"Labor pain is often severe, and analgesic medication may not be indicated. In this randomized controlled trial we examined the effects of music on sensation and distress of pain in Thai primiparous women during the active phase of labor. The gate control theory of pain was the theoretical framework for this study. Randomization with a computerized minimization program was used to assign women to a music group (n = 55) or a control group (n = 55). Women in the intervention group listened to soft music without lyrics for 3 hours starting early in the active phase of labor. Dual visual analog scales were used to measure sensation and distress of pain before starting the study and at three hourly posttests. While controlling for pretest scores, one-way repeated measures analysis of covariance indicated that those in the music group had significantly less sensation and distress of pain than did the control group (F (1, 107) = 18.69, p <.001, effect size =.15, and F (1, 107) = 14.87, p <.001, effect size =.12), respectively. Sensation and distress significantly increased across the 3 hours in both groups (p <.001), except for distress in the music group during the first hour. Distress was significantly lower than sensation in both groups (p <.05). In this controlled study, music--a mild to moderate strength intervention--consistently provided significant relief of severe pain across 3 hours of labor and delayed the increase of affective pain for 1 hour. Nurses can provide soft music to laboring women for greater pain relief during the active phase when contractions are strong."
I was so grateful to have a friend send me a list of her favorite labor songs when I was pregnant with Nico, it really helped me to start with a list and then add my own special songs. I found that we actually had many favorites in common. I listened to the playlist on shuffle during labor and found it incredibly soothing to connect to the music with the surges. Nico was born to Portishead's "Roads".
You can find my birth playlist (special thanks to Heather Cooper) here: Birth Music
Below is some of the feedback that facebook fans left on a post about the music they enjoyed in labor.
Enjoy making your very special playlist for birth!
"By your side -Sade
Breathe- Anna Nalick
Fields of Gold- Sting
Three little birds- Bob Marley
Forever Young- Rod Stewart
Baby Mine- Allison Krauss
Beautiful Boy- John Lennon"
"Beach House's 'Walk In the Park'"
"Avett brothers, arcade fire"
"Chris Tomlan & Sublime"
"Pink Floyd, Flaming Lips, Damien Rice, Sinead O'Conner and David Bowie"
"Devi Prayer by Craig Pruess & Anand"
"Fleetwood Mac, Coldplay and Florence and the Machine"
"Bob marley, coldplay, and the Beatles, to name a few."
"Norah Jones, Marley, Jack Johnson, Sevendust, and Eric Clapton"
"The Blessing" by Celtic Woman"
"Under Pressure, David Bowie"
"Josh Groban, George Winston, and Christian music"
"Neil Young, Van Morrison, Avett Brothers, Grateful Dead, The Band, Otis Redding, Bright Eyes, Flaming Lips, Jeff Buckley"