How to Do Lamaze Breathing Techniques

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Lamaze breathing techniques are one part of the Lamaze method of childbirth taught around the world since the 1950's. The Lamaze philosophy is based on the belief that birth is a natural life process and that the mother's own instincts and intuition can guide them through the birthing process without the need of intrusive medical intervention. Lamaze courses include breathing techniques and education for the mother and her partner to prepare them for childbirth. Before beginning the breathing techniques below, count your regular breathing rate for one minute to determine your breathing baseline rate.

Slow Breathing Technique

Take a deep cleansing breath by inhaling deeply through your nose. Then exhale slowly through your mouth, while releasing all of the tension in your body. While following steps, focus on reducing your normal breathing rate by at least half. Do not hold your breath too long, and do not take less than a breath every twenty seconds. This technique is designed to relax the mind and body during contractions.

Inhale slowly through your nose while counting to four.

Hold your breath and count to four.

Exhale through your mouth while counting to four.

Repeat Steps 2 to 4 several times, then finish the exercise with a deep cleansing by inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.

Modified Pace Technique

Take a deep cleansing breath by inhaling deeply through your nose. Exhale slowly through your mouth, while releasing all of the tension in your body. Through the following steps, focus on breathing faster than normal, but no more than twice your baseline rate. This technique is designed to focus attention and increase oxygen to the body during contractions.

Inhale through your nose while counting to two.

Hold your breath for the count of two.

Exhale while counting to two.

Take a deep cleansing breath, inhaling through the nose, then exhaling through the mouth.

Panting Technique

Take a deep cleansing breath by inhaling deeply through your nose. Exhale slowly through your mouth, while releasing all of the tension in your body. Focus on breathing twice your normal breathing rate through the following steps. This technique is used near the final phase of childbirth to help resist the urge to bear down during contractions.

Count to four while panting once at each count.

Blow once through your mouth.

Repeat Steps 2 and 3 in a quick, regular rhythm.

When finished practicing, take a deep cleansing breath as you did in Step 1.

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