Q: I’m due to have my first child in about a month or so, and I’ve got my bag packed, doula’s number handy, and a girl’s and boy’s name all picked out. In my bag, I’ve got everything from a hairbrush to a going-home outfit for the baby to a mini-makeup kit for me (for those post-delivery photo ops!). The one thing I’m stumped on is music for the delivery room. I’ve heard it’s useful to listen to music during delivery but I’m not sure what to choose. Got any good suggestions?
A: When it comes to a playlist, I turned to maternity guru Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” for some advice. “You either want the music to help you relax, especially if you’re going to go the natural childbirth route, or you want the music to be uplifting,” she told me. “And in that case, I would recommend any songs that make you happy, like music from your high school or college years.” Pope also mentioned that though she thought she would like music, she couldn’t stand to hear Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack” en route to the hospital in labor with her first son. “I almost smacked my husband,” she playfully recalled.
Her top 5 songs for the delivery room are an eclectic mix:
- Journey, “Don’t Stop Believing”
- Zac Brown Band, “Chicken Fried”
- Salt n Pepa, “Push It”
- George Strait, “I Saw God Today”
- Stevie Wonder, “Isn’t She Lovely” (for when the baby is crowning!)
Taking a cue from the expert herself, below are some of my personal picks for what I think might be relaxing and uplifting songs for the delivery room to add to Rosie’s list (during an 18-hour labor, you’ll need it, trust me). If you’re the type of person who likes heart-pumping, thumping grooves, I’m not sure this list is for you. But I thought I was, and I can tell you that when push came to shove (literally — I shoved my husband while I pushed), all I wanted was soft, soothing music. So here are my top picks:
“Somewhere over the Rainbow,” “Glee” cast version. With over 150 plays while I was in labor with my daughter (thank you, iTunes), this song garnered comments from every doctor or nurse who walked in the room about how beautiful it was. The mellow acoustics matched with the sweet harmonies are enough to put anyone in a good mood, or at least a mellow frame of mind, perfect for those “I want to kill you!” contractions.
Anything by Colbie Caillat — no, really, anything. All of Caillat’s first (and now, second) CD is filled with tunes that will calm you down. Her satiny smooth vocals clear the clouds away on a rainy day. Check out “Oxygen” and “Capri” from her first CD. Her new single, “Brighter than the Sun” sounds like it could be the soundtrack for a childbirth scene in a movie. She says her latest CD is chock-full of songs about falling in love with her BF, but if you ask me, it could all be about falling in love with your new bundle of joy.
“It Won’t Be Like This for Long,” Darius Rucker. Rucker sings about those moments in raising your children that make you crazy, but reminds himself,” This phase is going to fly by so baby, just hold on/it won’t be like this for long.” A great song to listen to when you’re mid-push, and almost forget what all this pain and discomfort is going to bring you. Another song with a similar message? Trace Adkins’ “You’re Gonna Miss This.”
“Nothing in this World,” Paris Hilton. Just kidding.
“Keep Breathing,” Ingrid Michaelson. Michaelson is almost whispering in this hauntingly beautiful song, but its simple, resonating message, to “keep breathing,” is an important one (as any labor coach will tell you) in the final stages of labor.
“Brand New Day,” Joshua Radin. Reminiscent of Paul Simon, Radin’s vocals are soft and sweet. The lyrics are equally sweet, and it’s a perfect beginning to your brand-new day with your little one.
“Until you’re in [the delivery room], you don’t really know what type of person you’re going to be,” Pope said at the end of our chat.
“The important thing is to be flexible and make sure you have people around you to support you in whatever you’re going to do.” So make sure you’re prepared and even if you don’t think you’ll need it, pack that iPod just in case.
Editor's note: We'd like to offer congratulations to advice columnist Chanie Kirschner, who gave birth to her third child last weekend.
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