Audio, Breathing Space, Janine Smith

5 effective ways to use your breathing in labour

breathing in labour

Using your breathing in labour is about listening to your body so you can work with your contractions and identify if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed so you can focus on staying calm.

Relaxing your body and slowing your breathing can be a simple and effective way to head off any panic as well as to stay calm and focused with your contractions.

The key to using your breathing in labour is to make it familiar for you, so it is comfortable and easy to use and so you don’t have to think about it.

So how do you use your breathing in labour?

  1. Focus on your breathing if you are experiencing discomfort, panic or you feel overwhelmed.
  2. If you are feeling anxious, panicky or overwhelmed, slowing your breathing will slow your heart-rate, which gets you to be calm and back in control.
  3. Keep it simple – all you are doing is slowing your breathing and relaxing your muscles. If you have been practising this in pregnancy it would hopefully be more familiar for you.
  4. Focus on your breathing as each powerful contraction begins. Breathe in as deeply as is comfortable for you and then, with a long and gentle outbreath, relax your body.
  5. Be aware of how your body feels – if your breathing is too fast, slow it down again; if you are holding onto tension (forehead, haw, shoulders, hands, pelvic floor, legs, feet) let it go. It helps if your partner can encourage you to relax and breathe.
An Introduction To Relax & Breathe
For Pregnancy
For Labour & Birth
Focus On Your Breathing

Remember, using your breathing in labour is about knowing what works for you – so you can slow the pace of your breathing, so you can relax your body and so you have an effective skill to use as you need it.

If you can practice your breathing in pregnancy it can make it effective for you.

breathing in labour

For more Relax & Breathe resources…

* Complete the digital Relax & Breathe Course For Pregnancy, Birth & Baby with downloads
* Book a consultation with me
* Head over to Breathing Space

Effective Birth Preparation

Knowing how to use your breathing in labour is just one part of your birth preparation. It makes a huge difference to have a foundation of knowledge so you know more about what you can do and what your options are.

A few words about why I created Relax and Breathe…

I developed Relax & Breathe in 2009 after using breathing techniques to manage anxiety and panic and reflecting on my work with expectant and birthing parents.

Simple relaxation & breathing skills can be vital for focus and calm, to ease discomfort and pain, to boost energy levels and to manage anxiety or panic. 

I wanted to create something uncomplicated which is why Relax & Breathe is simple and easy to use. It’s about bringing it into your day for a few minutes, so it becomes familiar and tailored to you.

Please do get in touch if you have any queries.

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Working with parents since 2002

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Copyright: Janine Smith

This entry was posted in: Audio, Breathing Space, Janine Smith


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.