The Benefits of Breathing Exercises During Pregnancy


by For Two Fitness October 06, 2015

How often do you stop and check in with your body and the world around you? If you’re like most busy mamas-to-be, you may be too preoccupied by day-to-day demands to take a moment to yourself. However, the art of deep breathing offers many beautiful benefits — during pregnancy, labor, and throughout life. Let’s take a closer look at the many benefits of abdominal breathing, along with how to get started.

The Benefits of Abdominal Breathing

Learning proper breathing methods can directly impact how you feel. Kaiser Permanente recommends deep breathing as one of the best ways to manage stress, calm down, and relax.

In addition to helping you learn to cope with anxiety, breathing exercises enhance body awareness while strengthening your abdominal muscles and core. It can also help you learn to deal with contractions and pain during delivery, as well as staying “present” during labor.

But deep breathing doesn’t just benefit you: it also ensures that your baby has access to an ample oxygen supply.

 

Breathing exercises

 

Tips and Techniques for Abdominal Breathing

Luckily, belly breathing isn’t hard to do. In fact, if you’ve ever done yoga, Pilates, or tai chi, you’re likely already familiar with the basics. Follow these simple steps to begin your practice:

  • Find a comfortable, well-ventilated seat with ample back support.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Relax your shoulders, face, and jaw to release any tension.
  • Take a moment to notice your natural breathing pattern.
  • Through your nose, take a deep, slow breath inward. As your lungs fill, imagine air filling your abdomen. Your belly should push forward as you inhale. (Place a hand on your belly to check.) This demonstrates that your diaphragm is engaged as it should be.
  • Through your mouth, slowly expel the air. The act of exhalation should take at least twice as long as the inhalation.

Repeat the cycle three to 10 times, according to Kaiser-Permanente.Once you have mastered the basics of belly breathing, there are advanced techniques to try, such as roll breathing and morning breathing. Each of these offers different benefits, from developing full use of your lungs to relieving muscle stiffness and back tension.Belly breathing is a perfect solo activity, but also offers partners a valuable way to connect and decompress. If you’re planning to apply deep breathing exercises to labor, Lamaze classes offer a supportive environment for learning and practicing these techniques. Additionally, many online videos and courses also offer instruction.

 

Breathing exercises

 

While abdominal breathing can be done anywhere at any time, wearing the right, fuss-free maternity activewear can help you fully engage. Maternity yoga pants featuring supportive belly panels and breathable, moisture-wicking fabric are the perfect around-the-clock wardrobe solution.

While pregnancy is already a special time, breathing exercises can help heighten your ability to enjoy the experience. Do you do abdominal breathing, or enjoy another form of stress relief during pregnancy or as a busy mom? If so, please share your experiences in the comments section. For more great content related to all things pregnancy, baby, and parenthood, be sure to bookmark the For Two Fitness blog.

 




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