labor comforts

Music during Birth (and Your Doula's Favorite Playlists!)

During your birthing time, you may want total and complete silence but more than likely during early active labor you'll have some breaks in between contractions when you'd be benefitted by some tunes. (Truth be told, during heavy transition you probably won't care, although every mama is different!)

So, I recommend that you put together some Pandora or Spotify lists for labor. Do three "just-in-case" options.:

#1. Super Upbeat
#2. Calming/Melodic
#3. Inspirational or meditational. 

Don't have time to create a playlist, or maybe you're not picky? No worries, as your doula, I can bring up my playlists for you to choose from! 

Here's what I have on mine (maybe it will give you some inspiration!)

Upbeat Labor/Birth Playlist

labor playlist

I've got some fun catchy tunes from Stevie Wonder, Jackson 5, and Ray Charles on the list along with a few contemporaries. This is perfect for super early labor where you are up walking, squatting, and working it!

Calm/Melodic Playlist

calm labor playlist

I've got some of my favorite crooners on this list -- Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Harry Connick Jr, and more. This list is perfect for when active labor is kicking in and you are starting to go within yourself, but you're still "with it" enough to want some melodic tunes playing in the background.

Meditation/Relaxation Playlist

meditation labor

This playlist has zen-like and spa music on it. I personally like this list when a mom is going through transition and still would like some background tunes without words (that might distract).

So, whether you want to make your own, or let your favorite doula use hers, music can be a super useful tool in either energizing you, relaxing you, or tuning out other noises that can be distracting.

<3 Your Knoxville & Chattanooga Doula,

Double Hip Squeeze in Labor :: Pressure & the Pelvis

Having your partner or doula perform a double hip squeeze during your labor can provide extreme comfort for a baby who is posterior (and help in rotating) and in moms experiencing back pain during labor. But, as always, it may not be magic for you --- I recently had a laboring mama who couldn't even stand for me to touch the area where one does a double hip squeeze!!

So, why a double hip squeeze?

(according to

A laboring mother’s pelvis is stretched by the pressure of the baby’s head bearing down.3 The baby can also put uncomfortable pressure on the sacrum.4 “The hip squeeze pushes the pelvis back into a relaxed position,” which both “relieves the pressure of the stretch” and causes the “pelvis to flare out slightly, allowing the baby room to move around and down.”

How to do it? 

double hip squeeze doula

Keep one hand on each bone and your thumbs pointed toward the spine forming a "W". Push the hipbones "in and up" towards the mother's body, and at the same time towards the mother's shoulders as if you needed to press on the bones and slide them up her back.

As your doula, I'll be glad to show your partner how to do it, or I can do it myself -- or we can take turns! It can be a great technique to have in our toolbox!

<3 Your Chattanooga & Knoxville Doula,
Martha Howell

Essential Oils During Labor

Many of my clients are really "into" oils, but even those who are not have usually heard of the benefits of using essential oils during sickness or for relaxation. Labor, while obviously not a "sickness" is a time of great physiological changes as well as possible emotional and mental strains, so essential oils can definitely shine when used during a mama's birth time. 

Obviously, some essential oils won't appeal to everyone, so I highly suggest smelling these oils BEFORE you are in labor. During my prenatal appointments with my clients, I always bring my oils for them to sniff to make sure they aren't turned off by any. And then, during labor, before I start massaging or widely applying any oil, I have the mama smell again, just to make double sure that this oil I'm about to put on her doesn't make her gag or have any sort of ill reaction.

So, which ones should you use? Here's my list of tried and true essential oils for labor, that are safe during pregnancy.



These are best if inhaled through diffusion or even on a cotton pad held under the nose.

  • Peppermint [avoid after 8cm]
  • Lemon
  • Rosewood


The labor partner or doula can give a massage using the following oils in a a carrier oil to help relieve back pain:

  • Peppermint [avoid after 8 cm[
  • Lavender


Inhale, massage over uterus, and/or dab on ankle acupressure points to help encourage contractions. [These oils are NOT for use during pregnancy, unless the mother is in active labor, as they do encourage contractions.]

  • Clary Sage
  • Myrrh
  • Jasmine


Use in a massage or diffusion for relaxation and to ease fears:

  • Ylang Ylang
  • Lavender
  • Geranium
  • Chamomile


Massage over uterus or soak warm clothes in water and oil and apply over uterus:

  • Lavender
  • Frankincense

Do you have any favorite oils to use during labor? If so, comment and let me know!

Your East Tennessee Doula,

Knoxville Doula, Chattanooga Doula, Cleveland Doula, East Tennessee Doula, Maryville Doula