Why do you need to work with your breathing?
Breathing deeply, yet feeling relaxed while you breathe is an important part of tuning into your body while you are pregnant. Breathing is relaxing, it helps your body to work better, it can help you become more aware of your breathing. When you do any form of exercise, it can be helpful to be aware of your breathing. When you stop and rest, breathing deeply can help you to experience a deeper relaxation. Breathing deeply can help give you the space to be still and to be more aware of your baby. Try to spend some time each day, from early pregnancy, just sitting and breathing and being – with your body, with your baby.
The breathing exercise
Find a comfortable upright position. You may find you are comfortable sitting cross legged on the floor. You may want to prop your back against a wall. You may find you need to sit in a chair. The important thing is that you are comfortable and your spine is in an upright position.
Close your eyes and begin to notice how you are breathing. Follow the movement of breath as you breathe out and in. Notice if you are breathing shallowly – which means that you will be more aware of movement in your chest and ribs – or deeply – which means that you will be aware of your abdomen moving with the breath. Notice if you hold your breath at all. Gradually begin to deepen your breath by breathing OUT more slowly. It is important to begin deepening the breath on an out breath as this is the breath of relaxation, of letting go. Each time you breathe out see if you are able to breathe out a little more slowly. It is important not to force the breath out – just relax and breathe out. As you breathe out more deeply, you will find that you gradually breathe more deeply – which means you will be more aware of the movement of your abdomen.
Feel your abdomen filling with air as you breathe in and emptying as you breathe out. Place your hands on your abdomen and feel your hands being drawn in to your body as you breathe out and pushed away as you breathe in.
Gradually become more aware of your baby. Imagine how it feels to your baby as you are breathing out and in. As you breathe out, your body pushes against your baby. Your baby feels squeezed, feels held, feels hugged. As you breathe in your baby feels more room to move around in. Maybe you have a strong visual image of your baby – you can see the shape of your baby’s body, curled up in the foetal position. Head and knees tucked into body, spine curled around. Maybe you have some idea of the different parts of your baby’s body – where is their spine, where are their legs, what are the different movements pushing against you. Maybe you just have a sense of a body growing inside you. Imagine what your baby is feeling. Warm fluid surrounding him/her. A sense of weightlessness. A floating feeling. Lots of space. A body to push against. Your baby is hearing the sounds you are hearing, muffled through the warm water of the amniotic fluid. Listen to the sounds around you. Your baby most of all is hearing the sound of your heart beating, the rhythmic sound of your heart, It is a constant sound for your baby – changing only slightly to speed up as you get busy and to slow down as you relax, like you are doing now. Feel the slowness of your heart beat. Your baby senses that you are relaxing. Let images, thoughts, feelings, sensations flood your body. Thoughts of your baby. Colours. Shapes. Feelings. Let your connection with your baby take you wherever you both need to go.
Rest breathing deeply for as long as you need to and then slowly become aware of your own body and the position you are sitting in. Follow the movement of your breath as you breathe out and in. Gradually begin to ease your body out of your sitting position – Keep aware of your baby as you ease back into the world outside.