Pregnancy and breathing gymnastics
Pregnancy itself doesn't mean a woman should not do certain physical activity, including breathing gymnastics. It's more about another factors that define pros & cons, namely:
- general physical condition
- current emotional state
- lung capacity for the moment
- the desired effect from the trainings.
Breathing practice during pregnancy
If you are generally healthy, have an active life and feel well, you can practice whatever pattern you'd like, as long as it brings you joy. For that it's important to choose proper training complexity). If you have any doubts, please consult your physician.
Also please make sure you don't over-do breath holding phases ("retain" and "sustain" in the app). If and when you do them, note you may feel baby kicking during your practice; it's quite normal, as a baby moves actively in order to get more oxygen. It does no harm to a child.
It is highly recommended to learn breathing patterns for relaxation, like Calming, Relax, Coherent breathing, Bahya (with minimal or no air sustain phase) etc., so you can get back to control of your emotional state, that can be quite unstable sometimes. Also, there is an article with a video from Today show about one of the methods you can use.
Breathing during birthing
Though breathing during labor is considered to be a subject of minor importance, and often is expected to be natural and not controlled, we would say it's true only if a woman in labor is absolutely relaxed, without any anxiety regarding what's going on and is sure that everything is fine. It's not always possible, therefore breathing gymnastics can be a healthy medication-free way to reduce anxiety and to relieve pain.
As uterine muscles are hard-working muscles during contractions and pushing, they need more oxygen and active blood circulation to remove the metabolites. Also the muscles nearby (diaphragm and abdomen) should be relaxed so they don't interfere with the natural process and don't spend the precious oxygen. There is a theory that claims the labor pain is the result of uterine muscle tension and lactic acid stagnation in muscles. And here the patterns for relaxation mentione above are really useful, as they help to concentrate on relaxation, and to increase blood oxygenation level. So during and after contractions it's great to breathe slowly and deeply, thus to practice your favorite relaxation pattern, like Calming or Relax, or any other you like the most.
Also, one of useful patterns during the birthing process is Bhastrika, for the moment you would have to breathe very fast to slow down the pushing right after the baby's head is out, so the baby can turn to the side so the shoulders can move out easily. That would be good if you practice and master this pattern way before the labor time comes.
By the way, if you are on this page - our congratulations! That means you are (or soon going to be) pregnant, or, if you're a man, your dear wife/sister/friend is. Or you are just interested in this topic, which is also good. Anyway, please make sure your main tool for decision making is based on common sense and on trust in your own feelings. Surely, a piece of advice from doctor/friend/indie-developer's wife can be quite valuable, but it is you who is bearing a child, and it is you who is responsible for your lives. Wish you lots of precious moments together!