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Most Popular Music For Childbirth According to Data

by Team Kathryns 31 May 2024

Listening to music during labour is common for expectant mothers. Giving birth is a magical but daunting experience, and many opt to play soothing music to help induce relaxation or energetic uplifting songs to keep them motivated. There are tons of perfect songs out there to aid delivery, and bringing your child into the world with your favourite song playing can make this moment even more special! 

To help soon-to-be parents craft their perfect birthing playlist, we looked into recent Spotify data to determine which songs, artists, and genres are the most popular during labour. We analysed up to 1,000 playlists featuring the terms ‘birth’ and ‘labour’ (e.g., ‘labour playlist’) and aggregated the tracks and artists which appeared the most. 

We also looked into the beats per minute (BPM) for each of the top 10 tracks to find out what pace of song most people opt for and why.  

If you are looking to add the perfect songs or artists to your birthing playlist, you can find some inspiration from our research below.

“Here Comes the Sun” is the most popular labour song

Most popular labour songs

The iconic song “Here Comes the Sun (Remastered 2009)” by The Beatles features the most on Spotify birthing playlists.

Originally released in 1969, the lyrics reflect the writer’s relief at the arrival of spring after a "long, cold, lonely winter". These lyrics echo the experience of bringing new life into the world — spring is the season of new beginnings, during which the natural world revives after the hard winter months. In this context, winter could reflect the difficulty an expectant mother may endure during pregnancy.

As well as soon-to-be mums resonating with the uplifting lyrics, the song's calming acoustic guitar sound may add to its popularity in labour playlists. 

The second most popular song is “Better Together” by Jack Johnson — a love song that depicts a deep bond between two people. Released in 2006, the track can express any kind of love for a special person, so this works well to celebrate the arrival of a child. Like “Here Comes the Sun”, this song is upbeat but still calming with its acoustic guitar sound. Expectant parents will resonate with the lyrics “it's always better when we're together”, as a new arrival brings a family closer.

Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” is third on the list — a romantic ballad released in 2017. This ranking showcases the song's popularity as more than a love song for a partner but also as a positive and relaxing acoustic melody to help mothers through the stresses of labour. As this song means a lot to many, it makes ‘perfect’ sense that it would make it onto birthing playlists!

Other songs that made it into our top 10 include “All of Me” by John Legend, Haley Reinhart’s version of “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, and Billie Eilish’s “Ocean Eyes”. 

Ed Sheeran is the most popular artist for labour

Most popular artists during labour

When looking at which artists featured the most across labour playlists, it isn’t a huge surprise that Ed Sheeran topped the list. 

Many of Ed Sheeran’s songs are romantic ballads or uplifting pop songs, which seem to be popular themes across many labour playlists — the more sentimental the better!

As well as “Perfect”, some other Ed Sheeran songs that featured included “Thinking Out Loud”, “Small Bump”, and “Photograph”. All of these songs are full of meaning and sentimentality, especially ‘Small Bump’ — however due to the song's sensitive nature, it may not be the right choice for everybody’s labour playlist. 

The second most featured artist is the band Coldplay, with their many emotional and meaningful songs following a similar pattern. However, their music genre varies from upbeat pop songs to mellow rock melodies. Some Coldplay songs that frequently appeared in playlists included “Yellow”, “Fix You”, and “Paradise”.

Fleetwood Mac is the third most popular artist — their songs are much-loved classics for many, and they also fall into the rock category. Like The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac is a timeless band with a wide range of fans, so many of their songs may provide comfort and nostalgia during the stressful moments of childbirth. Songs like “Dreams” and “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac are calming, ethereal songs with romantic lyrics, without being too sombre.

Other artists who featured often across birthing playlists included John Mayer, Elton John, and Adele. 

Are slow or upbeat songs better for childbirth?

We looked into how the BPM of a song can affect a certain mood and atmosphere. Typically,  it’d be expected that most women want to be as relaxed as possible during labour, and our list shows that this is often the case. However, some of the songs ranked tell us that many opt for a more upbeat and mood-boosting song to help them through labour. Using the tool SongBPM, we found the BPM for each song in our ranked list to see what tempo people prefer during labour.

Music can relieve stress and induce certain emotions, especially if we have a particular connection to a song. According to PPL PRS, relaxing music and its soothing power closely link to our emotions and can effectively manage stress. Uplifting music is also a great way to distract us during a stressful situation.’ 

According to research from Flat, when you are calm your heartbeat is approximately 90 BPM — therefore, songs within this tempo can induce relaxation. Ben Howard’s popular acoustic song “Only Love” is the fifth most popular song in our rankings — this song has a BPM of 80, the lowest in our list. This tempo is very slow for a song, which could induce feelings of serenity. 

The research also shows that a BPM of 120 to 150 can produce feelings of joy — any higher than 150 can actually induce stress. “Can't Help Falling in Love” by Haley Reinhart, a cover of the original love song by Elvis Presley, has a BPM of 138, making it the ideal tempo to lift spirits and encourage joyous emotions in any setting, including labour. 

The fastest song on our list is “Sunrise” by Norah Jones, with a BPM of 157. As mentioned above, songs with a BPM over 150 can induce stress, so it’s an unusual choice for a birthing playlist. However, some people thrive under pressure! This song is an uplifting folk ballad and is much more positive and upbeat than other tracks on our list. So, although the BPM is higher, it's still an emotional song that can help keep stress at bay whilst remaining cheerful and motivating.

The majority of the songs on our list fall between 90 to 150 BPM, showing many mothers-to-be prefer music that encourages relaxation, uplifting feelings, or a combination of the two. 

Pop is the favourite music genre for labour

According to our research, pop is the most common genre to give birth to. Folk-pop specifically seems to be popular, with The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” falling into this category, which is typically an uplifting genre of music. 

Ranked ninth on our list, Billie Eilish’s popular song “Ocean Eyes” is labelled as an alt-pop, synth-pop and dream-pop ballad. With its melodic vocals like ocean waves, the song is calming and atmospheric, perfect for inducing relaxation during childbirth.

The perfect criteria for a labour song

Many factors contribute to the perfect labour song, depending on whether you want a slower melody for complete relaxation or something more upbeat for motivation. 

According to our research, the ideal factors for creating your labour playlist include: 

  • Songs with a BPM between 80 and 120 for a calm vibe, or 120-150 for more upbeat feelings. 
  • Pop songs that ideally include meaningful lyrics. 
  • Any Ed Sheeran song!

However, what music you listen to during your special moment is completely up to you. You may simply want your favourite songs playing, even if they might not necessarily induce relaxation! 

We hope our list can inspire some ideas for your labour playlists.

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