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Tips for Creating a Serene Labor Environment at Home

Creating a serene labor environment at home is important for parents to consider when creating a birth plan. When a laboring mom is serene, her labor will be more enjoyable and less painful. When new parents are tense and full of fear, odds are they’ll experience more pain and be dissatisfied with their birth experience.

9 Tips to Create a Serene Birthing Environment at Home

Whether you’re giving birth at home or simply hoping to labor at home as long as possible, here are my best tips for creating a serene labor environment at home.

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10 minute read

Invitation List
Private Labor Space
Dimmed Lighting
Music Playlist
Special Momentos
Birth Affirmations
Hire a Doula
What About You?

Invitation List

One of the first things to consider when creating a serene labor environment at home is the guess list. Who will be attending the labor and birth? Some new moms want a small, intimate birthing experience and just want their partner and midwife. Others want a party! I say, whoever helps you to give birth, they should be there! People to consider inviting to your birth:

CAUTION: If the reason someone is invited to a birth is because the birthing parents feel an obligation, this is a red flag. This is a common scenario with family members, especially soon-to-be grandmothers. Have a conversation with your partner about what would be most helpful at your birth, and also ways to communicate that to the appropriate people. Boundaries are hard, and you’ve got this!

Private Labor Space

A serene labor environment at home necessitates a private place in the home – typically a bedroom that has its own bathroom. It’s perfectly normal to labor and birth in a shared living space like a kitchen, living room, or family room. Actually, you should plan on it! Just make sure you have an additional birthing space that can be *just yours* where visitors, children, and friends/family aren’t passing through.

  • Birthing space in a common area AND
  • An additional space for labor and birth in a private location

Dimmed Lighting

Dimmed mood lighting feels more peaceful compared to bright fluorescent lighting. This is good news for new parents that aren’t a fan of the lighting in their home! Instead of overhead lights, the best lighting for birthing comes from simple things like lamps, fairy lights, and Christmas lights (the white ones are my favorite!).

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I’ve especially loved using the battery operated tea lights, specifically around the tub for a water birth. These small lights give off just the right amount of serene glow in a bathroom that has the overhead lights turned off.

  • Lamps
  • Christmas lights
  • Fairy lights
  • Battery operated tea lights


Speaking of tubs and water birth, using a shower or tub in labor is a wonderful way to ease the pain of labor contractions. 

Shower for Labor

A shower is easy – you don’t have to climb in or sit down, just walk right in. Typically, moms in labor lead against the shower wall during contractions while the water sprays on their back or belly. The shower is my go-to place for laboring moms powering through that last bit of labor we call transition. I wouldn’t describe transition as serene, but I think the shower helps take some of the edge off during that difficult time.

pregnant woman in labor standing in shower behind shower door

Birth Tub

A birthing tub, specifically one that submerges the entire belly, is so helpful during labor. The water allows mom to be more buoyant, relieving pressure and pain from her belly, back, and pelvis. The birth tub also allows birthing parents to change positions easily, helping labor to continue to progress. Often women who having a birthing pool will hang Christmas lights or fairy lights around that space, for an extra soothing aesthetic.

A birth pool helps create a serene birthing environment at home.
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Music Playlist

Just like in life, music sets the mood for birth. Music can bright the energy in the room up, which is helpful in a long, drawn out labor when parents feel exhausted. On the flip side, music can bring the energy in the room down, for a more serene birthing experience. This can be helpful for parents to decrease tension in the body caused by fear and pain. Many new moms make a birth playlist with their favorite songs, which is a wonderful idea. Just make sure the playlist can go on for hours and hours – the average first time mom will spend around 17 hours in labor!

Soothing Music Genres

At a loss of what type of music would be good at birth? Generally, whatever the laboring woman prefers is the answer to that question. Here are some music genre ideas for labor and delivery to get you started. Just say, “Alexa play _________ music” and see what you think. 😉

  • Classical
  • Nature Sounds
  • Ambient
  • Jazz
  • Acoustic Chill
  • Lo-Fi
  • Lounge
  • 90s Chill (and other decades, etc.)


Aromatherapy, specifically lavender, has been proven to decrease the perception of pain in the operating room. Translate that to the birthing space for a more serene experience at home or the hospital. The easiest way to use aromatherapy in labor is to simply uncap the bottle, hold it up to the nose, and take a deep breath. After that, set it on a side table and you’ll notice the smell will begin to waft in the air. You could also put a few drops of lavender essential oil on a cotton ball for a similar effect.

Favorite Labor Blend for Diffuser

For the full effect of aromatherapy use a diffuser. My favorite blend is

  • 4 drops lavender essential oil and
  • 8 drops sweet orange essential oil

It’s a lovely smell!

Woman essential oils during labor to create a serene birthing environment at home.
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Special Momentos

Some parents take great strength in having specially chosen momentos nearby. These can be items can represent the baby – an ultrasound photo, the first outfit bought, or the blanket you used as a baby. These symbolic items don’t have to be just for the baby! It may be helpful to find small objects that represent other loved ones in you life. Whatever you choose, they’re likely to bring comfort during this major life transition.

Find momentos to represent…

  • Baby (ultrasound photo, tiny newborn outfit, heirloom baby blanket)
  • Partner (a smooth stone, something that represents the beginning of the relationship)
  • Parent or grandparent (family photo, hand written letter, religious object like a rosary, prayer for pregnancy, or scripture verse)
  • Maternal lineage – sometimes it’s helpful to have an object or photo of the women in the family that have given birth before you. First time moms can draw strength knowing that a strong line of woman have gone through labor and so can you!
woman holding ultrasound photo on bed near other baby objects and fairy lights

Birth Affirmations

Birth affirmations are encouraging phrases that new moms read, say, or hear that help them through those tough moments of doubt and uncertainty. “One contraction at a time” or “I get to meet my baby” are examples of phrases that can be used. Some parents use specific scriptures for birth, or even targeted birth affirmations that address their unique doubts and fears. Feel free to create your own, buy printable birth affirmation cards, or ready-made birth affirmations shipped to your front door. You’ve got options!

Hanging Birth Affirmations

Another way to use birth affirmations, but also adding to the aesthetic of your birth, is to hang them near the birth pool, bed, or wherever you plan on laboring. It’s a beautiful way to set the tone and vibe of your birthing space, and it’s also an easy way for your support team to know what to say in labor. It can be tricky to know what to say to someone in the throws of labor, and it’s easy to say the wrong thing. However, with birth affirmations hung a simple glance in their direction will help them out.

Reduce Fear & Tension

An overarching theme in this article about creating a serene labor environment at home is to do things that reduce fear and tension in the mind, body, and spirit AKA make your space more cozy, safe, calm, and soothing

The Fear —> Tension —> Pain Cycle

The reason why it’s important to reduce fear and tension in the body is because of the fear, tension, pain cycle. In short, the more fear a person has, the more tense they’ll feel, and the more tense they feel, the more pain they’ll feel. The more pain a person feels, the more fear they’ll have, and so on. These feelings snowball into a more and more painful birth experience. The complete opposite of serene. 

Anything parents can do to address any of those things in the fear, tension, pain cycle will short circuit the cycle and lead parents down a different path. For example, talking through fears before and during labor with a trusted care provider or partner can help decrease fear. Having the right support team can also reduce fear. Giving birth without fear is totally possible!

Women change from one position to another instinctually in labor to reduce their pain. Other pain coping techniques also easily reduce the pain new parents feel in labor. For example, dropping the shoulders while getting a massage will help the whole body feel less tense. Do you see what I mean?

TIP: Check out my tips and advice to manage anxiety in pregnancy naturally!

Oxytocin and Adrenaline

When we reduce fear and tension, what’s really going on is adrenaline decreases and oxytocin increases. However, oxytocin is the hormone of love, but also the hormone that causes contractions. Oxytocin is one of those feel good hormones, a bonding hormone, that is secreted when doing enjoyable things like physical contact with a loved one, getting a massage, petting an animal, etc. Encouraging oxytocin during birth absolutely creates a more serene birthing environment at home or hospital. To read more, check out my post about the hormonal blueprint of labor.

Hire a Doula

Finally, I’d like to encourage everyone reading this to consider hiring a doula. Doulas statistically benefit new moms and dads. For example, doulas decrease the chance of a cesarean by FIFTY PERCENT. However, besides, you know, all the life altering statistics that highlight the benefits of a doula, doulas are experts at creating a serene birthing environment at home (or the hospital!). Doulas bring labor hacks, massage techniques, and lots of physical, emotional, and informational support to labor and delivery.

You know how it was helpful to have a wedding coordinator at your wedding? Same thing for a doula. The doula is going to plan for all the little details that make the chill aesthetic that all birthing parents hope for. 

“Like a wedding coordinator is to a wedding, a doula is to a birth.”

What About You? How Do You Create a Serene Labor Environment at Home?

What sorts of things did you have at your birth that made things more serene? Leave a comment and share your ideas with each other!