Let’s talk about birth playlists that don’t revolve around Enya

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Jill sent us a question about labor playlists — you know, music to birth by! She specifically wondered what kind of lists you guys have made that DIDN’T include Enya (Enya fans: she means no harm!). I never got to make one, so here’s some of the songs that I would pick if I were giving birth like, right now.

Personally, I feel like birth is WAY too unpredictable to have a perfectly organized playlist (what if you want to listen to something in a different order? Or nothing at all?), so I just tried to stick with my faves. You’ll notice this is heavy on the sixties and seventies flower-child lullabies (Dylan, George Harrison, Led Zeppelin) and singer-songwriters (I can’t help it!), but I tried to keep it diverse. Who wouldn’t want to try to dance through labor?

These are a few of my favorites songs divided up into hopefully labor-and-birthing-appropriate categories:

Happy, Fun, “This isn’t as bad as I thought it would be!” Tunes

When you need something to make you comfortable/zen you out.

“Oh, shit. Labor might be hard.”

When labor gets really hard.


So, what (if anything) did you guys listen to? If you have a playlist saved or blogged online, link to it!

Comments on Let’s talk about birth playlists that don’t revolve around Enya

  1. This made me LOL since people kept suggesting Enya to me. I had Dead Can Dance, Sinead O’ Conner, Azam Ali, even Depeche Mode, The Cure and a variety6 of other music.

  2. I love this post, because a few years ago I was asked by some friends to make a birth mix CD for them with “Calm but Purposeful music” on it. I’ll have to dig up the whole playlist later today but I do remember that the first song on the CD was “Let’s Get it On” – because if you take the “Baby” in the long literally, it’s quite good for labor!

    “I’ve been really tryin’, baby
    Tryin’ to hold back this feelin’ for so long
    And if you feel like I feel, baby
    Then come on, oh, come on”

  3. In the begining, I listened to my favorite pagan music, Damh the bard.

    Then, when I needed something to distract me after I got in the labor pool, I watched Friends on DVD.

  4. I only had music for the first little while, and then wanted silence in the room. But I listened to really calming stuff, not Enya…Sigur Ros, Cybo, Fleet Foxes, Air, and M83.

  5. At first I took my playlist very seriously. I pondered themes and song order. Eventually I surrendered to my every idea and had a playlist packed w. a variety of stuff. I had everything from the Beastie Boys to the Cure to the Allman Brothers Band. I even had Motley Crue…Home Sweet Home, I can’t help it – I just love it. And of course, the song we named our daugher after (Little Lilly – Widespread Panic). It worked out great as I was in labor for a long time and went through many moods! Plus I could just yell to my husband “skip it” and instantly I was in a better place!

  6. I’ve still got to make mine (I have-hopefully- about ten weeks left!), but I know it will have plenty of Bob Marley because he relaxes me. Also some Hootie and the Blowfish because for some reason when I hear a Hootie song I get really, really happy. The rest will just be a mix of my favorites (my taste in music is all over the map so there will be plenty of variety). No Enya. For some reason, Enya is like nails on a chalkboard to me. No clue what it is- my husband loves her!
    (Oh, and to the poster who mentioned ‘let’s get it on’, in our birthing class a couple weeks ago we were talking about playlists and our instructor told us about a woman who- totally unexpectedly- could ONLY listen to that song on repeat during labor. At one point her husband got embarrassed and turned it and it took her over an hour to get back into her rhythm! Yikes!

  7. We put our Pandora account on random and just went with what ever came on. The only songs we skipped over were the Christmas ones -she was born in February- and anything Michael Buble. Our stations are so random and include just about everything. It sparked some fun conversations with my family and midwives and kept the laughter up which was a big help.

  8. I think I’d want some of my motivational favorites like Harry Connick Jr. “With Imagination (I’ll Get There)” Indigo Girls “Hammer and a Nail” and Flaming Lips “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.” Okay, so some of those are about activism, not birth, but they inspire me and get me pumped and ready to get stuff done! 🙂

  9. I was pushing through Slipknot, Jack Off Jill, The Eagles, Tenacious D, Stevie Ray, CCR, Blue Oyster Cult, The Beatles, Buddy Wasisname, and a horde of other Newfie/Irish songs, metal and classic rock songs. I don’t remember much, but I do recall it being like a kitchen party, including the some nurses and my sisters doing a little jig. It was apparently a very fun 36 hours, until they said I needed a c-section, anyway.

  10. My labor playlist was crucial for me. Some how when I was putting it together I just knew I’d want rhythmic, repetitive stuff, so my playlist was heavily Radiohead and trip hop centric.

    I had the majority of Radiohead’s “Hail to the Thief”, some Muse, some Ratatat, some Massive Attack. The music was exactly what I needed!

  11. I would say to just pick out music you LOVE. I wanted to be active during labor and have been a singer my whole life. So I picked groovin’ songs I knew all the words too. Lots of Aretha, Sharon Jones, Weezer, Led Zeppelin, Heather Nova, Ben Folds, on and on and on! then we just put the list on shuffle. There were some slow songs in the mix for sure, but in the end My doctor kept telling my husband to turn up the music because he could tell it was helping me! I even remember the Doc rocking out to some Hendrix at one point. The first song to play after my son was born? Wagon Wheel By Old Crow.

  12. For my first son, all I remember is Dolly Parton’s Little Sparrow playing the moment he was born. I know I had GNR in there and some hip hop though too. For my second go ’round, I’m compiling mostly “womyn with a Y” music to which I can hopefully zen out: Indigo Girls, Brandi Carlisle, Ani, the Butchies, the Duke Spirit, Hope for a Golden Summer, Tift Merritt, Neko Case, Cat Power, Patty Griffin, PJ Harvey, and of course, Dolly. My plan is to draw on the collective strength and brilliance of all of these women. We’ll see how that works.

  13. my husband made an awesome mix we kept on shuffle for 12 hours…

    some made me laugh, dance and i even had a happy cry during pushing when i was moved by a particular goldfrapp song

    vibrate by outkast, happiness, clowns, little bird, headfirst by goldfrapp, nothin’ on you, b.o.b., love you girl by robin thicke, prince, badu, it’s good to be here by digable planets… everyone loves the sunshine by roy ayers, somewhere of the rainbow by israel k, fix up look sharp by dizzee rascal, the seed by the roots, something, norwegian wood, the word (and more) by the beatles, tears for fears, some arrested development, pure imagination medley from willy wonka, ALPHABEAT!, ghetto musik by outkast, brand new colony by postal service, some bjork… Hey Ya – obidiah parker version… lovely day by bill withers…

    after the little lady came he made a mix cd called ‘mommy’s smile maker’

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