This is a picture from a birth I recently attended. L is a repeat mama-client-friend of mine and her birthing practices spurred this post.
I have wrote earlier about the power of singing or making noise in labor here and here. To quote an earlier post:
To encourage better labor sounds, the partner or doula can hum, sigh, ahh, or oooh in lower-register tones with open glottis. This allows for proper breathing, intonation, moderate distraction, and relaxation. There are many benefits to staying conscientious of your vocal tone:
- Opens the throat, which opens and relaxes the pelvis
- Ensures deep and long breathing
- Promotes relaxation of the mind and body, releasing stress and anxiety, inhibiting 'fear, tension, pain cycle'
- Serves as a productive pain management tool
- Creates vibration in the body, which can relax your muscles
Music is powerful! We know that singing is beneficial in labor and birth; by the way, mama, daddy, and I sang together (we blow some tight harmony) through her transition. But music, whether or not we sing, is also very beneficial.
Music and sound have a way of affecting us like no other sense. Consider that a baby begins to develop an auditory system between seventeen and nineteen weeks. Before the eye has seen, before skin to skin contact ever occurs, before scent and variety of taste, we are in a world of sound; the rhythmic sounds of the mother's breath and heartbeat soothe the baby, while her voice and the voices of her partner elicit relaxation or stimulation to baby - depending on the tone of the voices.
We know, through music therapy and recent research, that the act of listening to music has several benefits:
- Stress relief and emotional release
- Increased creativity and abstract thinking
- Positive influences on the bodies overall energy levels and heart rhythm
- allowance of physical rhythm and ritual/movement
Most people have an intuitive understanding of how music interacts with our bodies. Music is 'felt' as well as heard. It affects our emotions and our physical state of wellbeing. We can now even use music to heal parts of the damaged brain.
Music listening impacts the brain as a whole, stimulating both halves – the analytical brain and the artistic brain. This bilateral function allows us to move 'up' in a state of physical and emotional balance. In labor, this upward thinking and being translates into increased comfort and focus during the birthing time.
So consider during your birthing time:
- Do you want your partner to play music for you?
- Do you want to sing your favorite songs?
- What sounds and music do you want to hear?
- What rhythms do you see yourself moving with to bring your baby into the world?