Janine Smith

Tonight’s antenatal session – the importance of knowing how to breathe

I just can’t stress this enough – being able to use your breathing in labour and birth really could be the difference between panic and calm, the difference between working with your body and battling with it.

Labour and birth is largely about contractions and energy, it is about listening to your body, about responding to it and going with it. As long as you and your baby are ok – labour will take as long as it needs.

Knowing how to use your breathing is a skill you can use when you need it – for contractions, for rest, for headspace, if you feel overwhelmed, if you are tired…

It means you are equipped with a strong, effective and adaptable skill to control and use if your labour is straightforward or if it becomes more complicated with more monitoring and interventions. Using your breathing is about keeping you calm and that is a powerful skill to possess.

If you know more about what your body and your baby need to do in labour, you can have more trust in it, so you can be as relaxed and as calm as possible. It also means you can be involved in any decisions, to say what you need, to talk about pain relief.

But you need to do your part – you will benefit from knowing more about labour & birth and from practicing and developing relaxation and breathing techniques that work for you. Keeping it simple is key – know how you breath and what your body feels like when it is relaxed.

The essentials of labour…

  • Focus on your breathing
  • Move as you need to
  • Know more about labour & birth and what your options are
  • Say what you need, try not to wait to be guided
  • Work with your midwife and ask for the information, support and reassurance you need throughout every stage of labour and birth


antenatal classes newcastle tynesideGet in touch to find out more about using your breathing in pregnancy and for labour & birth.

Janine | Birth, Baby & Family
A specialist in pregnancy, birth and early parenting




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An experienced specialist in pregnancy, birth & early parenting, I have worked with parents since 2002. I am based in the North East so I regularly work with parents from Newcastle, Northumberland, Gateshead and across North Tyneside. Face-to-face sessions will continue with North East parents but digital courses and online sessions means I can work with parents everywhere.