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Breathing techniques to help you with your birth: Part 1

Here is the start of the serialisation of my little book. I hope you enjoy it, and do contact me if you have any questions.

About me - Nicola Harpin

I have two lovely boys. Both born at home in our family bathroom, both born without intervention. The tools I had to help me with the job where my husband, a tens machine, a bit of luck, lots of faith and a focused breath practice.

I used the counted breath practice that appears in the techniques section of this book. Using this practice, with my husband shepherding me, made my birth experiences amongst the best I have been told about from the women that I work with. It also serves as an antidote to the stories of fear and terror often told to pregnant women when others speak of their experiences.

I practiced yoga and kept fit whilst pregnant and I used many of the techniques I was trained to teach other women in my pregnancy yoga classes by my trainer, Uma Dinsmore-Tuli ( In addition, I used techniques I had created myself based on the many general yoga classes that I had attended over the years.

I have taught hundreds of women and their birthing partners in both yoga classes and birth rehearsal workshops. Time and time again the feedback is “the breathing got me through”.


Now before we start he idea of being present at the birth of a child can bring thoughts of fear and terror, especially in today’s world, where in some countries, partners can, want to be, or are expected to be present at births.

This guide offers women and their birthing partners some basic ideas to ponder and suggestions for how they, as birthing partners, can be useful and control their own anxiety during the birth period by keeping their partners focused on one of nature’s most amazing gifts, the ability to breathe and control our breathe.

This force of nature at the time of birth tends to sit outside of medical journals, but I teach it in the holistic sense, as a supporting practice for the big day.

I fondly recall the story that started me on my journey to teaching what I call ‘birth rehearsals’. The story of a couple and how, when the labour was progressing, to the point that their child was almost appearing in to the world, the obstetrician was having to assist the husband more than the wife, to help calm his fears and anxieties. This story made me realise that birthing partners have a key role to play but it isn’t always obvious or a natural instinct as to what to do.

Birthing partners need to be taught and guided, as the more able they are to help and participate, the more supported, relaxed and calm they and their partner will feel. We are not looking at rocket science, just simple birth breathing first aid.

Using my yogic back ground, I have devised this simple guide to help partners through labour. With birthing partners using the breath techniques during the birth, shepherding their women, both the birthing partners and women can overcome some of the fears and terrors associated with birth by focusing together on the breath and delivering the baby.

Want to learn more? Why not attend one of our birth rehearsal workshops?


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