I think it's safe to say that everyone has experienced the amazing power of music at one point or another, whether it is listening to your favorite relaxing tune to unwind from a hard day, putting on loud, uptempo music to get pumped for a workout, or dancing around the kitchen to your favorite salsa music while you make dinner (oh, is that just me?).
But how exactly does music help during labor and birth? Mary DiCamillo, the founder and creator of the Sound Birthing program, has outlined the seven foundational processes of music during labor and birth, and I would like to share them with you today.
1. Biological: Music is used during birth to help the laboring mother regulate her breathing, lower blood pressure and respiration, and decrease discomfort.
2. Psychological: Music can enhance the mother's ability to tap into her coping mechanisms that she learned in childbirth prep class. Having music on can even make time seem to pass faster than it is.
3. Sociological: Music can evoke social support from others and holds the birthing team together, including midwives, nurses, doctors, doulas, family members, and the music therapist.
4. Emotional: Music can be used to match or affirm moods and feelings the laboring mother is experiencing (technically this is called the iso principle), or may be used to help the mother shift or change her mood if she is feeling stuck.
5. Developmental: Music can support the process of becoming a mother and can help the new mom work through her fears and let go.
6. Spiritual: Music can enhance and support spiritual processes of the laboring mother and may even evoke a peak or transpersonal experience.
7. Environmental: Music can be very important in blocking out extraneous sounds in the birth environment that may interfere with the laboring woman's entrainment process. Music also provides a "sound blanket" which fills the space and wraps the birthing mother in sounds of comfort and safety.
The amazing thing is, some or all of these processes may be experienced by the entire support team at the birth, making the birth experience calmer, more comfortable, and more meaningful for everyone present.