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Breathing Techniques for Childbirth


During childbirth, breathing in a rhythm can help distract you from pain. It can also help relax your muscles and your mind.

As your due date gets closer, you can learn and practice different ways of doing focused breathing, such as belly breathing and pant-pant-blow breathing. Childbirth classes can also teach you breathing techniques.

Learning more than one technique can be helpful. You can change techniques as your labor changes. For example, belly breathing may work well during early labor. And pant-pant-blow breathing may be more helpful when your contractions get more intense.

Belly breathing

As you breathe in, you will expand your belly outward. And as you breathe out, you will relax your belly downward. Do this type of breathing in between or during contractions. Take your time with each breath.

  1. Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
  2. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
  3. Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in as you push all the air out.

Pant-pant-blow breathing

You will breathe in and then pant out your breath in a pattern.

  1. As your contraction starts, take a deep breath in through your nose.
  2. Breathe out through your mouth in 2 short pants followed by one longer blow. You may have heard this described as "hee-hee-hooooo."
  3. Repeat the steps until the contraction stops. Each cycle should take about 10 seconds.

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Current as of: July 10, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
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