathing exercises to help you relax throughout your pregnancy. Learn how to stay calm and well-advised throughout this extraordinary time.
- Breathing and relaxation techniques for labor and delivery.
- Breathing Exercises.
- Square Breathing.
- Nadine S Fink et al; Relaxation during pregnancy: what are the benefits for mother fetus and the newborn? A systematic review of the literature.
- Why Do Some Pregnant Women Have Trouble Breathing?
- Xiao Ma et al.; (2017);The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults.
- How To Cure Thyroid With Yoga.
- Yoga for Pregnant Women.