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Birth Soundtrack The Power of Music in Childbirth

For the birth of my second child, David and I decided to "take the plunge" and have the baby at home.  At the birth of my first child, my dad brought some music that really made a difference, so I went about the business of creating playlists on my new iPod. At the time I had no idea how much music made a difference in creating a mood and helping me through some really tough spots in childbirth labor.

After going through what seemed like a million songs, I came up with 4 playlists.  The first playlist entitled "Meditation" was filled with soothing rhythms that helped me to relax....lots of jazz, love songs, and even some of those new aged meditation songs with names like "Serenity", you know the kind you get from the yoga aisle at Target. 

The second playlist entitled "Motivation" was filled with inspirational songs to help me get through those inevitable times in labor where I felt like "I just can't take it anymore!!!"  Songs like India Arie's I Choose, and Jill Scott's Gotta Get Up

The third playlist entitled "Hips Movin" was filled with songs that made me wana dance and move my hips, a fun way to inspire me to help work the baby down (walking up and down the halls gets boring)....lots of reggae, belly dance songs and songs that make me say "ooooh dats my song!"

Finally I made a "Happy Birthday" playlist with Steve Wonder's song (the official Black happy birthday song) at the top of the list along with other baby song favorites like Lauren Hill's Zion.

The big day finally comes- in the middle of the night- and we get to work.  The music works like a charm! I found that I was able to get in the zone much easier and faster because of the music.  It also worked to alert the Birthing Team how to enter the room. For instance when I had the Meditation music playing, everyone entered the room quietly and spoke softly, whereas during the Hips Movin jam session we almost got a Soul Train line going. 

The music also inspired members of the Birthing Team to get more involved.  As we rounded the 7th hour of my perfect 4 hour birth I got a little discouraged.  So we decided to take a break from the music for a while and we sent everyone out of the room except David and our Doula.  As David and I grew weary our Doula started to sing a traditional African song that rested easy on my ears like a mother's lullaby. The sound of her voice singing gave me so much comfort it renewed my will to press on. 

Shortly thereafter we turned the iPod back on during the pushing stage.  In contrast to the typical pushing scene where there is a whole bunch of shouting and counting, I was moved close to tears as our Doula, Midwife and my mother softly sung along to India Arie's This Too Shall Pass  between contractions. 

Our daughter arrived on June 14, 2007 with her right fist raised high and a soundtrack in her heart. I can honestly say that the music was a major part of getting me through it.
How has music helped you through a tough time.

Recipe of the Month 
 African Bean Soup  
Makes about 12 cups;

3 Tbsp margarine or salted butter

2 cups carrots thinly sliced 

12 cups boiling water

1 cup black eye peas dry

1 cup navy beans dry

1 cup green pepper diced

3 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1 cup salted peanuts chopped (&/or 12 oz jar of peanut butter (better with natural pb without sugar)

3 Tbsp onion powder

2 Tbsp basil leaves crushed

1 Tbsp ground coriander

4 cloves garlic

1. Melt margarine in large stock pot.

2. Add carrots. Cook for 5 minutes.

3. Add water, black eyed peas, navy beans, green pepper, salt, and crushed red pepper (add more water, if necessary, to cover).

4. Cook, covered, until ingredients are tender, 1 1/2-2 hours.

5. Add peanuts, onion powder, garlic, basil, and coriander during last 10-15 minutes of cooking.

6. Taste to correct seasonings. Soup should be thick. Between soup and stew.

NOTES: If you want more of a peanut flavor, add peanut butter during step 5.

This dish does well in a crock pot- just add all ingredients at once, and cook on low all day (6-8 hours) or until the beans are tender.  Dish goes well with couscous or Quinoa

For extra protein you can add diced chicken thighs (about 4) or diced lean sirloin during step 3.

Did You Know?
 The single most important thing that you can do for your and your babies health is to have good nutrition.

Nutrition is key for proper fetal development and systems functionality in utero and throughout your baby's life.

A well balanced pregnancy diet includes food from all food groups with an emphasis on healthy protein. 

Based on
Dr. Brewers  pregnancy diet derived from more than 30 years of research on nutrition during pregnancy, balanced nutrition with an emphasis on healthy protein can prevent gestational diseases  such as:



Abruption of the Placenta
Infections of the Lungs, Kidney and Liver


Good Nutrition can prevent disease/illness in your baby too:

Stillborn babies.

Low birth weight or premature babies.

Brain damaged babies with less intelligence.

Hyperactive babies with more irritability.

Infection-prone babies with more illness.

So rather than focusing on how much food or how much weight, turn your focus towards a high quality diet.

Nutrition is just 1 of the 5 points for optimal health. Learn about that and more in our comprehensive
Childbirth Education Classes

A family based business providing expecting families with affordable educational, cultural and artistic services from an African-Centered perspective.

TBS strives to infuse ancestral cultural traditions with modern information to help you create the birthing experience YOU want!


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Mar. 1, 2008 at 12:40 AM this ALMOST make me want to be pregnant again. I do know that if I had been more conscious of my attitude during my pregnancies, I would have more content, even tempered children. I know this in my heart.

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Mar. 1, 2008 at 4:50 PM Thanks sis.  I'm with UMMIOFTEN, it does make one want to have another baby.  *chuckle*  I will however, DEFINATELY be making that African Bean Soup, it sounds YUMMY!!

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Mar. 3, 2008 at 8:08 PM I love your playlist categories!!  This is something that I was struggling with.  I know I want music this time around (Due in May) but I wasnt sure exactly what to put on the ipod.  Thanks for sharing!  I hope this helps me as much as it helped you.  Im sure it will cause music is a big part of our family.  Take care and the best to you and your beautiful family!  ;)

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