Proper Breathing  During Labor and Delivery


Breathing properly helps to relieve pain during labor as well as increases the amount of oxygen for both mom and baby. When being stressed or panic, the breath becomes fast and shallow, which can make you lose control and soon exhausted. So, learning the proper breathing technique will help pregnant women during labor.

Deep – slow breathing

This kind of breathing is used in the first stage of labor, when the cervix dilates less than 3 cm.When the uterine contraction happens, start with a deep breath then breathe slowly – deeply (inhale through nose, exhale through mouth), breathe slowly, steadily and end with a deep breath when the contraction is over. When inhaling, you should see the abdomen rising, and coming back in when you exhale.Do 4-6 breathing rhythms for a uterine contraction of about 25-30 seconds.

Rapid – shallow chest breathing

This kind of breathing is used in the labor stage when cervix dilates from 4-7cm, contractions are more intense, longer and closer together.When you have a uterine contraction, start with a deep breath, then with a shallow chest breath. When the contraction intensity gets higher, breathe faster. Slow down your breath when the contraction reduces, then take a deep breath when the contraction is over.Take 20-25 breath/ 1 minute. Breathe slower at the beginning and the end of the contraction, and breathe faster at the

Light Accelerated Breathing

Inhale slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth.  Accelerate and lighten your breathing as the contraction increases in intensity. If the contraction peaks early, then you will have to accelerate early in the contraction. It if peaks more gradually, you will work up to peak speed more slowly. Keep your mouth and shoulders relaxed.As your breathing rate increases toward the peak of your contraction, breathe in and out lightly through your mouth. Keep your breathing shallow and light at a rate of about one breath per second.As the contraction decreases in intensity, gradually slow your breathing rate, switching back to breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.When the contraction ends, take your finishing breath—exhale with a sigh.


This kind of breathing is used in the 2nd phase of labor, when the cervix is completely open and the mother wants to push. The pushing posture is the “C-curve” position.

When you have a contraction, take 2 deep breaths, then take a long breath and start to push. When pushing, press your chin against the chest, keep your eyes on the belly button, continue to push and take another breath when you’re out of air, hold your breath and continue to push, until the uterine contraction is over.