How music can transform your pregnancy, birth and beyond.

Updated: Feb 28


It’s clear music can have a big impact on our mood, whether it’s upon hearing a song that transports you right back to a special moment, a song that you just have to sing your heart out and dance to, a song that makes you cry, or even music that has a soothing calming effect….the list goes on. But can music really have an impact on your developing baby? Can music impact your maternal mood? Can music enhance your birth experience? Let's find out these answers.


As always, we start with looking at the science around music.


Can music really have an impact on your developing baby?


Babies in the womb have shown increased brain activity when exposed to music.

Despite a lack of evidence that classical music creates cleverer babies, interesting studies have shown that music may have a part to play in brain development before birth. European research in 2013, for example, showed that exposing an unborn baby to music had a long-term effect on their brain. They found that newborn babies could remember a version of 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' played to them in the womb and responded differently when alternative versions were played. These memories created before they were born, lasted until they were four months old.

Incredibly, other studies have shown that babies are born with the ability to detect musical beats. And even more importantly, some research suggests that soothing music may encourage premature babies to feed, and could improve their vital signs like heart rate and O2 saturation levels.



Studies suggest that singing and listening to music triggers the brain to release oxytocin and dopamine, neurotransmitters and hormones tied to such emotions as joy and love. So, if you are listening and enjoying the music, this feeling of joy or calm is directly being fed to your baby too.


If you enjoy going to see live music, go for it. Your baby is protected from most loud noises by the layers surrounding them. Exposure to prolonged and extreme noise, however, may be harmful.


Looking for inspiration?

Check out our playlist perfect for pregnancy on Spotify:



Click here for one of the funniest pregnancy music videos we have seen on instagram.


Music during childbirth


Can music enhance your birth experience? Music can facilitate a more pleasant childbirth experience...music to our ears!

Being a natural mood enhancer, music has been used for many years as a therapy to help people restore energy and alleviate symptoms of depression. In recent years, its used during childbirth as a non-pharmacological way to help women manage discomfort has become increasingly mainstream.

Studies of women who used music during labour and birth and had practiced focused listening prior to childbirth show the success of music in helping these women relax, remain calm, feel more in control, focus, breathe easier, and slow the heart rate. The result was a more positive and comfortable childbirth experience.

Jacques Moritz, a New York City-based gynaecologist and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, claims 70% of his patients make a playlist for the big day.


“Hospitals, particularly delivery rooms, can be noisy and disconcerting,” Moritz said in a statement, “a good playlist helps distract mothers from these sounds and better manage fear and pain.”

Our Top Tips for creating your Dream Birth playlist:


  1. Begin choosing your playlist in advance of birth

  2. Have at least 5-10 hours worth of your favourite songs

  3. In terms of order, many please find putting the “slow and mellow” ones at the beginning, so the high-tempo ones can play when it’s time to breath your baby out into the world is a good way of organising it.

  4. Pick songs you know well - birth is not the time to experiment with new music.

  5. Include your partner in the process, make it fun.

  6. We recommend apple airpod, make sure you bring a charger for airpods. Bring other earpods or cable free headphones in case you find earpods feel uncomfortable. Bring a -Bluetooth Speaker if you prefer not to have earphones and want better sound quality.

"Music is a powerful tool that can be used to positively impact your birthing environment. To make it even easier, The Dream Birth Company have created several Spotify playlists to choose from that I absolutely love and plan on using during my Dream Birth!" - Dream Mama Jordy.

Looking for inspiration? Check out our birth playlists on Spotify:



Watch how this mama gets her groove on in the labour ward.


Can music impact your maternal mood?


As new mamas, pregnancy and the transition into motherhood can take a toll on our mood and mental health. We may experience anxiety, exhaustion, irritability and frustration. Add fluctuating hormones to the mix and it really can be a difficult time. To help boost our moods during this time we personally found music to be very helpful.


Music and mental-health

A recent study looked specifically at music and mental-health concerns during pregnancy, focusing on 409 pregnant women in the third trimester of their pregnancy. None of the women had a history of anxiety.

Half of the women received music therapy, which meant listening to a CD of relaxing, instrumental, melodic music three times a week; the other half did not. After completing therapy, the women who participated in music therapy reported being less anxious than those who did not receive the intervention.



In general, music affects our mood in a variety of positive ways, including:


1. Increasing happiness

Upbeat music can lift our spirits when we’re feeling blue. This is because happy tunes help our bodies to release feel-good hormones such as serotonin and norepinephrine.


2. Serving as a motivator

Songs with positive messages and meaning can be extremely motivating. This is why many people listen to energizing music when exercising. It can give that final push needed to finish a difficult run or not give up during a cycling event.


3. Alleviating stress

Soft, relaxing music can help ease tense muscles and enable you to breathe more easily when you’re under stress, calming you down so you can better deal with the source of your anxiety and move forward.

This mama here is feeling the positive effects of bustin' some moves with her little babe.



Music is an integral part of the human experience and has been pretty much since the beginning of time. We are drawn to rhythmic sound, whether ancient drum beats, intricate orchestral pieces, or modern pop music.


Engaging with positive music simply makes you and your baby happy. You just can’t help but tap or hum along to an infectiously upbeat song!


So listen to whatever moves you to your desired mood. Inspiring tunes can help you be more productive and get stuff done. Motivational music can pump you up and power you through birth like a rockstar.

Light and happy tunes can lift your spirits on a drab day. Soft, relaxing songs can help you release stress and settle down for sleep.


Looking for music for optimal mama wellbeing? Check out our playlists on Spotify curated by us:



Here, at the dream birth company we really understand the value music can be for our Dream Parents. Take a look at our music page, where we have made it super simple to access music on demand whenever you need it for free. We even composed our own Dream Birth Music which is perfect to relax and listen to before sleep.


Here's what one of our Dream Mamas said about our music and curated playlists.


"The Dream Birth music was exactly what I need to keep my mood up and remain calm. I really believe it helped keep me positive during the early stages of labour. I love playing this music now that my baby is earth side, it's so calming for him." - Cara, Dream Mama.

We hope you have enjoyed this blog post and taken some inspiration to create your very own playlist for your pregnancy, birth and beyond. Whether you're an indie mama, rock mama or classical mama there is something for everyone to enjoy.


Lots of love,


Clodagh

Head of Music

The Dream Birth Company



References

  • Voegtline KM et al. Near-term fetal response to maternal spoken voice Infant Behavior & Development 2013;36:526–533

  • Kisilevsky BS et al. Fetal sensitivity to properties of maternal speech and language. Infant Behav Dev 2008;32:59-71.

  • Swaminathan N. Babies Exposed to classical music end up smarter [Online]. 2007. Available at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-babies-ex/ [Accessed: April 2016].

  • Jahn M et al. Music devices for the fetus? An evaluation of pregnancy music belts. J Perinat Med. 2015 Aug 13. pii: [Epub ahead of print].

  • Partanen E et al. Learning-induced neural plasticity of speech processing before birth. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2013;110:15145-5.

  • Fifer WP and Moon CM. The role of mother’s voice in the organization of brain function in the newborn Acta Paediatr Suppl 1994; 397:86–93

  • Partanen E et al. Prenatal music exposure induces long-term neural effects. PLoS One 2013;8(10):e78946

  • Winkler I et al. Newborn infants detect the beat in music. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2009;106(7):2468-71.

  • Loewy J et al. The effects of music therapy on vital signs, feeding, and sleep in premature infants. Pediatrics 2013;131(5):902-18.<

  • Hans Fritz T et al. Enhanced response to music in pregnancy. Psychophysiology 2014;51(9):905-11.

  • Committee on Environmental Health. Noise: A hazard for the fetus and newborn. Pediatrics 1997;100(4):724-7.


Sources

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