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?