Music for wife in labor...
May 14, 2008 6:03 AM   Subscribe

Music for wife in labor...

What is the most soothingly beautiful music you can think of for me to play for my wife during her labor and homebirth?
posted by keith0718 to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
What does she like? I'm a fan of Vivaldi, myself. Light, springy. If she wants soothing, maybe some Brahms.

What really helped me was laughter, so if you can find some comedy tapes or videos, that'd be good to take her mind off things.
posted by lysdexic at 6:18 AM on May 14, 2008

Personally, I would like more powerful music... soothing music might be annoying when you're really exerting yourself. Laughter sounds good too.

But if you want soothing, I would go for anything that's personally meaningful and familiar to her. This is really an individual question, because music taste is so varied. One person's soothing might be another person's annoying.
posted by mgogol at 6:46 AM on May 14, 2008

My wife wants Enya. Despite my crippling music snobbery, this is one time that I will keep my big, stupid mouth shut and love me some Enya.
posted by joelhunt at 6:51 AM on May 14, 2008 [3 favorites]

Brian Eno's Neroli is a very calming work that has been used especially for maternity wards. Whenever I have been frenzied, this CD has calmed me. It is an amazing work of genius.
posted by JJ86 at 7:00 AM on May 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've got an email in to my sister-in-law who is a labor and delivery nurse, asking for her recommendations. I'll post back if she comes up with anything not mentioned here.

But don't be surprised (or hurt, if you put a lot of time into this) if your wife hates everything you so lovingly and thoughtfully pick out for her. While in labor, I was generally not my usual self, to say the least.

But you are a wonderful person for trying.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:15 AM on May 14, 2008

Just to present an alternative view, might your wife want something that isn't relaxing and airy? If her usual musical tastes are, say, Sid Vicious, she may look at you a bit oddly if Enya starts playing over the speakers.

Assuming you've already considered that, my own recommendation would be for an album called The Most Relaxing Classical Music in the World. My copy's off the iTunes Store but I'm sure it's available for retail, too.

You might also want to try grabbing one or two of her most favorite relaxing songs and plugging them into Pandora, and see what the resulting "radio station" (which is based off the Music Genome Project) comes up with.
posted by WCityMike at 7:33 AM on May 14, 2008

My wife started looking for soothing stuff, but settled on an Aretha Franklin compilation instead. She decided she'd rather feel energised.

Which isn't really answering your question, but something to consider.

(Neither of us can listen to Aretha in quite the same way now... again, something to consider if she's choosing some favourite stuff!)
posted by dowcrag at 7:36 AM on May 14, 2008

Custer LaRue, a vocalist known mostly for early music and old American folk music, did a collection of lullabies. Ought to be so relaxing she falls asleep.

Personally... hey hey mama said the way you move, gonna make you sweat gonna make you groove...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:53 AM on May 14, 2008

ORIGINAL POSTER HERE: In the past (3 prior births) my wife has enjoyed harp music, really mellow bossa nova (Joao Gilberto) and other mellow stuff--soothing, but not too spacey or ethereal. She loves Enya, Kenny G, and all that kind of crap. I'm just looking for something new to add to the mix in case she gets tired of the same old stuff. Thanks for all the suggestions so far.
posted by keith0718 at 8:08 AM on May 14, 2008

She might like Charles Brown. Jazzy blues on piano. Really smooth voice, not your typical crusty blues guy.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:51 AM on May 14, 2008

When my mom went through her big "Pure Moods"/Enya kick a few years back, her favorite artist was Loreena McKennitt. *gag*

You might also want to check out people who have done musical scores for movies (John Barry, Hans Zimmer, Ennio Morricone, to name a few).

This might be a little too peppy for the occasion, but Vince Guaraldi always makes me happy.

And if all else fails, you can't go wrong with a little Vivaldi.
posted by phunniemee at 9:07 AM on May 14, 2008

This might be a tad literal, but the achingly lovely song This Woman's Work by Kate Bush is about being in labor. It was in the John Hughes movie "She's Having a Baby" (during the labor scene, of course) and I always choke up when I hear it.
posted by zoomorphic at 9:10 AM on May 14, 2008

Might I suggest Selected Ambient Works Vol. II by Aphex Twin? The link goes to a Youtube video of one of the songs to give you a taste of the rest of the album. Very soothing and calm, at least for me.
posted by friendlyjuan at 9:14 AM on May 14, 2008

Hmmm. I have zero memory of what was playing during my C-section (different, I know) even though I picked it out. I can't even remember if it was classical, punk, whatever. And that wasn't even five years ago. But I sure remember the look on my baby's face when I first met her :)
posted by Capri at 9:42 AM on May 14, 2008

Labor was hard work; I wouldn't have noticed background music. Then a c-section, and by then, I really didn't care.

However, playing music to the baby-to-be now is a great idea. They can hear pretty well.
posted by theora55 at 9:59 AM on May 14, 2008

Luazinha (Ms. umbĂș) swore by Juana Molina.
posted by umbĂș at 10:48 AM on May 14, 2008

Why not Raymond Scott's Soothing Sounds for Baby series, especially the one for babies aged 1 to 6 months? This relaxing record was actually designed in conjunction with a child development institute in the early 1960s, though whether the premise stands today is anyone's guess. But it's nice, it sounds like yet predates Eno's ambient work, and it's available from well known on-line retailers as well as The baby will be getting a head start!
posted by galaksit at 11:05 AM on May 14, 2008

Dude, while it is a beautiful experience, etc, I'm pretty sure there's a good chance that on the day, she's going to want something with some welly in it. (The whole whale song/ Enya thing is so over done.) Me, I'd want Coldplay, Scissor Sisters and Skynnard but I'm a tasteless train wreck like that.

If you're convinced that something more gentle is the way to go, then Vivaldi's Four Seasons (Spring), Bach Cantata 140, and the classic Handel's Messiah - for unto us a child is born - although that one is arguably a little weird, given the impending circumstances.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:44 AM on May 14, 2008

Cocteau Twins. Airy fairy floaty nonsensical goodness that is MUCH better than Enya. Plus, you can play the "what the hell is Liz Frasier singing about and is she even singing in English?" game!
posted by at 12:17 PM on May 14, 2008

I seriously thought I'd enjoy The Ramones I Wanna Be Sedated! -wife of coevals
posted by coevals at 1:19 PM on May 14, 2008

A little Dethklok and maybe some DevilDriver?
posted by WCityMike at 1:43 PM on May 14, 2008

My wife requested something that had structure, so that it was distracting, but it had to be non-musical.

To fulfill these requirements, I made a CD using the excellent boodler by Andrew Plotkin — using the "summer rainstorm" sample synthetic sondscapes. It was perfect: sounds that are mostly noise (raindrops, distant thunder, heavy and light rainfall etc etc), but the overall soundscape creates enough structure that your brain can engage with it if you choose to do so.

Copies available on request.
posted by pharm at 1:49 PM on May 14, 2008

Sigur Ros - Agaetis Byrjun
Lovely, relaxing, passionate, cred!
posted by rhinny at 2:55 PM on May 14, 2008

I loved listening to Johnny Cash when I was in labor with my second baby. The rhythm was soothing and constant, and his voice was deep and reassuring.
posted by streetdreams at 4:18 PM on May 14, 2008

My friend gave birth while Jeff Buckley's cover of Hallelujah was playing.
posted by Locative at 11:02 PM on May 14, 2008

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