What it is:
Music for labor is not a specific song, or style of music. It is any music the mother finds helpful for relaxing and laboring. For some women this will be classical or instrumental music with slow tempos. Other women may enjoy music with familiar lyrics they can focus on or sing with between contractions. Many women choose music with lyrics they find meaningful to help encourage them during labor.
How it works:
Music helps create a mood, which can help the laboring mother stay calm and relaxed even in a hospital environment. Music can also provide a mental distraction for the mother, preventing boredom. In some cases music can be used to cover distracting noises in the birth area, such as street traffic from a window or hospital noise from the hallway.
How to do it:
To use music in labor you must have pre-recorded music and a way to play that music. Some mothers find making a playlist or CD of their favorite songs works well. Other mothers buy a relaxing CD specifically for labor. You can bring an mp3 or CD player to your birth place, or call before labor begins to find out what they have available.
It is a good idea to have a selection of music available. Music with a faster tempo can be used when the mother needs more energy and to help her keep moving between contractions. Music with deeper tones and slower tempo can be used to encourage relaxation and swaying in place when the mother needs a rest.
Integrating it into labor:
Use slow, gentle music to help the mother relax and encourage deep abdominal breathing.
Use music that has a recognizable beat to encourage movement such as hip swaying or walking during labor.
Encourage the mother to sing with the music to provide a distraction which can help the time pass quicker.
Choose a song that gives you the faith and courage to move through the difficult spots of labor. When needed, play the song and listen to the words.