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4 breathing exercises every pregnant woman should do

Here are a few breathing exercises that will do you a lot of good when practised during pregnancy.

Written by Debjani Arora |Published : November 4, 2014 6:07 PM IST

Corrective breathing during pregnancy is very crucial. The reason being your body needs an adequate supply of oxygen to meet the requirements of your growing baby and for the optimum functioning of your body. Adequate supply of oxygen aids in baby s growth and development process and provides the fetus with the required nourishment. Hence correcting one s breathing techniques and patterns becomes necessary. Here are four simple breathing exercises that could help you restore adequate oxygen in the body.

Breathing from your stomach

This is often referred to as belly breathing. Sit in a comfortable place with your legs folded. Relax your entire body including your jaws, shoulders and hips. Keep one hand under your belly and another above it. Then breathe deep from your lower abdomen, filling your belly with air to the count of 8 or any number you are comfortable with. Exhale slowly counting the same number. Do this at least for 10 minutes every day until it comes naturally to you. If your belly is not showing yet, you can just sit and follow the same technique, resting your palms on your knees.

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If you want to do it by lying down, lie straight on your back and use a pillow to prop up your head. Keep your knees folded so that your soles touch the ground, and your arms are relaxed resting by your side. However, as you progress into your pregnancy, and your belly protrudes out, make it a point to do this exercise by sitting on the floor as lying straight on your back might pose some difficulties. Know why it is important to practise belly breathing during pregnancy.

Breathing from the chest

Stand upright and keep your feet parallel to each other. Keep your mouth closed and take a deep breath counting till 10. Place your hands on your chest. However, take care that you don t press too hard on your chest. As you inhale, feel your hand move outwards as your lungs expand. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then exhale slowly. Take as much time to exhale as you did while inhaling the fresh air. A simple way to do it is by counting the same number as you did while breathing in. Repeat the whole exercise for ten times to reap its benefits.

Keep in mind that it might become a little difficult for you to perform this exercise after the seventh month, however try to do it regularly keeping with your comfort levels. Here are nine exercise dos and don'ts every pregnant woman should follow.

Shallow breathing

Remember, shallow breathing throughout the day isn t a good practice as it can restrict oxygen intake and compromise oxygen supply to the baby. However, practicing shallow breathing for few minutes a day will give a good boost to your lungs and keep them healthy. To do this right, lie down on your back with knees bent or stand erect by keeping your back straight and feet parallel to each other. Next, open your mouth wide and take quick, shallow breaths. This will give your lungs a good exercise. Do this exercise for at least five minutes in a day.

Alternate deep and shallow breathing

Get into a comfortable position. Either sit down with your legs folded or stand erect keeping your feet parallel to each other. Relax your entire body, your jaw, hands, knees, hips and shoulders. Next, take one deep breath and hold it for a few seconds. Exhale slowly taking the same amount of time. Then open your mouth wide and inhale air from your mouth counting up to five. After that close your mouth and repeat the deep breathing process. Repeat the entire cycle for five times at a stretch. Here are few exercises you should avoid during pregnancy.

These breathing exercises can help you up your oxygen intake, improve your circulation and help your body function better to provide your baby with enough nutrition and oxygen. However, keep in mind that the benefits of these breathing exercises can be more beneficial if coupled with Pranayam and yoga.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

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