A Narrative Literature Review of the Therapeutic Effects of Music Upon Childbearing Women and Neonates


Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice




Therapeutic effects of music are well recognised within the literature, with benefits for a variety of health problems documented. This narrative review summarises benefits in terms of reducing stress, anxiety, labour pain and depression in childbearing women. For neonates, music has been shown to reduce number of days to discharge, reduce pain response behaviours, increase weight gain, improve Brazelton scores, improve parent/infant intimacy, improve oxygen saturation, increase formula intake, stabilize vital signs and increase parental reports of calmed infants. The main criticism of the studies reviewed is lack of categorisation of the particulars of the variables within the music that directly influenced outcome variables. A recommendation is made that a music package be developed and relationships with variables rigorously evaluated. The validated product may then be made available for use. Since evidence supports advantages from listening to music, it is suggested that maternity professionals use it in more creative ways.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Anxiety; Anxiety Scales; Calmness; Childbirth; Depression; Hospital Length of Stay; Hospital Setting; Hospitalized Patients; Infants; Labor Pain; Mental Health; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Newborn Infants; Oxygen Saturation; Pain; Pain Management and Control; Pain Score or Rating; Pregnancy; Recorded Music Listening; Self-Report Measures; Stress; Vital signs

Indexed Terms

Anxiety; Depression; Newborn Infants; Labor Pain; Pregnancy; Pregnancy Complications; Stress; Childbearing women; Complementary therapy; Midwifery; Neonates

Study Type

Narrative Review; Qualitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type