Conscious breathing assists your harmony and works with your contractions. During birthing, your breath can be the most convenient and suitable bodily rhythm to center your awareness. Conscious breathing during birthing supports the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen, eliminating toxins as well as physical tension. Long, deep, and full breathing relaxes your body, focuses your mind, and stimulates your pituitary gland to increase its secretion of Oxytocin, the hormone which causes your uterine contractions.
A full, conscious breath also directly controls the intra-abdominal pressure and to a lesser extent the uterine pressure. As your lungs fill during your inhale, your diaphragm descends lower into the abdominal cavity, which increases the pressure in your abdomen and around your uterus. In addition, this increased pressure “holds” or supports your uterus during a contraction, reducing discomfort. During your exhale, your abdomen is not supported by the volume of your expanded lungs and diaphragm.