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My Labor Playlist (And How to Choose One)

What music do you like?

I’m trying to finalize things here as I’m rapidly approaching 38 weeks.  Luckily, a visit to my chiropractor and massage therapist have eased the pain for now, so I have the energy to get things done again!  And I would really, really like to.

One thing on my list was to choose my playlist for labor.  Last time I didn’t prepare anything in particular “environmentally” and it wasn’t a good idea.  I got too distracted by the TV and internet in early labor, then chatting with my birth attendants in active labor, that I didn’t make any progress for hours!  For me, it was the wrong way to handle labor.  I needed to focus on what was happening instead of trying to ignore it.

So this time I am preparing things that I would like to have in labor, in order to help me concentrate and hopefully result in a smooth, faster labor!  Curious what I’ll be listening to and why?

I really do think the labor environment is crucial.  There are stories of both women and animals who, under extreme stress, actually stopped in the middle of labor!  If your body can’t relax, the pain increases, and so does the length of the labor.  That’s not good for you or baby, who is also experiencing your stress reaction.

With that in mind, I want my labor environment to be as relaxing as possible, to help me focus.  It’s better for me and my baby!

Here’s my playlist:

  • Beethoven symphony #6
  • Dvorak symphony #9 (new world)
  • African symphony
  • Vivaldi ‘four seasons’ spring and fall (first and last movements to each)
  • Mozart #35

Yup, it’s all classical!  I’m a musician (have a degree in music) and I’ve performed each of these at one time or another and I have really positive memories associated with each of them.  The last was performed at my wedding!

Beethoven 6 is the “pastoral symphony,” and I once performed it at a nature reserve, looking through these huge windows into a beautiful forest, with the sun streaming in the windows.  It’s a really great memory for me.

Dvorak 9 is “new world,” and I’ve performed it a few times but always loved it. 

African Symphony is a short piece I performed in high school that is just exciting to me and which came at a fun time in my life.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons I’ve also always loved, and have performed a few times.

Can you see a theme here?  I’m choosing music that has very positive memories for me!  I find the music uplifting and encouraging.  I also selected pieces that don’t have words, so that I’m not ‘focused’ on the lyrics or anything outward, but inward on my own thoughts and memories and what is happening with my baby.  That is what really helped me last time — just focusing heavily on my baby and knowing that it was going to happen.

So how do you choose your own play list?  Here are some tips:

1) Choose things with positive associations — Having positive feelings surrounding you will help to ease the birth, and keep you relaxed (resulting in less pain!)

2) Choose lyrics or not carefully — Perhaps hearing the lyrics will help you to focus and serve as a good reminder to you that you CAN do this. Or, perhaps, like me, the lyrics will distract you from the task at hand.  You know yourself; make the right choice.

3) Choose a wide variety of music – You don’t know how long your labor is and how long you’ll want the music on.  So choose at least a few hours’ worth of music.  That way even if songs do get repeated, they’re still “fresh.”

What will be on your labor playlist?

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