New research on music therapy suggests that pregnant women could benefit from stress reducing effect of soothing music. The psychological stress of women during pregnancy has been found to considerably reduce after they went through music therapy sessions.
The research was carried out by scholars from Centre of Nursing at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan. They placed 116 pregnant women in a music group and 120 in control group. The women taking part in the study had an average age of 30 years, were between 18 to 34 weeks into pregnancy and there were no notable complications.
They were given a pre-recorded 30 minute CD that included songs like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and Brahms’ Lullaby. Music of Beethoven and Debussy were also included in the music CD. There were nature sounds too that included the likes of Tropical Mystery and Friendly Natives. The chosen music contained beats similar to the human heart rate, i.e. between 60 and 80 beats per minute.
The women in the music group were asked to listen to the CD for 30 minutes a day for 2 weeks. They were asked to record which CD they listened to and what they were doing at the time. The participants were also told to fill out three well-established scales that were used to reflect stress, anxiety and depression before and after starting the schedule of listening to the music. The control group was not asked to do anything.
Results showed that women were undoubtedly helped in reducing stress. Certain types of music have always been associated with stress relief. The soothing tones relax your mind and body and that is what pregnant women need more than anything else.
Before taking part in the research, women belonging to music group had a score of 17.44 on the Perceived Stress Scale, ranging from 0 to 30. After starting music therapy their stress levels had dipped by an average of 2.15. This is noted to be very significant. Women belonging to the control group showed a comparably smaller fall of 0.92. Similar results were noted in the scales that measured anxiety and depression.
The usefulness of music therapy is gradually being recognized by nursing facilities in several clinical settings. It is hoped that the findings of this research will encourage pregnancy healthcare professionals to consider seriously it when caring for pregnant women. It is likely to be recognized more and more over the next few years.
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