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Tips to Relax & Breathe

Giving yourself the time to relax in pregnancy is a great way to prepare for the birth of your baby. And it’s not about just sitting back and watching a movie, focus on your body and become more aware of what it feels like when it is relaxed. Pregnancy is a good time to become aware of your body and to learn how to relax and how to deal with stress and anxiety.

Simple relax & breathe exercises in pregnancy…
Where to practise? Anywhere you feel comfortable – bed, bath, sofa, birth ball, the loo, in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil…
How often? Practise every day if you can – just a few minutes will do the trick. And then use it if you are feeling stressed or anxious.

Try…
Doing Nothing – close your eyes and just sit/stand for a few minutes. Let any thoughts come and go, just be aware of what it feels like to just sit still.

Being Aware Of Your Body – Sit/stand for a few minutes and focus on how your body feels: as you sit/stand, of your feet, of your arms and hands, of your shoulders, of your jaw. Let go of any tension you might be holding on to.

And if you feel stressed…
Close your eyes and take 5 slow, deep breaths: in through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus
on how your body feels and become aware of where you feel relaxed and where you are holding tension. Let go
of that tension.

Be aware of how you are feeling, acknowledge your emotions and let go of them, focus on your breathing
as you breathe in and then out.

Count with each in-breath and out breath up to 10. Repeat this cycle 5 times, longer if you have the time.

When you are ready to end your relaxation, become aware of how your body feels and then gently open your eyes again.


Using your breathing in labour…

As each big contraction begins, breathe in deeply and gently and then focus on your out-breath as your contraction builds. Keep focusing on your breathing throughout each contraction. As you breathe out, relax your muscles and let go of any tension.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and panicky, focus on your breathing – slow your breathing with a calm, deep in-breath, followed by a long, relaxed out-breathe.


You can:
download the Practical Guides To Labour & Birth
find out more about your birth preparation & relax & breathe


Janine Smith – a specialist in pregnancy, birth and early parenting
Find out more about birth preparation & postnatal sessions