Directed Breathing is a specific type of breathing that is a must-do for every type of birth.
If you're reading this module before Breathing, please work through those skills first, then come back to this module so you can move to a deeper level of understanding. Have your companion DVD ready to accompany this text; it is quite comprehensive on Directed Breathing.
Direct your breath here
A couple learned breathing techniques from another type of childbirth preparation during their first birth. Unfortunately, the techniques stopped working as soon as the labor pains intensified. This left the woman feeling out of control, and her husband felt he couldn't help her but didn't know why.
During their second pregnancy, the woman took pregnancy yoga and learned breathing techniques. Although she felt these helped more during their second birth, when the pains got intense, she felt out of control once again. And again, her husband felt he couldn't help her.
During their third pregnancy, she happened to be experiencing pain in both her pubic bone and her sacrum. The husband suggested she "direct her breath into those areas." She perceived of expanding inside her pubic bone and sacrum on her inhalation, and then she intentionally relaxed in both those places on her exhale. They were both pleasantly surprised that the pains decreased, although they did not disappear. Whenever the pains became intense, she repeated expanding on her inhalation and relaxing on her exhalation, directed specifically to those places.
By the next day, the pains were gone. For the rest of her pregnancy, whenever she had discomfort, she would direct her breathing, and it always worked to decrease her discomfort, and often the discomfort went completely away.
During their third birth, they worked together closely, making certain she breathed into whatever part of her body gave her discomfort when she needed to. She felt much more in control during this third labor, although it was by far the most painful and longest of the three births. Her husband felt he had an important job and even found himself using the same skill in his own life. They were one of the early Pink Kit families who realized that Pink Kit skills were life skills, not just for childbirth.
Needless to say, Directed Breathing became one of the many Birthing Better Pink Kit tools and is still probably the most-used Pink Kit skill in every single type of birth. We either are inhaling or exhaling at every moment, just as our body is some posture or position. Childbirth just imposes a moment-to-moment awareness of these facts that can either overwhelm us or be the basis for the skills we use.
Directed Breathing has also been the number-one skill used during Caesareans, whether after labor or non-laboring. A Caesarean from start to finish usually takes less than an hour. Many women report the birth is over with too quickly, and that makes them feel a bit disconnected. Birthing Better families use this one skill on the way to the hospital (for non-laboring surgery), while being prepped, and during the surgery. Directed Breathing enables you to give your total attention to your baby's efforts to be born rather than be passive.
As you noticed in the above story, the woman used her inhalation to expand a specific area. Your lungs do not move to another part of your body. We have to imagine the action. Could this be scientifically proven? Maybe not, but who cares as long as it works, and it does. Most of us know we can expand our belly with our inhalation, and our lungs certainly didn't move down to our belly. It just takes practice to intentionally breathe into different parts of our body. You need to experiment with and practice your ability to expand specific areas of your body with your inhalation. Then you have to experiment with and practice your ability to relax and let go of tension in specific areas on your exhalation. Also experiment with expanding any tension in your mind or head and then relaxing in your mind or head with an exhalation! Life skills.
Experimenting and practicing Directed Breathing focuses your mind on specific parts of your body, mostly inside your pelvis (see Bony Structure and Soft Pelvis). During labor, this is vitally important, particularly, like with the woman above, when labor pains get more intense. That is when you must focus your mind more deeply, really dig in, use your discipline, willpower, and your team.
Choose from the tabs above to work through this resource.