During your pregnancy, you’ve made all kinds of decisions and preparations: attending prenatal appointments, getting acquainted with your birthing location, practicing everything you learned in your birthing class, and shopping for the gear and outfits for when you bring your baby home.
During the actual birthing process, there are still so many details to plan and so many potential outcomes to prepare for. The phrase “expect the unexpected” means you have to be in the mindset to handle whatever comes your way. Your body will undergo significant and rapid changes, and while those are intuitive and involuntary, they are also unfamiliar and possibly uncomfortable. Your mind and body may need relaxation and calm, or motivation and stimulation. An ideal way to set the right mood at any moment is with thoughtfully chosen music with a birth playlist.
Why is a birth playlist important?
Music has direct effects on the brain and is proven to create emotional responses and prompt physical reactions. When you listen to relaxing music, your body releases dopamine, the hormone that reduces stress, and that’s exactly what you want during labor. Music also elicits a physical response, encouraging your body (even your heartbeat) to get in sync with the rhythm. This can be beneficial as your heart rate increases during contractions, and you want to help slow it back down again. Listening to music shifts our perception of time can also reduce stress from waiting for labor to progress. Studies even suggest that music can reduce pain and anxiety levels during the labor process.
Birth Playlist Songs for Early and Active Labor
In early and active labor, you’ll get the most benefit from relaxing and calming music, especially music that helps bring your brain to a theta frequency. This will keep your muscles and mind at ease and give the illusion of time passing much faster. You can choose any song with a soft, pleasant melody and slower tempo, especially classical music. Other good options include instrumental music, chants, meditations, affirmations, naturescapes, and spiritual songs. This soothing playlist offers nearly ten hours of calming sounds from a variety of genres.
Ambient and Instrumental Music
Meditations and Long Songs
Birth Playlist Songs for Pushing
When it’s time to push, you’ll want to go with your body’s surges, you want to be alert and engaged, and you want your energy to rise to meet the demands on your body. Here is a high-energy playlist with strong beats for rhythmic swaying or breathing, similar to a running or workout playlist. If you have a favorite artist or genre, choose songs that are a little more up-tempo with a definite rhythm. This is also a time for celebration, so feel free to add songs that make you feel like a champion — because you are!
The ‘90s and Beyond
The ‘80s and Earlier
I encourage you to browse through these recommendations and curate a birth playlist that suits your personal preferences. Then share your expectations for music in your birthing plan with your birthing partner. And because you never know what to expect, be willing to request silence so you can listen to your own intuition. Be sure to have your device fully charged, a charging cable handy, and access to a wifi network for streaming content. Also, plan to continue enjoying music with your newborn by listening, singing, and dancing long after the memories of labor have faded away.