The Importance Of Music In Labour
What is your favourite song of all time? Why is it your favourite? Does it transport you to another time? Does it evoke feelings of love and happiness? Now imagine taking that feeling with you into labour and the birth of your baby?
I think many of us discount the idea that birth is as much a mind experience as it is a physical experience. And your body and mind are so interconnected that what is going on your mind can alter the way your birth goes. I'm not making this up. Just thinking something can change how your body responds to labour. I mentioned to a client one time in early labour that sometimes people can experience their contractions as crampiness and tightening in the tops of their legs. And within 15 mins, that is how she was feeling her contractions.
Going into labour with a positive mindset, and visions of how you want your birth to go can make a huge difference. In my prenatal classes, I try to use positive language, even in the scary sections and use descriptive language so that you can envision what your birth will be like. And if your mind perceives it, your body will respond in kind.
So how can music help? The various play lists your create for your birth can help transform your mindset. In early labour, music that is more upbeat and energizing. Keeping you focused on the beat and getting your body moving can be a great way to spend early labour as opposed to anxiously timing each contraction and focusing on the hard stuff to come. Focus on the current moment. When you aren't resting, listen to the music and let it transport you to a time of fun, carefree happiness. Sing a long, dance a little, sway and move with the beat. Even during the contraction. If you can move and sing or hum during the contractions, its still early in the process.
As labour gets more intense you may wish to flip to a playlist that is more calming. But still has meaning for you. Songs that remind you of loving times, may be the song you and your partner have that's your own. Maybe music that you listen to on a quiet Sunday to calm your mind and be at peace. Music that you can climb into and experience calm and relaxation. You can sway or hum to these familiar tunes and remember the times when you heard them.
And if you are birthing in a hospital, do not hesitate to have the music playing in the room for all to hear. The music you play will help change the environment from a Hospital Room to a Labouring Room. A place to move, feel comfortable and birth your baby. It can also change he moods not only of you but of your support people and the staff working with you if you have some music playing. In 16 years of being a doula I've never seen a care provider come in and want the music turned off. If discussions need to be had they will ask for you to turn it down but then it can go right back up after they leave. Plus I've heard many nurses say they love it when the lights are dimmed and music is permeating through the room. (Not super loud though)
And have you noticed I haven't given you any specific music to listen to? That's because music is an extremely personal thing and only you can decide what music will transport and transform you during your labour and birth. It doesn't have to be spa music with birds chirping and water falls if that isn't what you are into. I've definitely had clients listen to a random range of music to get them through. One client listened to everything from Tom Jones to AC/DC and everything in between. It was wild. But it worked for her.
So for the final weeks of pregnancy start creating a couple of play lists and let your partner know one of their roles will be Labour & Delivery DJ, to keep the music flowing. Good Luck!
Interested in more tips and tricks for labour and birth, follow me on Instagram @TorontoDoulaGroup.