In preparation for Cecilia’s arrival, I read books about natural birth, did Kegels to strengthen my perineum and met with my doula to discuss my birth plan.

While these were helpful strategies, I knew, thanks to my experiences with my first baby, that plans do not always play out the way one thinks. Before Elliot was born, I wrote in my birth plan that I wanted to play music during labor. Because I neglected to actually choose the music I wanted to hear, I never got to enjoy my favorite tunes at the hospital.

This time around, I was determined to have the perfect labor playlist.

I began jotting down the songs I wanted several weeks before my due date, and I enlisted my husband to make sure all the music files were ready to go on the iPod.

I’ve always loved how music can brighten my mood instantly and how a certain song can transport me to another time. I knew listening to some inspiring music would help me, most likely in early labor, get into a zone.

When I was choosing songs, I picked some that make me want to dance (Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies, for example), some that would help me push through pain (“Stronger” by Kanye West) and some that I just love (“Like a Prayer” by Madonna). You’ll probably notice that many of the titles offer appropriate encouragement during labor – Alicia Keys’ “Superwoman,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop,” Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On a Prayer,” NKOTB’s “Hangin’ Tough,” Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman.”

Sadly, labor was so intense that I removed the earbuds before “Push It” by Salt N Pepa and “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross played.

Although I didn’t make it through the whole playlist, I can honestly say that being able to “plug in” to these tunes helped me during labor. I loved that the music was only in my ear buds; it improved my “zoning” experience because no one else knew what I was hearing at a particular moment.

All that said, I would highly recommend a labor playlist for all women. If you have used a labor playlist, please share some of your favorites from it.

Here is my entire list:

  • Cecilia – Simon & Garfunkel
  • Stronger – Kanye West
  • Stereo Hearts – Gym Class Heroes
  • Move – MercyMe
  • The Redeemer – Sanctus Real
  • Stronger – Mandisa
  • Lose Yourself – Eminem
  • Be OK – Ingrid Michaelson
  • Superwoman – Alicia Keys
  • Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson
  • Hey Mama – Black Eyed Peas
  • I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas
  • Own It – Black Eyed Peas
  • Let’s Get it Started – Black Eyed Peas
  • Push It – Salt N Pepa
  • Single Ladies – Beyoncé
  • Don’t Stop – Fleetwood Mac
  • Hung Up – Madonna
  • Like A Prayer – Madonna
  • Livin’ On a Prayer – Bon Jovi
  • Capri – Colbie Caillat
  • Rock Your Body – Justin Timberlake
  • Love Shack – B52s
  • Firework – Katy Perry
  • Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5
  • Hangin’ Tough – NKOTB
  • Dynamite – Taio Cruz
  • Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO
  • Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
  • Good – Better Than Ezra
  • Big Girls Don’t Cry – Fergie
  • Shark in the Water – VV Brown
  • Defying Gravity – from “Wicked” (Idina Menzel)
  • I’m Every Woman – Whitney Houston
  • Get This Party Started – Pink
  • Raise Your Glass – Pink
  • I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross
  • Rumor Has It – Adele
  • Seasons of Love – from “Rent”