Pregnancy Week by Week

Get a window on what’s happening in your pregnancy, week by week. From week four to week 42, your baby is experiencing a miraculous transformation from a clump of cells to a fully formed (and totally cute) newborn. Just imagine, as early as five weeks, your baby is already starting to form major organs (heart, stomach, liver, and kidneys) and systems (digestive, circulatory, nervous). By eight weeks, your raspberry-sized womb-mate is moving her arms and legs. At the beginning of your second trimester (week 14), your wee one is sucking his thumb. By week 28, the first week of the third trimester, baby (now as big as an eggplant) is prepping for breathing, developing his eyesight and packing on pounds in anticipation of life outside the womb. Each week is a new miracle. Less miraculous is how a mom-to-be may feel. Pregnancy Week-by-Week charts your baby’s development but also lets mom know what she might be feeling during each week of her pregnancy. Pregnancy week by Week includes everything mom needs to know to feel a sense of control over her pregnancy. Each week offers a complete guide to what you might feel, your must-do’s, your nice-to do’s, and answers and advice on everything pregnancy-related. Plus each week’s guide offers tips on maintaining a healthy and comfortable pregnancy from strategies on coping with pregnancy symptoms (morning sickness anyone?) to ideas for healthy eating, and pointers on talking to your OB. Let us guide you along your pregnancy, week by week.

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Breathing techniques for labor?

What breathing techniques can help me through labor?

Re: What breathing techniques can help me through labor?

The Bump Expert

Popular birthing methods like Lamaze or The Bradley Method have their own breathing techniques, but most practitioners don’t actually preach a strict breathing pattern (a la the “hee hee, hoo hoo, ha ha” school of thought). That’s because by the time labor pains start, breathing techniques a mom-to-be learns in childbirth class tend to go out the window. Instead, many childbirth experts recommend tuning in to your own natural breathing rhythms. That might be slow, deep breaths that come all the way from your diaphragm, or faster, shallow breathing, like a dog gently panting -- whatever feels right to you is most likely, well, right for you.

So how can you prep for labor breathing? Well, begin by being aware of how you breathe when you’re stressed -- some people inhale deeply through their nose, and others do an even in-out rhythm through their mouth. Whatever it is, practice it and remind yourself to return to that natural breathing pattern while you’re in labor.

Then, once contractions start, try this: At the beginning of each contraction, some practitioners recommend taking a “cleansing” breath, similar to the kind many yoga instructors use at the start of a class. The cleansing breath can help you release tension and relax more deeply.

As labor progresses, try finding your own rhythmic breathing, much like a swimmer or runner does when she’s in her workout groove. If this doesn’t work (or stops working), focus on the sound you make when you’re in pain. For some women, it’s a low hum; for others, it’s a robust “aah.” You can then turn this natural exclamation into a rhythmic pattern that can help you cope with labor pains.

Plus, more from The Bump:
Different positions for birth?

Alternative birth methods?

Tool: Birth Plan

Lisa Gould Rubin, certified childbirth educator, doula and coauthor of The Birth That’s Right For You

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