Hard labour — put on the music

Music can soothe and distract you, even in the middle of contractions!

Hard labour — put on the music

Of all the things people advise you to bring to the labour ward, music often gets forgotten. “I’d say only 20 per cent of people bring in music, which is a shame,” says midwife Debbie Butters. “Women birth well when they allow themselves to go into an altered state of consciousness. Music can help set the scene for this changed state of being. It also shuts up chatty staff and helps the mum feel less inhibited.”

But Butters cautions against mums-to-be choosing their favourite Taylor Swift or Beyoncé track. “Whenever you hear that song again, it’ll remind you of labour!” she laughs.

We did a quick (and highly unscientific!) poll of mums to find out what tracks are top of the labour pops. Here’re our top 10…

1 Caribbean Blue, Enya

“Enya’s voice is more like an instrument and allowed me to lose myself.”


2 Till There Was You, The Beatles

“This song helped me imagine I was on a beach sipping cocktails.”

May Fong

3 Billie Jean, Michael Jackson

“Upbeat dance music helped me feel happy and encouraged movement.”


4 Tranquillity: Whales of the Pacific, Various Artists

“I was in the labour pool and this enhanced the experience and numbed the pain.”


5 Bring Me to Life, Evanescence

“This song is so appropriate ¾ it’s about waking up to all the things you've been missing for so long. I listened to it over and over, focusing my mind on my child’s arrival.”


6 Moonlight Sonata, Beethoven

“This relaxes me when I drive and it was the same with labour.”


7 Hallelujah, Jeff Buckley

“A character gave birth to this song in a novel I read and I had to have it, too!”


8 You Are the Sunshine of My Life, Stevie Wonder

“My mum always sang this when I was little ¾ it comforted and calmed me during labour.”


9 Somewhere over the Rainbow, Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole

“This song is so beautiful and transported me to a magical world. It had me in tears as I gave birth.”


10 Song 2, Blur

“It’s loud and helped drown out the pain I was feeling inside.”


… and tracks to avoid

  • Should I Stay Or Should I Go, The Clash

Do I have a choice? NO!

  • Bad Days, Flaming Lips

Isn’t that bl**dy obvious!?!

  • Push It, Salt-N-Pepa

I’m pushing, I’m pushing already!

  • Everybody Hurts, REM

Yes, but not this much!

  • Daddy Cool, Boney M

It’s HIS fault!

  • Supermassive Black Hole, Muse

Not what you need to hear NOW.

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