Music Therapy in Labor – A Doula’s Perspective
By now you have all seen the videos of laboring patients dancing in labor to upbeat music. If you haven’t grabbed a bowl of your favorite ice cream or popped some popcorn and just Google dancing in labor videos. There you go, HOURS of entertainment!!! And maybe you will grab a few new songs or moves to add to your labor music playlist!
Why is it that music during labor works as a distraction technique? Really, that is all it is! A particular song reminds you of a time or event in your life; maybe the first song you danced to at a high school dance, your favorite club mix, piano classic, country sing-along, or your precious wedding song. Any song that elicits happy, warm memories. You get the idea!
Those memories in combination with songs on your playlist can produce emotions. Of those emotions, one is love. It is that feeling of love that aids in the release of oxytocin. The hormone of love and also the hormone that helps labor to progress. WHAT! The same hormone that helped with making the baby is now responsible for the labor progressing!
Boom, there it is!
Why does music therapy in labor work? As a doula, I have seen many clients relax to music in active labor and/or dance the baby out in earlier labor. Music can activate the innate part of your brain…memories. All of a sudden McHammer’s Can’t Touch This comes on and you are swaying your hips when moments before you could barely stand Maybe, you break it down yourself. This movement…is a joy to my doula soul. You are involuntarily working your baby down the birth canal with each movement! How about that!
As you prep for your upcoming birth, take your favorite music. One slow and easy playlist and one upbeat; both containing about 20 songs of your choice. Now, you may not feel the need for the sound of music, but if you do, you are ready!
Take care and have an inspired birth!
Music therapy-assisted labor and delivery. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10252815
Effect of music therapy during vaginal delivery on postpartum pain relief and mental health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24411681
The Use of Music in Labor: Pain Perception