Do Real Contractions Make It Hard To Breathe? Experts Explain How They Impact Your Breathing

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By Abi Berwager Schreier | Originally Published Sep 29, 2018 on Romper | Featuring Dr. Sherry Ross

Since this was my first baby, I’m not sure if it was because I was induced with Pitocin and the foley balloon or if it’s just how contractions are, but I thought my insides were on fire and I was going to rip in half while in active labor. From 4 centimeters on, I was yelling for that epidural. I was in false labor a few times prior to this, and they certainly didn’t feel as bad. I wasn’t sure if I was in “real” labor or not, and I wondered, do real contractions make it hard to breathe? Is that how you know it’s show time? To say my contractions in the hospital took my breath away is an understatement. But it’s a common question many first time moms have — especially if they’re in false labor or are just having some general cramping or even lightning crotch.

According to Dr. Yvonne Bohn, an OB-GYN at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, real contractions definitely take your breath away. “The pain is so intense it takes your breath away. Women may start to panic and breath too shallow and quickly. Slow deep breathing is a better way to manage the pain and to help from feeling breathless,” she tells Romper in an email interview.

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