27 May 2009

"Hee hee hooo": breathing no good when it comes to birthing outcomes

A new Swedish study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology reveals that antenatal breathing classes have no measurable benefits. Couples that were taught relaxation techniques, massage and breathing fared no better than couples who were enrolled in standard antenatal classes. The researchers thought that relaxation techiques and breathing would help couples with the stress during birth, lower rates of epidural use and more pleasurable birthing experiences overall. They found, however, that the experiences in both groups were largely identical.

Professor Philip Steer, BJOG editor-in-chief, said: "The findings of this study are contrary to what many of us would expect."

"The lack of benefit from psychoprophylactic techniques is disappointing, and suggests that parents' experience of childbirth is affected more by their personality and previous psychological orientation than by the relatively limited training that is possible during pregnancy. An alternative view is that standard antenatal classes are 'good enough' and therefore represent an effective use of limited resources

What are your thoughts? Did any of you use breathing or relaxation techniques during your labour?


T.J. and Jen said...

I'm surprised by this. I used "yoga" breathing throughout most of my 40 hour home birth. It was particularly useful when I had the urge to push before full dilation.

Cherryskin said...

I was never taught "breathing" for labour, but interestingly, in my second labour I automatically "breathed the baby out" as the midwife commented to the student midwife. For some reason, I just started huffing and puffing like they do "in the movies" when it was time to push.

The best thing I was "taught" was to ENJOY the contractions. Sounds strange, but it bloody well worked -- something to do with stopping working against them, as I did in my first labour, thinking, "just have to get through it, just have to get through it..." Instead I was thinking, "YEAH, BRING IT ON! LOVE IT! YEEHAR!" all the way through. :-)

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