Whether it’s the sound of whales or Metallica, music has long been a key part of many women’s birthing plans.
Now, leading American obstetrician Dr. Jacques Moritz has created a playlist scientifically designed to accompany women through childbirth - from the start of contractions through to the moment their baby is born.
Starting with slow and mellow songs, it later moves into tunes with a stronger beat for when it’s time to push, before finishing with Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suite #1 for that moment women first meet their newborns.
“Music strongly influences our central nervous system's limbic system which manages our memories, emotions, and how we deal with fear and pain,” Dr. Moritz, who worked with music streaming service Spotify on the project, explains.
“It makes sense that women would turn to music during childbirth as a source of comfort and strength. In addition, hospitals, particularly delivery rooms, can be noisy and disconcerting – a good playlist helps distract mothers from these sounds and better manage fear and pain, leading to a more positive delivery experience.”
Here is Dr Moritz’s birthing playlist
- Pearl Jam - Just Breathe
- James Bay - Let It Go
- Regina Spektor - Don’t Leave Me
- Sigur Rós - Festival
- Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism
- The Lumineers - Ho Hey
- Norah Jones - Sunrise
- Craft Spells - After the Moment
- Xavier Rudd - Follow the Sun
- Lucinda Williams - Fruits of My Labour
- John Lennon - Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
- Colbie Caillat - Capri
- D’Angelo - Really Love
- Milton Nascimento - Nos Bailes Da Vida
- Coldplay - Don’t Panic
- Fleet Foxes - Your Protector
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps
- Kygo Maty Noyes - Stay
- P!nk - Try
- Muse - Starlight
- John Legend - All of Me - Tiesto’s Birthday Remix
- David Bowie, Queen - Under Pressure
- U2 - With or Without You
- Wilco - Impossible Germany
- Arcade Fire - Wake Up
- R.E.M. - Nightswimming
- Patty Griffin - Heavenly Day
- Iron & Wine - Naked As We Came
- Beyoncé - Blue
- Johann Sebastian Bach, Yo-Yo Ma - Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1
However, if the sound of this playlist doesn’t do it for you, Dr Moritz has the following tips for creating a mix-tape that does:
Comforting and Familiar
Music listened to while giving birth should be comforting and familiar (not to be confused with relaxing) in order to put expectant mothers at ease. The delivery room is the perfect place to return to old and familiar favorites, particularly your favourite songs from childhood.
Songs for labour and pushing should emphasise instrumentals, which the mind intuitively processes. Music with lyrics, on the other hand, can be distracting.
Length and Variety
While labour time varies, expectant mothers should create long playlists with a wide variety of artists. Dr. Moritz recommends at minimum five hours of music, with ten hours ideal especially for first time mums.
Make it beautiful
Songs for the delivery playlist should be beautiful and make a woman feel beautiful. The moment a child is born is highly emotional and memorable and the music you recall from that day should maintain that sense of beauty and emotion.