Pregnant woman listening to music

Prenatal and Labor Music Playlist Guidelines

You might have heard it’s good for babies to listen to music in utero, or you just might like music yourself and are excited about sharing it with your babies!  Either way, some of our music therapists have created some tips on how to create playlists specifically during pregnancy and labor.

This is also a great way for partners and other family members to help mom! 

PRENATAL:

  • To help you relax during pregnancy, pick music that helps you feel settled and comfortable. It does not have to be familiar, and remember – it’s okay for your taste in music to change over time—songs that used to help you relax previously might not have the same effect, so revising your playlists is fine!
  • To help you bond with your unborn baby, choose music that helps you imagine what it will be like to hold and cuddle your baby. Lullabies and songs with a “rocking” feel may help. It also might help to sit in a rocking chair while listening to this music, and sing or hum along.

DURING LABOR:

  • Create several playlists, based on the stages of labor:
    • For early labor: music that will distract
    • For early-active labor: music that she positively connects to, that helps her feel valued and loved, that helps her notice and let go.
    • For hard active labor: usually music without lyrics is best; meditative, and music she isn’t deeply connected to, that helps her move into a deep internal focus
    • For transition time (typically when moving from 8-10cm dilation): typically no sound/music is preferred during this stage. Partners should stick to yes/no questions and be mindful that mom may not want to be touched.
    • For pushing: music for a fresh restart, that is energizing, motivating, and is something she will want playing during the birth
  • Also, create one playlist of music that she will not know at all, and include different types/kinds of music. This is for when she needs and asks for something different. Remember that labor might change what she wants to hear at that moment, and she can change her mind anytime she wants to.

For more guidance on any of these tips, consulting with a board-certified music therapist (MT-BC) is advised. www.musictherapy.org has a “Find a Music Therapist” feature, and board-certification can be verified at www.cbmt.org.