4 Breathing Exercises Every Pregnant Woman Should DoLisanne Wellness Center
Throughout the bulk of your life, you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about breathing. It’s just something you do naturally, like blinking. But when you’re pregnant, focusing on your breath and making sure you’re constantly replenishing your body with oxygen is very important. Adequate oxygen intake during pregnancy helps with your baby’s development and growth. It may also help alleviate some of the stress of pregnancy. Here are four breathing exercises pregnant woman should do throughout her pregnancy.
Shallow breathing: Shallow breathing, or taking short, fast breaths with very little oxygen in each breath, is not a good idea on a long-term basis, as it can restrict the flow of oxygen to your brain and other organs. But practicing shallow breathing for a few minutes every day will help strengthen your lungs, which will come in handy during childbirth. To practice shallow breathing, lie on your back with your knees bent. Open your mouth wide and take quick, shallow breaths for five minutes. Repeat this exercise daily.
Breathing from the chest: Chest breathing focuses on bringing air in through your chest, as opposed to your stomach. To practice chest breathing, stand up straight with your feet parallel to one another. Place your hands on your chest, and breathe in through your nose for a count of 8 (or whatever number you feel comfortable with). Feel your hand moving away from you as your lungs expand. Then, release this breath through your nose for the same length of time you took the breath in. Repeat ten times daily.
Note: Chest breathing will become more difficult as you get further into your pregnancy. After 7 months or so, you may not be able to get as much air into your chest. Don’t force it; practice chest breathing as long as you feel you can do so comfortably.
Breathing from the stomach: Also known as belly breathing, breathing from the stomach helps your body get a large supply of oxygen while helping you find relief from the regular aches and pains that usually accompany pregnancy. To practice belly breathing, start out by sitting in a comfortable position; sitting cross legged is often a good option. Place one hand on top of your belly and the other below it, and close your eyes. Relax every part of your body, and then begin taking deep breaths, making sure to fill your stomach so it rises as far as possible. A good way to begin is to breathe in to a count of 8 and then breathe out to a count of 8. Do this for 10 minutes on a daily basis for optimum oxygen intake.
Note: Early in your pregnancy, you can do this exercise lying flat on your back. As you get further into your pregnancy (and your belly gets bigger), it’s important to do it sitting up, as lying down can cause potential damage to your baby.
Alternating deep and shallow breathing: To alternate between deep and shallow breathing, start out in a comfortable position. You could be laying down, sitting, or standing up, as long as you can easily fill your lungs with oxygen. Take a deep breath in and out through your nose, counting to 8 on both the inhale and the exhale. Then, open your mouth wide and take quick, shallow breaths to a count of five. Repeat this process five times. Try to perform this exercise daily.
When you do these breathing exercises regularly, you’ll be able to increase your oxygen intake, improve your circulation, and help your body function better to provide your baby with the nutrients and oxygen it needs to develop and grow. As an added bonus, you’ll help minimize the stress that can often accompany pregnancy.
For more pregnancy tips and practical advice, join us every month for a free webinar “Pregnancy Nutrition – What to Eat & Avoid for Healthy Pregnancy”. Please visit our events page to register for these informational events. Our functional medicine experts at Lisanne Wellness Center, are also available to offer consultations.
Call us at 713-461-WELL (9355).