3.1.7  Breathing

The way a woman breathes can have a strong effect on how her labour will feel. In the first stage of labour, there are many kinds of breathing that may make labour easier. Try these ways of breathing yourself and show the mother how to do it. Help her to choose which one works best to minimise the pain. Encourage mothers to try different ways of breathing throughout labour:

  • Slow blowing. Ask the woman to take a long, slow breath. To breathe out she should make a kiss with her lips and slowly blow. Breathing in through the nose can help her breathe slowly.

    A woman exhaling.

  • Hee breathing. The woman takes a slow deep breath and then blows out short, quick breaths while she makes soft ‘hee, hee’ sounds.

    A woman panting.

  • Panting. The woman takes quick, shallow breaths.
  • Strong blowing. The woman blows hard and fast.

3.1.8  Drinking fluids during labour