When childbirth is viewed as a holistic experience, music becomes one of the best resources to reach the diverse needs involved: physical, neurological, spiritual, emotional, social, environmental, interpersonal, even transcendental. Music for birth is just.so.awesome. Here are a few tips you can use when considering how to use music for during pregnancy, labor and beyond:
1. Take time in this pregnancy to listen to what your body and your baby are telling you. Find ways to slow down and connect with your baby through music everyday from now until you deliver. Listen to music and move. Listen to music and journal. Listen to music as you fold baby clothes and bond with your unborn baby over your favorite songs.
2. Design a series of playlists. One of the biggest problems couples face when planning music for their birth is thinking that one single playlist will be enough for the duration of labor. Instead, consider using a playlist or two for each stage of labor. Consider that your needs during early labor will be very different than during transition. Everyday I design custom relaxation routines for musicians and other MTBCs who have a hard time stepping out of their professional role and into the role of receiving music for relaxation and therapy. So, email me for help with your playlists…I make it look very easy. No seriously, it will be easier for you too if you invest in a consultation to better understand your goals, the role of music and how you can use it during labor.
3. Use music as a resource at home to prepare for birth by conditioning your relaxation response. Practice listening to your birth music and imagine your ideal environment, birth and bonding time. Like a beautiful soundtrack, listening and imaging your birthing time now will allow your body to feel safer and more comfortable when your first surges of early labor begin.
4. Use music to transition from home to the birthing center or hospital. Often the music becomes a highly useful transitional tool for comfort and security when moving from laboring at home to getting to the birthing center. Also, during the time immediately following birth into becoming parents, music serves to help transition both you and baby. Music can help your baby understand sleeping time vs. eating time and quiet bonding time encouraged by simple instrumental lullabies or subtle changes in music.
Parents are always reporting back to Creative Childbirth Concepts® that they continue to use their custom playlists, relaxation routines and music as they transition into the reality of raising a baby. Together we explore how they can use their existing musical preferences as a resource for childbirth. I also train doulas how to integrate music as a teaching tool, a resource during birth and for sustainability through self-care. Let me know if you’re interested in developing more of this awareness or seeking support and supervision. My consultation services can help.
Kate Taylor is a birth doula, board certified music therapist and owner of Creative Childbirth Concepts® in Chicago IL. Visit her website for more information or to arrange a consultation call 216-704-6595