Music Reduces Pregnancy Stress
Classical Music, Nature Sounds, Lullabies Reduce Stress, Anxiety, Depression
Oct. 8, 2008 -- Forget pickles and ice cream. What do pregnant women really need to
take the edge off? Brahms and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
Music may reduce the stress, anxiety, and depression that many pregnant
women experience. A study of 236 pregnant women in Taiwan shows that the
participants who listened to music for 30 minutes per day for two weeks
significantly reduced their stress, anxiety, and depression, compared with
participants who did not. The study, conducted by researchers at the College of
Nursing at Kaohsiung Medical University, was published in the Journal of
The participants were all in either their second or third trimesters. All
expected to have uncomplicated vaginal deliveries. They had similar backgrounds
in terms of occupation, class, education level, and marital happiness.
About half were given CDs and asked to listen to them for a half hour per
day. They could choose between classical music, nature sounds, Chinese
children's rhymes and songs, or lullabies. Most chose nature sounds or
lullabies. Participants kept diaries about when they listened to music. Popular
times included while they were resting or doing chores.
The other half did not listen to the CDs. Both groups received routine
Women in the music group saw a significant drop in stress, anxiety, and
depression scores, while the control group had a minor drop in stress. Overall,
the changes seen in the music group were significantly different after the two
weeks of music therapy.
"Pregnancy is a unique and stressful period for many expectant mothers
and they suffer anxiety and depression because of the long time period
involved. In fact, anxiety and depression during pregnancy is a similar health
problem to postnatal depression," study author Chung-Hey Chen, who is now
based at the National Cheng Kung University, says in a news release. "Any
intervention that reduces these problems is to be welcomed. Our study shows
that listening to suitable music provides a simple, cost-effective and
non-invasive way of reducing stress, anxiety and depression during