Difference in respiration in adults and babies
The breathing of a baby and an adult differs in certain aspects. However, the mechanism of respiration is the same. Within the womb, the baby’s lungs are filled with fluid.
The mother’s oxygen-rich blood supplies the baby at that time. From birth on, the baby breathes like an adult by expanding and contracting the lungs. The frequency of breathing is increased in babies compared to adults.
While an adult person breathes about 12-15 breaths per minute, a newborn baby breathes about 40 times per minute. An infant breathes about 30 breaths per minute. This may seem a lot at first sight and frighten some parents, but the rapid breathing is completely normal.
What can also cause concern are breathing noises. While adults hardly make any breathing sounds and there is usually a whistling or rattling sound when they are ill, babies may hear noises when breathing more often. This is because the mucus is difficult to transport and remove from the baby. Adults, for example, blow their nose more often, whereas in a baby the mucus remains in the nose and can cause noises. Apart from this, there are no differences in breathing.
Breathing techniques for specific situations
The onset of labour heralds the approach of the birth. As the contractions progress, they come in smaller and smaller intervals. At this point it is still important to maintain a certain breathing pattern.
In this case, it is advisable to breathe deeply into the abdomen at the beginning of the contractions and then slowly release the air. Often it helps the women who are giving birth to make certain sounds such as “Aaah”, “Uhhh” or “Ohh” to support the slow, controlled exhalation of the air. They are also advised to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
In the transitional phase of birth, i.e. when pressure is felt on the pelvic floor after the onset of labour, no pressure should be created yet to press the baby out. For this reason, “pantomime” is recommended during the transitional phase of birth. This involves exhaling in many small bursts of breath.
During the expulsion phase of the birth, pressure should be actively exhaled. In most cases, deep inhalation is taken before pressing and exhalation is taken after pressing. However, it is important not to hold the air for too long in order to ensure the oxygen supply.
On the other hand, you should also not breathe too quickly, as this can lead to hyperventilation and problems with circulation. In most cases, however, breathing works very well intuitively or under guidance. The tips and exercises in prenatal classes can also help many women during childbirth.
Breathing while jogging is a topic that has been widely discussed in the sports world. In the past it was advised to keep a strict breathing rhythm (about 2 steps inhalation, 3 steps exhalation). Nowadays it is believed that a fixed rhythm tends to restrict runners and causes problems.
In the meantime, abdominal breathing is advised. The abdominal breathing is driven by the diaphragm, which contracts and expands the entire lung. By contrast, chest breathing mainly unfolds the upper part of the lung.
As a result, the volume of the lung is not used sufficiently. It is even recommended to practice abdominal breathing outside of jogging, for example with yoga. Apart from that, it is recommended to breathe through the nose as well as through the mouth.
Nasal breathing has the advantage that the air is warmed and moistened via the mucous membranes of the nose. However, due to the small diameter of the airways of the nose, the breathing volume is limited. When breathing through the mouth, a higher respiratory volume can be implemented, but a dry throat also occurs more often.
The crawl is a special swimming technique in which the swimmer has his head under water and turns his face to the water surface to take a breath. The breathing act should take place in as short a time as possible, as the head above water has a higher resistance and thus makes the swimmer slower. So the head breaks the water surface sideways and the swimmer breathes in.
When it comes to speed, inhalation is mostly done through the mouth, since a larger volume of air can be breathed in a shorter time via mouth breathing. However, if you swim rather long distances, a dry mouth and throat area can quickly develop. In this case you should rather inhale through the nose.
Exhaling while crawling takes place under water. It is not necessary to lift the head above the water surface and would mean an unnecessary loss of time. Everyone has felt fear at some time or another.
However, there are also breathing exercises that help against fear. By using the breathing techniques you start to relax and do not let the fear take such a big control over your body. First it is important to consciously breathe more slowly.
An adult person breathes about 12 to 15 times per minute, in an anxiety situation usually even more often. One should try to reach a frequency of about 6 breaths per minute. This means that you should breathe in and out very slowly and deeply.
After exhaling you can also take a short pause until you feel the urge to inhale again. To slow down the exhalation, it is helpful to exhale through the slightly closed lips and thereby slow down the air. A long exhalation is especially helpful to regulate your breathing and to be able to relax.
For some time now, the so-called 4-7-8 breathing technique has become very popular as a sleeping aid. This is a special breathing technique developed by the American doctor Dr. Andrew Weil. It is based on breathing exercises from yoga and is said to have a very relaxing effect so that you can fall asleep within a short time.
The advantages of this exercise are that it can be performed free of charge and without any aids and takes less than a minute. The first step is to breathe in through the nose for four seconds. Then the air should be held for 7 seconds.
Finally, the air should be exhaled again within 8 seconds, while the tip of the tongue is placed on the palate, behind the upper incisors. This exercise lowers the pulse rate and relaxes you. This makes it easier for many people to fall asleep quickly.
Alternatively, there are other exercises to help you fall asleep quickly. The basic idea is always to concentrate on your breathing and breathe consciously. On the one hand, this forces you to ignore your thoughts and worries that prevent you from sleeping.
In addition, conscious, calm breathing has a relaxing effect. For example, you can place your hands on your chest or stomach and consciously breathe in slowly from top to bottom. In doing so, the breathing should flow like a wave from top to bottom. Then let the air out again from bottom to top. It is important to feel the movement of the breath with your hands and to focus on it.