Mastering Labor Pain: A Natural Mama’s Guide to Breathwork Techniques



As a natural-minded mama preparing for childbirth, you’re likely seeking breathwork techniques to navigate labor pain with confidence and without medication. In this blog post we will explore breathing techniques specifically for pain management during labor and birth. These techniques are designed to help you cope without suffering and not need an epidural or narcotics. 


Breathwork Techniques for Labor Pain:


  1. Relaxation Breath: Quieting Your Nervous System


In labor, as contractions are coming on strong, it’s super important to stay calm, cool, and collected. Start by taking a deep breath in through your nose for four seconds, then let it out slowly through your mouth for six seconds. Visualize the inhale spreading warmth throughout your body, melting away tension with each exhale. Focus on counting each breath, maybe even trying to elongate the count if it feels good. 


As you breathe, place your hands on your belly to connect with your baby and fully expand your diaphragm. Envision a specific fear your holding on to escaping with each outbreath. Practice this sequence (4) times or roughly how long a contraction takes to peek and crest. 


  1. Candy Cane Breath: Tune Into Your Body


Another useful breathing technique that can be used at any point in labor is the Candy Cane breath. This flexible breath pattern often helps you tune into your body and its cues. Take a deep breath through your nose, expanding your lungs and torso. As you exhale, make a low groan in the back of your throat, allowing your breath to travel gently down your body – imagine it traveling in and down like the shape of a candy cane. The guttural sound you want to make during your exhale should remind you of a cow, “moooooooooo.” 


Imagine the energy from your inhale guiding your baby’s descent, promoting a relaxed pelvis as he moves down the birth canal. The best place to practice this technique is on the toilet, mimicking an upright birthing position and using your breath to move your baby down and out without strain. You’ll never poop the same again 😉


  1. Horse Lips Technique: Pelvic Floor Relaxation


When you start feeling pressure in your pelvic floor and vagina, it’s time to employ the horse lips technique.  Inhale gently through your nose for four seconds, then exhale while vibrating your lips together for six seconds. Feel the release in your pelvic floor and jaw muscles as you exhale, embracing the connection between breath and muscle relaxation. 


Remember, “floppy face, floppy fanny,” and think of your pelvic muscles loosening with each breath. Unclenching your jaw will help to release your pelvic floor simultaneously. 


  1. Transitioning with Breath: Staying Focused and Grounded


Transition is often the most intense stage of labor (and the shortest!), but with purposeful breath, you can navigate it with more ease. Use short, shallow breaths, repeating “he, he, who, who” with two shallow inhales and two shallow exhales. This rhythmic breathing helps you stay grounded and focused as contractions intensify. Continuous breath will help maintain your stamina as well as ensure plenty of oxygen for your baby. 


  1. Coughing Breath: Push Support


As you approach the pushing stage, and the ring of fire, the coughing breath technique becomes invaluable.  Picture your breath as your baby’s gentle guide through the birth canal. Inhale deeply through your nose, then exhale in six short bursts, mimicking a gentle cough. Use your core muscles to nudge your baby through the vaginal tissues, gently stretching the perineum to avoid tearing. No purple pushing Mama!


Now that you’ve got some amazing breathwork techniques at your disposal, I hope you feel more equipped to tackle labor and birth head-on. It never hurts to incorporate these into your weekly birth prep. Working through each breathing exercise with your partner will help you to connect and share in this experience. One of the best ways to support you in labor is for your partner or support person to lead by example. Encourage them to join in and breathe together!


Every breath you take brings you one step closer to holding your sweet baby in your arms. Your body was made for this, and you’ve got everything it takes to conquer it with strength and grace. So believe in yourself, lean into your breath, and embrace the magic of natural childbirth. 


Coach Lisa

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[…] Breathwork is so powerful and just one part in the many ways you can take control of your anxiety. Try these easy breathwork techniques and keep reading to learn more about “high-risk” and how it’s really not so […]

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