Birth Story No 24: Alice – The power of the breath in labour

Home » Birth » Birth Story No 24: Alice – The power of the breath in labour
There is nothing better than hearing how the techniques learnt during our classes and workshops contribute to positive birth experiences for our women and their partners. This note comes from Alice, who attended Janet’s yoga classes at the end of her pregnancy.

Janet, I just wanted to thank you because the breathing technique and visualisation you taught me during your yoga classes were invaluable during my labour.  I was amazed that each time, without fail, the contraction was settling by the second breath and how I was able to manage the pain. I am a medical professional and, whilst I was open-minded and keen to use the technique, I have to say I was sceptical as to whether it would work.

I was induced for premature rupture of membranes and was contracting 4:10 for around 15-hours with strong contractions. The minute the contractions started once the gel had been put in, I used the breathing technique along with a TENS machine. I remained calm and silent other than my breathing and this helped me feel very much in control of the situation.

My husband was by my side the whole time and helped with my breathing by giving me space during contractions, and encouraging me between them. I found that I did not want to be touched during contractions, nor distracted from my breathing. I wasn’t able to move to the labour ward for those 15-hours so I did all this on the antenatal ward with other women coming and going, but I felt so in the zone that it didn’t matter.

When I moved to the labour ward, my cervix was very favourable but I was only 3cm and needed syntocinon because of PROM. I decided to have an epidural at that stage as I was tired and knew that it could be another 12-hours or more before being fully dilated. I remained mobile with my epidural, using the top-up eight times when I could have used it twenty-six, and continued using the breathing technique if I felt the contraction. I progressed to being fully dilated within 6-hours and had a normal delivery with no instruments or episiotomy. I let the epidural wear out so I could feel his head coming and delivered a gorgeous baby boy of 4.18kg (9lb 3).

I really feel that your breathing technique transformed my experience of labour and I wanted, not only to thank you for everything you taught me, but perhaps also ask that you let the other women in your classes know how useful it was and so how helpful they might find it.

As well as yoga postures to use during pregnancy, labour and birth, Janet teaches how to use breathing techniques, visualisation and affirmations during labour in her Pregnancy Yoga classes. Click here, to find out more and to book a place.




Leave a Reply