• Caroline

Postnatal A-Z: B for Breathing

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

My postnatal A-Z continues today with B for Breathing. This is a big topic and I could go into more detail. Here I cover off the basics.

Towards the end of pregnancy when the uterus is pushing against the diaphragm, it is hard for mums to take deep breaths. Sometimes this shallower breathing pattern continues after the baby is born. Good breathing is an important part of good posture. 

A lack of good breathing technique can have many consequences including back pain as well as perpetuating any abdominal separation and putting unnecessary downward pressure on the pelvic floor. 

Therefore, it is often recommended that mums use thoracic breathing whereby they breathe laterally into the ribs as well as into the back as opposed to only into the belly. This spreads the air pressure more evenly and promotes healing of the abdominal separation. 

The easiest way to feel if you're doing this correctly is to put your fingers around your bottom front ribs and the thumbs around the back ribs and feel the lungs expand sideways and into your back as you inhale.

By breathing in this more conscious way, you will automatically take slower and deeper breaths which activates your parasympathetic nervous system (or 'rest and digest' as it's also known). This is very helpful for tired mums who are going through some big changes in their lives. It will also help tissues heal faster. 

If you practise Pilates regularly, you will be familiar with this breathing technique already. If not, please give it a go. The next step is to connect your breath to your core including your pelvic floor but more about that in a later post.

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