Today everyone enjoys music whenever and wherever they are — including the delivery room. Birthing playlists are now a key component of many expectant parents’ birth plans; there are over 90,000 “Push Playlists” on Spotify and renowned New York OB-GYN Dr. Jacques Moritz reports that 70% of his patients prepare playlists specifically for going into labor.
Spotify has partnered with Dr. Moritz to create an ideal Birthing Playlist that is scientifically designed (and delivery room tested and approved) to accompany women through childbirth. The playlist mirrors the birthing experience, starting with songs that are slow and mellow, then transitioning into songs with a stronger beat for when it’s time to push, and concluding with Bach’s ‘Unaccompanied Cello Suite #1’ performed by the legendary Yo-Yo Ma for the 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 explained. “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.”
For those who want to forgo Dr. Moritz’s playlist and create their own, Dr. Moritz recommends the following tips:
- 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 not the place to experiment with a new musician or genre, but a place to return to old and familiar favorites. Dr. Moritz in particular recommends women select favorite songs from their adolescence, which our minds remember over many years like a warm, worn sweater for the soul.
- Strong Instrumentals: Songs for labor and pushing should emphasize instrumentals, which the mind intuitively processes. Music with lyrics, on the other hand, can be distracting. If you absolutely want songs with lyrics, selecting ones with lyrics in a language you don’t understand can have the same effect as listening to an instrumental.
- Length and Variety: While labor 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 moms.
- Beautiful: Last but certainly not least, 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. Research has also shown that songs the fetus hears in the womb can be remembered, so make those memories beautiful too.
Dr. Moritz’s birthing playlist can be found below.
- 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 Labor
- 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