Produced by

Music in the Delivery Room

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Last weekend, pop star Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z welcomed their first child, Blue Ivy Carter. Fans were whipped into a fever over everything from the cost of the hospital stay to the soundtrack of the delivery itself. Yes – the soundtrack. Today on the show, we take a closer look at the role that music plays in childbirth with Tina Cassidy, author of “Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born.” And, we take your calls.


Tina Cassidy

Comments [32]


Great weblog here! Also your website rather a lot up very fast!
What host are you using? Can I get your associate hyperlink to your host?
I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

Mar. 07 2013 12:52 PM
Robin Blair

I held on the line for 18+ minutes, but the show ran out of time. . .

My comment is:
I am a music lover and I agree that music can be helpful during labor and delivery, but not all babies are born in a hospital. So when you title your show "Music in the Delivery Room" it implies a hospital setting. Don't exclude the many moms that seek an alternative to a hospital birth. We can enjoy music and much more during a home birth or at a birthing center. By rearranging your title to something like "Music for Labor & Delivery", it would address a broader section of delivering moms.
Thank you

Jan. 12 2012 02:59 PM
Yuna from Brooklyn

I gave birth last April in a birthing pool in my kitchen. I was in excruciating pain for 8 hours, which pissed me off, because this was my 4th baby. My doula/friend played her Joni Mitchell pandora for me at 4o'clock in the morning. My husband has fond memories of it.

Jan. 12 2012 02:41 PM

My wife is an early music choral singer and Abigael used the following piece by Cristobal de Morales - Officium Defunctorum to help her focus through 6 or more intense hours of labor. It was totally centering and helped her relax into the experience. We also had several playlists available as others have mentioned. (Great topic. When will you bring up massage and music?)

Jan. 12 2012 02:37 PM
Susan panetta

I was in the hospital for two months on bed rest before giving birth the only thing that got me through with music. I couldn't move or go off my left side the whole time. I listen to a lot of Norah Jones a lot of classical and one of my favorite was an African voices CD a friend had given to me. Once I got to the delivery room it was so chaotic there was no time for music but right after it was a savior again!

Jan. 12 2012 02:36 PM
Leah from South Harlem

To Jim who called in -- you are so funny! Air pudding! and your playlist! Hilarious! Thanks Jim. Do you blog somewhere? I'd follow you. But anyway I'll be quoting air pudding from now on.

(Ugh, I wish air pudding weren't the default setting for spa music everywhere. That could be another show! Get Jim to call in for that one.)

Jan. 12 2012 02:31 PM
Mark Booker

I put together a 3 hour playlist on the iPod of mostly soft classical music but mixed in some contemporary artists like Moby and Air that fit the mood as well. My hope was to take away any stress that I could. My wife, skeptical at first, was eventually completely elated as our daughter was introduced to the following two songs:

Dank Sei Dir, Herr by Aafje Heynis during the last few pushes and her first breath then Il Secundo Giorno (Instrumental) by Air in the moments afterwards.

My wife couldn't have been happier and the moments couldn't have worked out better.

Jan. 12 2012 02:29 PM
Autumn from Brooklyn

I had several playlists, since you can't really predict what your state of mind will be when the moment comes. However, with both my births, things went too quickly and we forgot to play either time. But after the baby was born, it was great to have for that first sleepless night in the hospital!

Jan. 12 2012 02:29 PM
Estela Lopez

This is ridiculous, music en the delivery room? When there are a lot of women around the World dying because not basic medical assistance when they having they babies.

Jan. 12 2012 02:28 PM
Karen from Brooklyn

I listened to the same playlist over and over throughout my pregnancy. It was very mixed, odd and eclectic, and made me happy. I had it on in the hospital throughout my 31 hours of labor followed by an emergency C-section.
In the end, my sweet baby girl was born to the instrumental version of Maria, by Brandford and Ellis Marsalis. Magical, uplifting and serene.

Two years later, my son emerged to "Ring of Fire."

Jan. 12 2012 02:27 PM

I had planned on using meditative music during labor, but found when I was in the midst of contractions I desperately wanted total silence. My midwife and husband asked a few times if I wanted some tunes and I realized all I wanted was quiet. The sound of people, as kind and encouraging as they meant to be, yelling "push" made me so cranky I actually remember begging everyone to please let the room be some kind of silent birth experience. LOL.

Jan. 12 2012 02:26 PM

I'm nowhere near planning my birth playlist, but I think it would be comically epic to be born to the sound of Takk by Sigur Ros.

Jan. 12 2012 02:26 PM
Andy from LES

I made an eclectic 12-cd playlist with over 200 songs when my sister gave birth to her son 7 years ago; the whole family was curious to see what song he came out to - it was Coltrane's calm and mighty "A Love Supreme", and for the first 4 years of his life, Nolan mostly sat tranquilly and strong with his big head, just watching everything happen. We called him the Emperor.

Jan. 12 2012 02:26 PM

I did not want any distractions in the delivery room. There is so much going on already; the experience is overwhelming and I didn't want to miss anything the doctor or nurses were saying.

Jan. 12 2012 02:26 PM

About 15 years ago, I bought a woman friend, for her 30-somthing birthday, a CD of Miki Hart's "Music to Be Born By". I thought it was so
clever, given that it was, ya know, her birthday and all that. Only when I tried to explain my logic to her that I realized that I was
falling into an abyss of "what was I thinking?", and felt quite drained of the wisdom (not!) of getting gifts that, with some foresight,
would be better left not bought, and to get a nice plant or something instead.

Jan. 12 2012 02:25 PM
Nick from UWS

What a crappy stupid narcissistic society we have become...not even allowing your newborn baby a few moments of peace and quiet during his own birth..forcing it to listen to some noisy crap that it doesn't even understand. Absolutely disgusting, this discussion.

Jan. 12 2012 02:25 PM
Aaron from Manhattan

I didn't give birth- but i did have a defibrillator replaced a few months back - and the docs asked me what music i'd like to listen to during the procedure (which i was awake for. I asked for something before 1967- but the oldest thing they had was Whitesnake's "here i go again on my own" which was a completely absurd and surreal choice... especially when they tested the new defib while i was still awake.

Jan. 12 2012 02:24 PM
tea from new york

Did you think about linking this to your earlier segments on workout music? Maybe something that matches breathing and contraction timing?
Personally, with an unmedicated birth, I couldn't be bothered with music.

Jan. 12 2012 02:23 PM
gywn from New York, NY

We know that people have soundtracks during delivery, but exposing the child to music while pregnant. Does taht really work?

Jan. 12 2012 02:21 PM
Rae from westfield, nj

I listened to YoYo Ma, Bach Cello Suites (on a portable CD player) for the birth of each of my daughters. It was very soothing. Still listen to it to this day.

Jan. 12 2012 02:20 PM

But, yeah, this segment is kind of making me gag.

Jan. 12 2012 02:16 PM
rachel from red hook

who cares? We are in an unpleasant moment in time when, a subsection of (likely affluent) pregnant women can think of nothing better to do with their time than plot out a "perfect birth". As a mother of two, can I suggest that thinking about how to bring music appreciation and education into the public schools is a much more worthy topic to ponder?

Jan. 12 2012 02:16 PM
Busy from nyc

This is an excruciatingly dumb topic & conversation.

Jan. 12 2012 02:16 PM
Nick from UWS

Do you really want to ram some crappy racket into your newborn baby's ears in his first few seconds of life? Won't the child be tortured enough by noise during its lifetime? Is NO ONE entitled to peace and quiet during pivotal life moments, not even the newborn? What kind of crappy society has this become? What is the delivery room, a restaurant? What a crappy utterly stupid society we have become.

Jan. 12 2012 02:15 PM
Sarah from New Jersey

I have had six children without an epidural and never turned the music on until my last one where I was totally dependent on it. The music got me through it! Not sure why the difference this time, but I loved it! The song that I meshed with the most... "Under Pressure" by Queen. I do not even remember putting it on the playlist, but I played it over and over. The music became my "breathing" instead of - breathing patterns over and over.

Jan. 12 2012 02:15 PM

I prepped for both of my kids' births and they both went well. (Women feel angry about not having births go the way they hope, but you really need to prepare more than just crossing your fingers and thinking you'll slip into the hoped for state of mind.) One way I prepped was to listen, over and over and over, to certain relaxation tracks. The music that accompanied these tracks did indeed put me in mind to focus and relax when I knew I was about to have my second baby. During the birth, though, I certainly wasn't listening to music. I was listening to myself and focusing on relaxing my body. Just so tired of angry c-section moms laughing off the whole birth plan thing...

Jan. 12 2012 02:14 PM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

Love Soundcheck, but this topic is such a stretch. Sorry, I don't care what Beyonce or anyone else listened to during her delivery. Giving birth is so personal; it's insulting to make a market-watch, music-in-the-delivery-room segment about it.

Jan. 12 2012 02:10 PM

REM "It's the end of the world as we know it."

True or false:

Cynthia is a parent.



Jan. 12 2012 02:08 PM
Janelle from NJ

We carefully prepped for our first child, birthing plan, meticulously packed bag, portable cd player (before the ipod!) and the perfect soundtrack for our son's long-anticipated entrance to the world. In the throes of my first natural childbirth, the excruciating, agonizing pain I was in made any external stimuli absolutely immaterial. I don't think we ever even turned on the music. It's nice to imagine your 'birthing experience' will be like a scene in a movie with the perfect soundtrack...the reality is mess and agony and totally unpredictable, but that's okay. Real life is better than a movie.

Jan. 12 2012 02:07 PM
Karni Dorell from Red Hook, Brooklyn

I insisted on having Bob Marley at my first child's birth. I wanted him to come out hearing the reggae beat as I always thought that it was the most basic, comforting type of music. At the time a Marley cd was not available so we had Billy Holiday blasting from the radio in the delivery room and she was equally comforting. Both my kids are extremely sensitive to all music including opera!

Jan. 12 2012 02:00 PM

"Push It" by Salt n' Pepa

Jan. 12 2012 01:43 PM
Jim from New hampshire

Soundtrack? Ha!
The OB/GYN and I watched Letterman while my wife and the nurses did all the work.

Jan. 11 2012 07:38 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.