Breathing your way thru pregnancy, am I really giving that as kitchen table wisdom? Breathing is something that you just do, right? If not, your no longer alive, right? Rarely do we need to think about it unless we are having problems, like a respiratory issue, or anxiety or fear, or if we are at the end or middle of a workout and our heart rate is moving quickly…. all of these things can make it so that you become aware of how your are breathing.
During pregnancy, I noticed my breathing a lot. In fact, I found the need to focus on it more and more, as the weeks moved into months. The larger your belly and baby grows, the more it can help you to notice the in and the out of your breath. It can become more difficult to have large slow breaths. In fact you might even notice that your breathing has become more shallow and your heart rate has increased a bit.
I am certified to teach yoga: prenatal, mommy & me and regular. I taught until 7 days before I went into labor. When you practice yoga and when you teach it, there is much concentration on the breath. I could tell that I needed to take more breaths to speak in class as my pregnancy progressed and my belly got larger.
I encourage all women to continue with some sort of exercise routine while pregnant. Even if the only thing you can do is walk, do it daily, it is important and can help, not only with stamina, and balance (your center of balance is constantly shifting during pregnancy), but also with providing a way to reduce stress, increase oxytocin, and take a break. Another benefit is that, yep I’m gonna say it again: it helps you breathe better. Walking everyday is a fantastic habit to form, and easy to continue postpartum. I wore my baby and took 2 walks per day - it helped with bonding, she would nap during the morning walk, and cue her for sleep during the “witching hour” dusk walk. It also helped me to shed some of that baby weight!
Whatever activity you engage in notice your breath as you move. This is actually mediation in motion. And it is INCREDIBLY helpful for your Labor Day. Your breath and your stamina will get you through that marathon, and you can only be successful if you PRACTICE. Postpartum and beyond, if you become a master breather, it will help during those colicky nights, the terrible twos, and oh so many other transitions into the will of the child that are to come.
Alisa B. Donner, MSW, LCSW, Co-founder of Pregnancy Awareness Month, and mother to an amazing wonder!
*Thank you again to Ingrid Franz Moriarty for the AMAZING photo!
***REMINDER – Pregnancy Awareness Month’s blog post is for moms and expectant parents by moms (and of course some experts sprinkled in – some moms’ are licensed board certified experts!). HOWEVER, we are not giving blanket ADVICE on what you should be doing, eating, how you should be exercising, parenting, etc. These are opinions , food for thought…think about it all, talk with your mate, and when it comes to diet, exercise, and health questions, ALWAYS discuss and seek advice from your medical health provider.