Updated: Aug 26, 2021
Our breath is the one thing that is always with us wherever we go. From the time a newborn first enters the world and takes in their first gasp of sharp, fresh, cold air, that breath continues and does not stop. It is a gentle, hypnotic cycle that miraculously keeps us going every single day of our lives.
This is where we stop for a second to ponder just how amazing the human body is. Right now, we are all breathing naturally, without having to control any of it.
Our breath is a sign of life.
Babies experience what is like to have their lungs pumping, to inhale cold air through their nostrils, letting it run its cycle in their little bodies and exhaling warm air. Do you ever stop to wonder, if only our memories could bring us that far back into the past, what our first breath must have felt like?
Mothers also benefit from learning how to breathe. This may sound weird, but not everyone is aware of how we sometimes work against our breath and we expend a lot of energy fighting against our bodies' natural responses.
Lea Bailey talks about Breathing at Calmbirth®
Simply put, Calmbirth® teaches a yogic style of breathing that slows down the body's processes and puts it into a gentle, steady, calm and open state. It takes the stress and anxiety off the mother and the baby. It helps to optimise the gas exchange in and out of the air sacs within the lobes of the lungs. This gentle cycle brings oxygen to the baby because of improved blood flow. It is like giving the baby a fresh, gentle boost of hormone "O" oxytocin. It provides a healthy environment for the baby to be in during pregnancy and through delivery.
When the right breathing technique is applied, the brain releases polypeptides which neuro protects the baby. It also releases the 'feel good hormones' i.e. oxytocin, creating a gentle, calm and safe environment for the baby to develop.
Lisa Price speaks about her experience.
What is in a breath?
We all have access to this one single very powerful tool in us. Our breath. So simple, and yet so powerful.
What do you notice about your breath when you feel agitated, anxious or stressed? Breaths become short, rapid and sometimes people even hold their breath.
But if you were to stop for a moment, and notice how your breath is, and take that one conscious slow, deep breath, you can start to initiate a sense of calm. If you slow down your breathing, the calm increases. That is why sighing can feel like such a relief where you can simply release your breath to let go of an emotional or mental load.
The Calmbirth® Conscious breath technique allows parents to work with their breath, and work with the birth rather than forcing it, dreading it, or going against it.
The amazing thing about the breath is, it is a tool you can take with you wherever you go. It is highly portable and the best thing is, it is free!
Even as you are reading this article, (and you do not need to be pregnant to experience this), you can already experiment with simply taking a pause and noticing and feeling your breath.
How does it feel? If it feels good to you, to have that one second of gentle breathing and calm, imagine what that must feel like for a mother and a baby whose bodies are going through major changes.
Keeping it Natural and Gentle
Have you ever walked in a lush green forest and felt how cool and fresh the air was? The greenery is pumping the air full of delicious oxygen which your system is greedily sucking up. You feel more awake, more alive in a natural, oxygenated place like a forest, than in a closed off, boxed up artificial room like an office.
Calmbirth® brings in all the natural tools we have to help make the birthing journey a safe and gentle one, which can be enjoyed by the parents as they anticipate the arrival of their child.
¨With knowledge comes confidence¨ is what Calmbirth® goes by, and their aim is to empower women with the knowledge, tools and skills they need about their bodies and the birthing process to ensure the birth is as natural and as nurturing as possible.
A key concept at Calmbirth® is using the body's relaxation response and how it influences birth. That is why breathing is so important here as it helps guide the body to a relaxed and open state. Birthing is about the joy of welcoming new life and feeling the connection between the baby and the parents. It is not about armouring up and getting ready to do battle.
Many mothers-to-be can feel a lot of stress and anxiety about the pain of the process. At Calmbirth®, women are not left to be defenceless in anticipation of the terrifying day. They are active participants in preparing their bodies and minds and building a trust in their bodies´ natural abilities to nurture new life. There is a strong mind-body connection that is taught at Calmbirth®, and breathing is a way to initiate this connection. Mothers learn to use the breath to bring awareness into their bodies.