Vocalisation in labour

By Suzanne Swan

Birth is a joyful occasion. When we are present to the sensations of labour, we notice that the body sends us signals asking for attention. The body‟s signals are asking for energy and you can give it attention in the form of sound. Receiving what it needs, the body will open and as it opens, the sensations will be reduced and the duration lessened as healing begins.

You can raise your vibration with sound to ease the strong sensations of labour. In traditional cultures, experienced mothers sung to the woman through labour, surrounding her with sound so as to help shift her consciousness. This sound bath helped the labouring woman: her body could work to give birth and her consciousness could be with her baby.

Sound raises your vibration. The sound that heals you will be a tone that is particular to your individual needs. Each of our organs has its‟ own note. When sound is offered to the muscle in labour it can nourish the body. When one sound becomes less effective, another one can be found. In this way, strong sensations in labour can be decreased and the whole body nourished through the hours of giving birth. In labour the low sounds create more space than high notes.


Toning is experimenting with "notes‟ that resonate most profoundly with your body. It's simple.

1. Take a deep breath, pick any note and sing it.

2. When you run out of breath, take another deep breath and keep going. Intend the sound to the place you want to open and relax. The essence of sound is to resonate and heal the parts of our body that need balance.

3. "Your‟ note is the note that most resounds in your body.

4. Another note will come when your body's need for that sound has been fulfilled.

5. Tone for five minutes.

6. Stop and be silent. It is said by the Hindu Vedas that “all sound is aiming towards silence”.

In labour, toning works if the woman does it herself, or she is silent, with the toning of others surrounding her. Toning relaxes and opens the muscle fibers, allowing the cervix to open with more ease and the birth to happen more quickly. Toning helps created the optimum level of hormones and chemical action in the body and increases the endorphin level, the body‟s natural opiate.

A note about facial tension

A relaxed forehead and an open throat are indicators of an open and receptive pelvis. Ina May Gaskin (2003) observed that there is a strong connection between the mouth/throat and those of the cervix…. She said it is easier to figure out how to relax the jaw more easily than your bottom.

Discovering your baby’s own unique song

This is a beautiful story by Alan Cohen. When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavour and purpose. When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else. When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child‟s song to him or her. Later when the child enters education, the village gathers and chants the child‟s song. When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the people again come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the person hears his or her song. Finally, when the soul is about to pass form this world, the family and friends gather at the person‟s bed, just as they did at their birth and they sing the person to the next life.