BIRTHING IN SONG
I was supporting a birthing woman who had starred in many movies and TV shows. She had initially trained as a classical singer, and whilst she had dabbled in singing, it had never been her career. Acting was her chosen career. During labour she had taken advantage of the bath, shower, movement, as many women do, and then she got into ‘the zone’, that wonderful transforming state. Labour was intense and, suddenly and quite intuitively, she started to sing, scales – in perfect pitch. There were major, minor, chromatic scales – up and down she went in perfect sync with her waves of birthing, this beautifully trained voice reverberating throughout the birthing unit. Of course, consciously she was unaware – just focused on riding her waves in perfect harmony.
I could sense where she was in labour just by listening to the tone and vibration of the song emanating from deep within. Her many years of classical singing training was not, of course, something she planned to use in labour, but it was all there in her subconscious mind and out it came, in all its glory during birthing. Baby must have loved every minute.
Singing has been associated
with increased feelings of happiness by releasing endorphins and reduced feelings of worry and sadness. Just listening to music can boost well-being and reduce stress and anxiety.
Dr. Veena Graff, an assistant professor of anaesthesiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine says evidence shows the benefits of passively listening to music during pregnancy and birthing, ‘which significantly reduces stress, pain and anxiety and can improve the overall satisfaction of the birthing experience’. ‘Mechanistically, the act of singing helps with breathing and is a great distraction method, which in turn can relax a woman during labour and birthing.’
Stress is the enemy of the birthing woman. Stress causes pain, and if singing activates the parts of the nervous system that produces calm, it will reduce cortisol levels, produce relaxation, reduce heart rate, reduces blood flow and allows a birthing woman to calmly flow with the waves of labour. It is also a distraction from other sensory input, which results in relaxation.
YOUR DOULA will hold a a space full of calm energy so you feel free to sing your heart out.