Well Rounded Birth Prep

Well Rounded Birth Prep

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Labor music & reducing pain perception

Lots of mommas report that having their favorite music playing during labor and birth helps counteract the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle and assist with lessening their perception of pain, helping make labor more manageable. What kind of music you'll want to have ready is totally personal. I find that most mommas prefer slow music for early through active labor (anything you could slow-dance to), but that slow instrumental music is frequently more relaxing as the mother approaches transition through pushing. The lyrics can be too distracting at that point. Of course, it's up to you. One momma told me that she had rave music playing throughout her entire unmedicated birth at a birth center. Whatever floats your boat.

Find out if your place of birth has a CD player in each room. If not (and not many do), be prepared to have your iPod, iPad, or other MP3 player ready *with speakers* since it's difficult to keep earbuds in place while changing positions frequently during labor. It also makes for nice ambiance for your labor partner and labor support team.

I started drafting my labor playlist on notebook paper six months ago. The list kept growing until I realized that not only could we not afford to download that many songs on iTunes, but also that by the time I realized it was active labor, I likely wouldn't even have time to listen to the entire playlist I had written up! I have shown my "dream" playlist to a few friends, all of whom commented on how eclectic and varied the genres of my picks were. I figured I'd post both my finalized list and my "dream" list for anyone looking for ideas. Anyone who likes the same music I do, that is. Otherwise, make sure you have your rave music ready to play. It's all good.

My final playlist, most of which we already had on iTunes:

  • "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" James Taylor
  • "Something in the Way She Moves" James Taylor
  • "You've Got a Friend" James Taylor
  • "Fire and Rain" James Taylor
  • "Sweet Baby James" James Taylor
  • "Carolina In My Mind" James Taylor
  • "Walking Man" James Taylor
  • "Daughters" John Mayer
  • "Don't Know Why" Norah Jones
  • "Try a Little Tenderness" Michael Buble
  • "More Than Words" Extreme
  • "Bed of Roses" Bon Jovi
  • "Kiss from a Rose" Seal
  • "She's Always a Woman" Billy Joel
  • "To Make You Feel My Love" Billy Joel ("Our song" played at our wedding)
  • "Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel)" Billy Joel
  • "New York State of Mind" Billy Joel
  • "Shameless" Garth Brooks
  • "I Melt" Rascal Flatts
  • "When Can I See You" Babyface
  • "Take a Bow" Madonna
  • "Crazy For You" Madonna
  • "Forbidden Love" Madonna
  • "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" Madonna
  • "I'll Remember" Madonna
  • "One More Chance" Madonna
  • "Something to Remember" Madonna
  • "You'll See" Madonna
  • "Wicked Game" Chris Isaak
  • "Just the Two of Us" Grover Washington, Jr.
  • "Your Song" Elton John
  • "Tiny Dancer" Elton John
  • "Layla (Acoustic Version)" Eric Clapton
  • "Take it to the Limit" Eagles
  • "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" Aerosmith
  • "Nothing Compares 2 U" Sinead O'Connor
  • "A Whiter Shade of Pale" Joe Cocker
Additional songs I'd have added if I felt like spending the cash:
  • "Lucky" Jason Mraz
  • "Waiting on the World to Change" John Mayer
  • "Body is a Wonderland" John Mayer
  • "Isn't She Lovely" Stevie Wonder
  • "When a Man Loves a Woman" Percy Sledge
  • "Givin' Him Something He Can Feel" En Vogue
  • "Let's Get it On" Rascal Flatts or Marvin Gaye
  • "Let's Stay Together" Al Green
  • "Easy" Commodores
  • "Desperado" Eagles
  • "Hotel California" Eagles
  • "Best of My Love" Eagles
  • "Wasted Time" Eagles
  • "One of These Nights" Eagles
  • "I Can't Tell You Why" Eagles
  • "Landslide (Acoustic)" Fleetwood Mac
  • "Rhiannon" Fleetwood Mac
  • "Angel" Aerosmith
  • "What it Takes" Aerosmith
  • "The One" Elton John
  • "I Want Love" Elton John
  • "The Way You Look Tonight" Elton John
  • "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" Elton John
  • "Patience" Guns & Roses
  • "Knockin on Heaven's Door" Guns & Roses
  • "Weak" SWV
  • "Must Have Been Love" Roxette
  • "Faithfully" Journey
  • "Lights" Journey
  • "Open Arms" Journey
  • "When You Love a Woman" Journey
  • "Strange Magic" ELO
  • "Careless Whisper" George Michael
  • "Sara Smile" Hall & Oates
  • "Vision of Love" Mariah Carey
  • "Open Arms" Mariah Carey
  • "Can't Let Go" Mariah Carey
  • "Without You" Mariah Carey
  • "I Still Believe" Mariah Carey
  • "My All" Mariah Carey
  • "I'll Be There" Mariah Carey
  • "Fragile" Sting
  • "When We Dance" Sting
  • "In the Air Tonight" Phil Collins
  • "Rain" Madonna
  • "Just the Way You Are" Billy Joel
  • "Honesty" Billy Joel
  • "Leave a Tender Moment Alone" Billy Joel
  • "She's Got a Way" Billy Joel
  • "And So It Goes" Billy Joel
  • "Into Temptation" Crowded House
And for transition onward, if the lyrics of slow music are too distracting, I plan on playing Pandora Radio channel for Pachelbel's Canon in D (another song played at our wedding). 

Did you have music playing during your labor and/or birth? What music did you prepare ahead of time? Did you end up wanting what you thought you would want?


  1. When I was in labor with my most recent child, I brought in a tiny mp3 player and headphones in a flesh color. My midwife (hospital midwife) complained at my then-husband that I was always shouting. I had nice soothing music (classical, Groban, Enya, McKennet, and barbershop quartets) going nearly the whole time. The mp3 player wasn't contraband or anything, it just wasn't noticed by the midwife until my little girl was born and we had to move the cords going to the earbuds in order to nurse.

  2. I love this post, and your questions at the end made me chuckle. In one of those fits of 39-week-MUST-PLAN-EVERYTHING insomnia, I spent a few hours making a beautiful playlist of soothing, inspirational music. This was my first baby and I was worried that because my mom and sister had both "needed" to be induced/augmented, I wouldn't get the natural birth I wanted. Well, my labor, start to finish, was around 5 hours—including 54 minutes in the tub, pushing (I counted.) It was like being hit by a train... and needless to say, I didn't get to use any of my relaxing playlist. In fact, in the middle of labor la-la-land, I dimly remember thinking, "Oh no! My labor playlist! How can I have a baby without—HNNNGGGG CONTRACTION!" Ha ha. Good times. :)


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