The power of music has been long documented by artists, philosophers, authors and performers alike. The unique feeling hearing a new song, or an old favorite, can have on a person’s mood is remarkable. A great song can lift you, a sad song can validate your feelings, and an energetic song can get your ready for your next adventure. But most of all, as Bob said, there is a magical quality about music that can only be felt. If only a song could make childbirth painless!
In our last blog in our series of the importances of appealing to all of our senses when preparing for childbirth, we are going to try to begin to understand the power of music and how hearing the right affirmations (we will go into what is right for you might not be right for everyone) can make a difference during childbirth. (See our past blogs about smell, taste, touch, and sight).
Setting the Rhythm of Your Labor
Having music playing during a movie sets the soundtrack for it. Action movies have fast past music that elevates the viewers. Horror movies have dark, foreboding music that increases the viewers fear and creates anticipation for what is to come. Imagine Jaws without the music signifying a shark attack is nearing? It would not have the same sense of anxiety and thus decrease the fear associated with the pending attack. Just as composers are deliberate about the music choices of their movies, if you choose to have music playing during the birth of your child, you should spend some time thinking about it as well.
Music can enhance the mood of the room, as well as set the tone of the experiences. So when you are sitting down to make your play list, think about how you want to feel during the birth. If you love to laugh, make a play list that is funny and will make you giggle through contractions. If you tend to have higher anxiety and are looking to remain calm, maybe a more mellow playlist will fit you. Love to sing? Maybe putting together a playlist of your greatest hits so you can belt out some of your favorites while you are pushing.
If you are planning on having music playing while in the birthing room, make sure to consult the space prior to ensure you are not breaking any rules. Normally, a small device to play music will not be an issue. Just make sure it is moveable (you do not want it to get in the way of your medical team), battery powered or completely charged, and protected to ensure it does not break too easily.
The Right Affirmations for You
At Carolina Birth and Wellness, we believe there is no right solution for everyone. However, understanding what is right for you is vital to having the birth outcome you are dreaming about, as well as reaching your optimal health potential. Sometimes having a cheerleader right next to you will get you motivated, but sometimes that is just too frustrating! Make sure you talk with your partner about things they should and should not be saying. Some birthing people find it helpful to have their partner watching the monitors (if there are any) and tell you when the contraction is approaching and when it is reaching its peak. The presence of a doula is great to reinforce the affirmations that you have already vocalized that are important. Your doula will have learned your birth preferences by this point, so she will be able to encourage you and validate any fears that you may have.
Another great way to incorporate sounds into your birthing space is to practice making your own sounds! This could be a mantra you repeat over and over, or a particular word or phrase that is significant to you. Furthermore, a sound can be very beneficial. Practice what sounds feel best for you. Just as in martial arts, the sound helps with the task at hand, not distracts from it. Do not be afraid to practice in your home with different ones such as” “oooh”, “ahhh”, ohmmm”, or “heeee”.
A few of our favorite sounds:
- To laugh: “Push It” by Salt N Pepa
- To relax: The Rhythm Within
- To sing (loudly): “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey
- A mantra of your babies name
- Simple ocean waves to remind you of the beautiful North Carolina Beaches
- A doula repeating your birth preferences back to you
- A supportive partner telling you how excited they are for the baby to arrive
- A sleeping baby being held by his or her loving parents minutes after delivery
Pro-Tip: Make sure that play list is on repeat! Hopefully your labor isn't too long, but it is so unpredictable how long childbirth can take.