How to make the best birthing playlist ever (plus over 60 song ideas!)

labour playlist

by Maria Martin |
Updated on

When it comes to getting you through labour, there could be a rival for your birth partner – your iPod. Research suggestsmusic can help ease anxiety and help you relax when you have your baby so we’ve put together a comprehensive list of tunes to keep you sane and on your birthing game. So whether you need some songs to make you laugh, chill you out, or get you in the zone, get some inspiration from our playlist below and add your own.

Compiling a birthing playlist is also a great way for dads-to-be to get involved in the labour process. Whilst being a fun activity in itself, it can also be a really thoughtful gesture, helping your partner brave the birthing of your child with a little song and a smile.

How to make the perfect birthing playlist

Whether it’s for you or someone else, you need to consider what kind of songs will best calm, soothe and inspire during the trying times of labour. There tends to be five strains of song choice for battling the birth pains,

Funny labour songs

Songs with a bit of humour help keep morale up, distract and keep a bit of laughter flowing to ease the pain. Not only does laughing release endorphins that help us feel better, studies show these ‘endorphins raise our ability to ignore pain’, just the thing needed during those intense contractions.

The calm before the storm

Keeping relaxed is key to getting through labour, especially during those initial contractions where a little bit of fear and anxiety may be bubbling up at what is to come. Finding songs that help bring relaxation and calm is quite a personal task, but in addition to having a think about what might be best for your perfect playlist, we have some scientifically-proven songs to give serenity.

The happy songs

As well as keeping you laughing, songs that fill us with that warm fuzzy feeling of love and hope are great for labour, as they’ll bring happy vibes and the emotions in check.

The favourites

It might sound a bit too obvious, but you’ve got to get the favourites on there. If you’re making your own birthing playlist, don’t just pick your favourite songs from this month’s charts, do a bit of digging and find some of the tunes that used to tickle your fancy back in the day.

For partners, this can be the best bit for your other half, if you managed to find some old gems that she used to sing in her bedroom with her sister or rave to with her uni friends – when it comes on and you get that ‘YES’, you’ll know you’ve done good. Plus, she’ll be so well and truly lost in her favourite banger that the hospital will be a world away…

Birthing beats and power songs

The finale is going to need some oomph, both from mum and your brilliant birthing playlist – and beats are the way to go. How gritty you want to go of course depends on the prime listener and their music tastes, but some gym tracks and tunes to help you get pumped are the key here, namely for the last leg of labour.

Alongside some energetic workout favourites, anything that incites inspiration is a must. From classic movie soundtracks and intense classical climaxes to sassy girl power pop songs and ballads, whatever strikes up the fire of passion and determination, put it on the list.

Labour playlist song inspiration

So, let’s get to the songs, and be on the way to making your special day the best birthing experience ever!

At the end of this article we’ve put together a playlist on a few of the nation’s favourite music channels, featuring the best of the tracks below, laid out in the order we think she’ll need them. But of course, customise until your heart’s content; it’s all ready for you to download, add to and reorganise as you like.

You can download our Mother & Baby labour playlist on Apple Music or Spotify.

Check out our song shortlist for each of the five music categories.

​Mum-to-be will be sure to crack a grin when these come on:

  1. The circle of life – Elton John

  2. I want to break free – Queen

  3. I’m coming out – Diana Ross

  4. Push it – Salt’N’Pepa

  5. Born this way – Lady Gaga

  6. Because I got high – Afroman (for when it’s time to get drugged up)

  7. Le Freak – Chic (for when she might start freaking out)

  8. The Drugs Don't Work – The Verve (hopefully they will)

  9. If I were a boy – Beyonce

  10. Breathe (ft. Ina Wroldsen) – Jax Jones

  11. Push – Madonna

  12. If You’re Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows) – Rodney Atkins

  13. Everybody hurts – R.E.M.

  14. Don’t Panic – Coldplay

  15. Breathe – The prodigy

  16. Welcome to the jungle – Guns ‘N’ Roses

  17. Jump in the line – Harry Belafonte

  18. Break Free (ft. Zedd) – Ariana Grande

  19. Under Pressure – Queen

  20. Send me on my way – Rusted Root

Calming labour songs​

  1. Born to be Yours – Kygo & Imagine Dragons

  2. You Are the Sunshine of My Life, Stevie Wonder

  3. Easy Like Sunday Morning, Lionel Richie

  4. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

  5. Sunrise – Norah Jones

  6. We Belong Together – Mariah Carey (Apparently the singer listened to her own song (yes, really) when her twins Moroccan and Monroe were born.)

  7. Let it Go – James Bay

  8. Have a nice day - Stereophonics

  9. Albatross – Fleetwood Mac

This last song has interesting evidence to back it up – it’s 60BPM (that’s beats per minute), which is optimum for helping you relax. It basically causes your brainwaves and heart rate to synchronise with the rhythm and calm you. Also try Weightless by Marconi Union – it was created with scientists using this 60BPM idea and has been called the most relaxing song ever.

Happy songs for when things get tough

  1. ​Don’t worry be happy – Bobby McFerrin

  2. Don’t stop the music – Rihanna

  3. Happy – Pharrell Williams

  4. Don’t stop believing – Journey

  5. I’m a Believer – The Monkees

Songs to power positivity (and the push)

  1. ​Let’s Get it Started – Black Eyed Peas

  2. Let’s Go – (ft. Ne-Yo) – Calvin Harris (K-Mid was rumoured to have included some Calvin on her birth playlist – as well as Bruno Mars and Of Monsters and Men.)

  3. Eye of the tiger – Survivor

  4. Fighter – Christina Aguilera

  5. Get Ready for This – 2 Unlimited (research found this song encourages confidence to take risks)

  6. In da Club – 50 Cent (another power song as above, hard to imagine it on the labour ward though)

  7. Stronger (What doesn’t kill you) – Kelly Clarkson

  8. Brave – Sara Bareilles

  9. Try – Pink

  10. Radioactive – Imagine Dragons

  11. I will survive – Gloria Gaynor

  12. Run the world (Girls) – Beyonce

  13. Overture to William Tell, Gioachino Rossini (a favourite musical choice with mums-to-be in labour, according to a recent poll)

  14. Titanium – David Guetta ft. Sia

  15. Harder better faster stronger – Daft Punk

  16. Roar – Katy Perry

  17. Power (ft. Stormzy) – Little Mix

  18. Let It Go – Idina Menzel

  19. Can’t Hold Us (ft. Ray Dalton) – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

  20. Kung Fu Fighting – Karl Douglas

  21. Stronger – Kanye West

  22. When the going gets tough, the tough get going – Billy Ocean

  23. Survivor – Destiny’s Child

For the finish line

Some final track inspiration for when it’s all over, or on the last leg of labour to remind mum of that light that will be at the end of the tunnel (no pun intended, we swear)…

  1. Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns ‘N’ Roses

  2. You’re Beautiful – James Blunt

  3. Halo – Beyonce

  4. She Will be Loved – Maroon 5

  5. Could you be loved – Bob Marley

Don't fancy a playlist? The radio will do...

Midwife Alix Jordan Collins from Private Midwives UK, says, ‘During active labour many ladies like to have the radio playing as they just want some background noise - plus if a song comes on the radio they liked they can mentally sing along to it and they say the contractions hurt less!’

However, Alix found that music was a huge help to many of the women with whom she worked.

‘The majority of women do bring something in either relaxing or something which is special to them. I had one couple who brought in the muppets song - Mahna Mahna. They wanted that playing whilst their baby was being born. Another couple bought in I will always love you by Whitney Houston as this was “their song” and they had it playing during their first dance at their wedding.’

‘Many home birth and water births tend to have relaxing music, sounds of the sea, or whale music as the norm. The majority of these births I have been involved have already planned their soundtrack for labour and birth and are mentally prepared. They have said it’s a good coping strategy, it’s free and can work in conjunction with other types of pain relief.’

Positive birth stories

'My labour lasted three days:’ read this mum’s birth story

6 things that can actually make labour pain WORSE

Hypnobirthing: Techniques, benefits and disadvantages

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us
How we write our articles and reviews
Mother & Baby is dedicated to ensuring our information is always valuable and trustworthy, which is why we only use reputable resources such as the NHS, reviewed medical papers, or the advice of a credible doctor, GP, midwife, psychotherapist, gynaecologist or other medical professionals. Where possible, our articles are medically reviewed or contain expert advice. Our writers are all kept up to date on the latest safety advice for all the products we recommend and follow strict reporting guidelines to ensure our content comes from credible sources. Remember to always consult a medical professional if you have any worries. Our articles are not intended to replace professional advice from your GP or midwife.