Hee-Hee No More

It’s time to ditch the whole hee-hee-ho breathing for labor that you find plastered all over the internet. Allow me to demonstrate why with a simple exercise.

Take a deep, cleansing breath. Good. Now concentrate on how your perineum, pelvic floor and really, your whole body feels like as you make a rhythmic, high pitched sound like “ee-ee” over the course of 30 seconds. How do you feel?

Pretend you're Santa: say ho-ho! Photo property of Nick Fedele, used under Creative Commons license

Pretend you're Santa: say ho-ho! Photo property of Nick Fedele, used under Creative Commons license

Now take another cleansing breath - again, concentrating on the feel in your perineum and pelvic floor. This time, make deep, low-pitched rhythmic noises, like “ho-ho” over the course of the 30 seconds. How do you feel? How does it compare to the first exercise?

It’s a subtle difference but you should have felt more relaxed when you made the low pitched noise. See, a hee-hee noise is actually a high pitched sound, and what do high pitched sounds do? They make us tense up and, let’s face it : tension in labor equals pain.

So instead of following the outdated advice to use a pattern with “hee-hee”, try using low pitched sounds like “ho”, “ha”, or “oh” in a sequence instead: “ho-ho-blow” and so on.

Go ahead. Vocalization is a great tool for labor. Just remember, pull a line out of Santa’s bag when you do it: use ho-ho, not hee-hee.