Childbirth: how to breathe well to push?

Written by: Loris Vitry (holistic coach)
Validated by: Cathy Maillot (Osteopath)

Caution: If you have any medical questions or concerns, please speak to your doctor. Even if the articles on this site are based on scientific studies, they do not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Childbirth: how to breathe well to push?
New: This anti-stress breathing technique is very effective for turn off anxiety (and no, it's not deep breathing).

Childbirth consists of several phases including the expulsion phase also called the pushing phase.

It is one of the last phases to go through to feel the immense joy of holding your baby in your arms.

To grow well, it is important to practice good breathing.

Whether you are pregnant or planning to have a baby, this article on strategies for breathing well during childbirth is for you.

Breathing techniques for pushing

When the expulsion phase arrives, you must start pushing at the request of the midwife.

This is when you need to practice pushing techniques.

The pushing technique with blocked inspiration

The technique of pushing with blocked inspiration is not only the most taught, but also the most practiced.

It involves filling your lungs with air and blocking apnea breathing.

When you apply it very well, this technique can be very effective.

Indeed, it promotes the pressures of the diaphragm on the uterus, thus strengthening the contractions of the latter.

This pressure that the diaphragm puts on the uterus also strengthens your perineal and abdominal muscles.

To practice the pushing technique with blocked inspiration:

  • Start by taking a deep breath so that your lungs fill up.
  • Then block the air inside your lungs.
  • You should now push while keeping your head up, make sure your chin is against your chest.
  • Make a very strong contraction of the muscles of the abdomen, this promotes pressure on the anus.

However, you need to be careful to avoid too violent a push.

Indeed, when the push is too powerful and violent, it is likely to cause a great contraction of the perineum and therefore, a tear.

It is therefore advisable to push only when the perineum is stretched.

You can also follow the instructions given to you by your midwife.

The pushing technique with a forced exhalation

This technique allows the muscles of the perineum not only to stretch, but also to relax.

This is thanks to the progressive pressure it produces on the muscles.

It is true that, compared to the previous technique, this one is less effective, but it still has advantages.

Indeed, with the pushing technique with a forced exhalation, there is a low chance that you will have tears.

To practice this technique, your lungs must be empty.

You must therefore push until the end of the expiration.

When there are contractions, take a good breath before exhaling slowly while pushing (down).

Practice breathing before childbirth

Before the big day, you can perform workouts at home to make yourself feel better.

To practice the first technique (blocked inspiration), you must lie on your back.

Bend your legs then grab the thighs.

Start by inhaling first and then breathing out.

Inhale again and then block the air for at least 5 seconds, 10 at most.

During the exercise, try to push gently.

To practice the second technique, ie the forced exhalation, you must also put yourself on your back.

As in the previous exercise, curl your legs and grip the thighs.

Inhale through your nose and then push up using your abdominals.

Slowly let the air out through your mouth.

Repeat the exercise at least four to five times.

According to professionals, these preparatory sessions can be done, but they do not necessarily guarantee the effectiveness of your pushes on the day of delivery.

Because the sensations you feel during the preparations are far from real.

However, these sessions get you used to the different positions you need to adopt during childbirth.

They also allow you to master the management of your breathing and expulsion techniques.

Preparation with your midwife helps build trust.

It saves you stress.

Some tips to help you

During childbirth, the muscles of the perineum are subjected to severe pressure.

To prepare them well for childbirth, you can practice exercises.

The purpose of these is to make the muscles flexible and toned.

Exercises also allow you to avoid incontinence after giving birth.

It is recommended to start the exercises very early.

You can start preparing the perineum already in the 8th month of pregnancy.

When you push well, your baby easily and quickly engages the perineum.

So remember to push at the same time as the contractions occur.

Remember that breathing between pushes is important.

You should also rest when there are no contractions.

During childbirth you should feel comfortable.

So do not hesitate to change positions regularly if it makes you feel good.

Grip your legs and hands, then bend your elbows.

This will focus your forces down.

In the delivery room, it is important to have full confidence in the team taking care of you.

Progress of the expulsion phase

The course and forms of childbirth may vary from one professional to another.

Anyway, normal childbirth consists of three different phases namely: labor, expulsion, delivery.

It is during the expulsion phase that you must push.

The baby remains upright when engaged with his back forward.

In order for the expulsion to take place without difficulty, the baby presents the smallest part of the head.

He thus begins to press very hard on the perineum, which triggers the mother’s push reflex.

You must therefore perform voluntary pushes to come to the aid of the baby who tries to cross the muscular structures (perineum).

When the child’s head reaches the bundle (of muscle), you need to stop the pushes.

The midwife can then guide your child’s head.

The duration of the expulsion phase can vary between 15 and 30 minutes.

However, in some women this phase can last an hour and sometimes even longer.

Some studies show that if your relapse lasts for more than an hour, it becomes abnormal.

So this means that childbirth is difficult.

For your childbirth to take place in the best conditions, it is important to master the various detailed techniques.

Training sessions with the midwife are important, but feel free to practice alone at home.

The more you master these techniques, the better the expulsion phase can unfold.

Get rid of your anxieties by learning to breathe well : Intermittent Breathing Technique

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