This is a question that I hear a lot from a mother in labor or afterwards when we are debriefing after a birth. My answer is always the same, there is no noise meter here, and nobody can tell you if you are making too much noise because everyone is different. Clients should be allowed to be as vocal as they choose to be, no matter where they choose to give birth. To some, making noises during the birthing process is about letting go. Women need to let go of the control and give in to the process.
Although the level of noise isn’t a problem, the tone of the noise can be. Your birth team loves to hear those low, growly, deep open mouth sounds. The high squeaky sounds are the problem. The best way to teach this is to have you do it with me. What I would like you to do is to make a high-pitched squeaky noise with me. Ready? Ok. Say “squeeeeek,” making sure to enunciate the “eeee.” Did you notice that you were squeezing your abs? Make the sound again, this time place your hand over your abs and feel the contraction. Did you feel relaxed or tense? You’re right, you felt tense. Ok, now make that sound again, this time focus on your jaw. Did you notice that your jaw was closed? Is your jaw relaxed or tense? Yes, your jaw was very much closed, it is impossible to make that high pitched sound with your jaw open and relaxed. Now if you are a woman, what was happening to your vagina when you made that sound? Yes, it tightened! Some people actually close their hands as well when making this sound. Closed tight mouth, closed tight hands equals closed tight vagina.
You’re probably wondering, “What is a better more progressive noise that will open my vagina so my labor will be shorter and I can meet my baby sooner?” Ok, you may not be thinking that exact question, but you get the point. I want you to open your mouth and say “Ahhhh,” like the sound you make when you slip into a nice warm bath or if you are a mother of young kids say “Stoooooop” in your most exhausted voice. Good, now place your hand on your abdomen, was it tense or relaxed? Yes, you can’t help but just be relaxed. Now, focus on your jaw, is it relaxed or tense? Yes your jaw is open, not tight, it is relaxed. When the mouth and the abdomen are relaxed the hands will follow suit. I will say it again, open hands, open mouth equals open vagina. This is what you want to accomplish when in labor. These three simple parts of your body, if relaxed have higher rate for a successful, and speedy birth and you are more unlikely to tear.