Baby breathing and touch: connecting with your baby and partner during pregnancy with shiatsu and massage
A good way of connecting with your baby and partner during pregnancy, is to get them to give you some shiatsu and massage. This can involve breathing with you as well. The following exercise explains how to do this.
Baby breathing exercise: connecting with your baby and partner during pregnancy
Touch and breath both offer powerful ways of connecting with your baby and partner during pregnancy. It is rewarding and relaxing for your partner, the baby’s father, or someone else who may be close to you during your pregnancy, to spend time in physical contact with you while you breathe deeply. If it is the baby’s father this is an important space to establish early on in the pregnancy – a special time for him to have with your baby. The father can do this from quite early on in the pregnancy, although don’t expect to be able to actually feel the baby moving until around 22 weeks or so. It is still of benefit to touch the abdomen. Breathing together with you baby can be quite relaxing if you both lie down together, at the end of a busy day.
Find a comfortable position in which to rest. You may want to lie down next to each other or you may prefer to sit. Let the partner’s abdomen be against the mother’s back – so that s/he is offering support. The partner can then rest his/her hands on the mother’s abdomen.
Both of you can now close your eyes and begin to follow your breathing (there is another exercise with the baby breath hug which will give you some more some ideas with this). Breathe deeply for a few minutes, feeling the relaxation of each out breath. Allow tensions to ease from your body. Breathe out tensions and become more deeply relaxed.
When your partner feels relaxed s/he can begin to follow the mother’s breathing. Just let your hands follow the movement of her abdomen – as she breathes out your hands will be drawn into her abdomen, as she breathes in your hands will be gently pushed away. As you follow the mother’s breathing, also begin to feel the baby in her womb. Let your hands feel through the mother’s body, through her skin and flesh, into the womb, to touch the baby. After a while you can begin to work using some pressure. As the mother breathes out, rather than just following the movement of your hands, begin to draw your hands in a little more so that you are beginning to apply pressure. Let the pressure in your hands increase gradually throughout the out breath, so that you are not suddenly going from no pressure to lots of pressure. It is quite surprising how much pressure feels comfortable. Do get feedback from the mother as to how much pressure feels good.
Often you will be told that in fact too little pressure can feel quite irritating – as though an insufficiently deep contact has been made.
You can stay on this one place for about 3 or 4 out breaths and then slide your hands in a clockwise direction ( clockwise looking at the mother’s abdomen) around the abdomen, maybe moving about 2 hours on the imaginary clock face. Let your hands rest in this new place. Feel the mother’s breathing. Then after a couple of out breaths begin to work with pressure as the mother breathes out. You can continue in this way to work all around the abdomen. As you do so really tune into each place you work – some areas you may find you can go in quite deeply and other areas only a little pressure will be acceptable and comfortable.
As you do this be aware of both the mother and the baby. You may want to intersperse pressures with some light clockwise stroking movements on the abdomen. You can carry on repeating this for as long as you sense the mother and the baby are comfortable and then you can just rest in contact with mother and baby.
I hope you find this exercise a useful way of connecting with your baby and partner during pregnancy.