In my line of work as a birth doula, I get asked a lot of questions about very personal topics. Most of the time those questions contain the words: “cervix”, “contraction” or “baby”. But today, rather than revealing my client’s most intimate and urgent questions in preparing for childbirth, instead I offer you my reflections as a perinatal music therapist to the question, “why should I use music for childbirth?”.
- Music is the most accessible and adaptable resource available to you for childbirth. Through music sharing platforms like Spotify you can search and share all types of existing playlists, create your own and even follow people (ahem), who can offer insight through expertise on what is the best music for various stages of childbirth. When I’m attending births my smart phone loaded with music, tablet, ipod backup and portable bluetooth speaker literally all fit in one hand. Accessible.
- Music can be incorporated into any birth plan, pairs nicely will all childbirth techniques. I collaborate with couples like you to create the most customized and comfortable playlists for birth no matter what type of birth they have planned. As a music therapist, I provide guidance in making the best song choices from preferred and familiar music to shape birth playlists to suit birth plans and personalities while maximizing the therapeutic potential of the music to support birth at home, in hospitals or through cesarean section. Everyone’s birth rhythm is different. This is why the music you choose can and should reflect your goals for birth.
- Music can shape the birthing environment. Recently, I asked an expecting mother to consider what she wanted her birthing space to feel like, sound like, and look like. She simply stated, “like my yoga studio.” Later that month as she labored with her professionally designed music playlists, her obstetrician noticed the music and stated, “it feels like I want to stay and do some yoga.” The music you choose, whether it’s your favorite upbeat ballad or a classical chamber selection will help communicate to your partner and assisting staff how you want your birthing environment to feel. So carefully choose the style, message and instrumental arrangements to reflect that personal feeling and mood.
- Music will support physiological processes during birth to reduce pain perception, optimize hormone release and steady breathing. I was privileged to attend a birth where the mother, so calm and so peaceful, took deep, slow, controlled breaths and did not need to push her baby into this world. Instead, the power of her breathing and the rhythm of her pulsing contractions, very simply, very gently, guided her baby out. Her vocal and guttural instincts were validated through the singer and supported by her beautiful lyrical mantra. The rhythm of the music helped the mother’s body entrain and progress, to open and release her baby gently into this world.
- Music will create unforgettable bonds with baby before and at the time of birth. As a whole brain stimulus, music is a window into great realms of creativity, self-awareness and healing. I’ve witnessed families experience the importance of prenatal sound together prenatally in music, making art, moving through the stages of grief and life and love; all initiated by a song. At the moment of birth the music can become part of your permanent memory landscape. A simple playlist of songs can help you revisit the memories at any time, rejoicing in the happiness or healing from difficulties that were faced in labor. Along with holding the space for the biological imperative of bonding after birth, music can also etch the vibrations of your family birth song in your minds and on your heart, forever. My first child had a carefully curated playlist and at the moment of birth we played a sweet duet called The Moment I saw You. My second child was born quickly and the only song I remember playing was Just Breathe. I’ll save my full birth stories for another blog but wanted to mention how memorable music at birth can be.
It’s been 10 years since my first birth and I still swell with emotion every single time I hear my child’s birth song playing.
If you’d like help designing an effective playlist of music for birth, contact me and we will get started today!
Book your birth music consultation with Kate Taylor, MA, MTBC and receive three customized playlists (a $150.00 value) to use for relaxation as you prepare for birth, as support to cope through labor and for rest in your postpartum recovery. Visit www.birthmusic.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org more information.