14 Crazy Good Songs for Your Labor Playlist
Labor is hard work… literally. No matter which way childbirth turns out – epidural, unmedicated, in a birthing centre, or at home – it’s always helpful to bring a little calm and fun to this universal experience. When preparing for D-Day, moms often meticulously plan what they’ll add in their hospital bag and baby’s diaper bag: warm socks? Check. nursing bra? Check. Check. 17 newborn diapers? Check. Check. Check. super cute maternity nightie? Check? Nah, let’s get real.
Often overlooked are the perfect tunes – a mix of your favorite upbeat or mellow songs that will help you through the ebbs and flow of labor. If you can add a few to your playlist that help you giggle in the midst of your 7th hour of painful contractions, or ones that remind you of the comforts of home and transport you to a place of calm, even better!
Here are 14 of the best labor songs we’ve found (and some we’ve used ourselves!). Enjoy!
Push It (Salt-N-Pepa)
Released as a single in 1988, this song has made Rolling Stone’s top 500 songs of all time. Any song that calls out “all you fly mothers” and rhythmically reminds you to keep pushing will have you swaying your (labouring) hips in no time.
Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash)
The song that turned out to be the greatest hit of Johnny Cash’s career was in fact co-written by a woman, his wife June Carter Cash. She claimed the lyrics referenced her experience of falling in love with Cash. As many laboring mothers know though, “ring of fire” is actually an apt term associated with the moment when your baby’s head crowns. Not gonna sugarcoat it here: It’s gonna be horribly painful, so better to laugh than cry.
Baby One More Time (Britney Spears)
Britney Spears made her debut into the pop star world with this song in 1998. As one of the best-selling singles of all time, Baby One More Time quickly went platinum in the US. With clearly no reference to childbirth (ha!), this song is catchy and repetitive enough to be included on the playlist, sure to get the labor team moving and smiling. The lyrics “Oh, baby baby, the reason I breathe is you” is just a cute bonus!
Hurts So Good (John Mellencamp)
Played on repeat in everyone’s favorite bars throughout the 80s, Hurts So Good is so, so relevant to the birthing experience. Labor pains lead us to one extraordinary outcome: the amazing birth of our child! The tune surprisingly never made #1 on the Billboards, but it still attracts fans when played for a whole new generation of bar-goers. And we all know nostalgia can be a great antidote to pain!
Born This Way (Lady Gaga)
Mother Monster went and wrote a song encouraging everyone to be happy with the way they were born, because “there’s nothing wrong with loving who you are.” What a great message to Little Monsters, a term Lady Gaga fans use for themselves, especially during this day and age. As the song goes, we are all born superstars so get excited about this little life you’re painstakingly bringing into the world. Labor day pain will eventually subside but you’ll be rewarded with the most perfect little monster to keep!
Run The World (Girls) (Beyoncé)
Queen Bey gets it right every. single. time. Known for her girl-power songs, like Formation – which she performed at the 2016 Super Bowl, Beyoncé knows how to choose tunes that leave listeners feeling like they can do just about anything. And this 2011 song is no exception. Watching the music video for Run The World (Girls) might be even better than just adding it to your playlist. Depicted in the clips are scenes of female gladiators and strong armored women. You go girl!
Shook Me All Night Long (ACDC)
Whether you lose a night of sleep while in labor and delivery, or count the amount of sleepless nights you will rake in before baby’s first birthday, there will no doubt be many an all-nighter in your future. Who doesn’t love a little ACDC to lighten the mood? Sure to make you smile are lyrics such as “those American thighs” (…um, cause your thighs will be suuuper sore after a night of labor…).
Best Day of My Life (American Authors)
Released on their debut album in 2014, Best Day of My Life by American Authors has since gone 3 times platinum. Chances are, up to now, you’ve had some pretty memorable days in your life. Perhaps your first date, wedding day, graduation or a big move. But there will be no better day than the one when you first meet your kid! According to the artists, this best day will be full of “all the possibilities, no limits just epiphanies”! One to never forget!
The Edge of Glory (Lady Gaga)
Another great hit in 2011 by Lady Gaga, The Edge of Glory crescendos and repeats and will have you pumped up for this life-changing moment of childbirth! There is nothing quite like the moment before you start your first contractions, when you have little idea about what’s truly to come, and the inevitable moment when your body kicks into high gear and there’s no physical turning back. That is quite possibly the edge of glory. “I’m on the edge of glory, hanging on a moment with you!”
Good Feeling (Flo Rida)
Why not a tune from rapper Flo Rida to amp up the beat (in da club hospital)? Sampling from legendary songstress Etta James’s 1962 song Something’s Got A Hold On Me, Good Feeling is just that, a feel-good song! Released in 2012, it still plays on repeat on my (seldom-used) workout playlist, with lyrics such as: “yes I can, doubt better leave, I’m running with this plan!” and “Got adrenaline, never giving in, Giving up’s not an option”. Believe it or not, labor does in fact release tons of good feelings in the form of happy hormones. Oxytocin is released in mama’s body during contractions, labor, delivery and breastfeeding. Endorphins and prolactin play pain-relieving roles too. These good feelings serve to increase nurturance and bonding. It’ll spur you on when ice chips and warm washcloths might no longer be sufficient.
Heartbeat Song (Kelly Clarkson)
Another ode to staying up far too late and women’s power, this recent release (2015) will remind you that the heartbeat you first heard at that emotional ultrasound appointment will soon no longer exist in the warmth of your own body, but in the delicate body of your newborn baby. The lyrics speak for themselves: “Until tonight I only dreamed about you. I can’t believe I ever breathed without you. Baby, you make me feel alive and brand new.”
Love Somebody (Maroon 5)
I mean, how can you go wrong with Adam Levine’s voice? (…or Adam Levine’s charm? or his abs? or seeing pics of him with his daughters? … getting offtrack here…) The only downside to having one of his song’s on your playlist? You’re not watching his perfection on a screen instead. Love Somebody was released by Levine’s band in 2012. He co-wrote the song, including labor playlist-worthy words such as: “But if I fall for you, I’ll never recover. If I fall for you, I’ll never be the same.” Once you have met and fallen in love with your unique and perfectly tiny somebody, you will, in fact, never be the same.
What Makes You Beautiful (One Direction)
As embarrassing as it might be for me to add a boy band song to the labor playlist here, this 2011 song is just perfect! It served as One Direction’s debut single and has unsurprisingly hit quadruple platinum in the US. Just imagine your L&D staff boppin’ around to this light, upbeat tune and you’ll find it hard to imagine an unpleasant birthing experience. As a new mama, you are sure to be biased in finding your newborn the most beautiful baby ever! And if Harry says it, it must be true.
Home (Phillip Phillips)
Finally, what will you inevitably be doing after your labor and delivery experience? After you’ve listened to all your tunes, cried all your tears and perspired all the sweat one woman can possibly produce, you are the lucky one who gets to take your baby home. You have the most overwhelming, humbling and extraordinary responsibility of creating a home for your new one. A helpful bonus to having this song play in the background: it has a steady and prominent drumbeat which goes perfectly with the rhythm of contractions.