Effects of Music Interventions on Maternal and Child Outcomes in Obstetric Settings: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis


  • Ning Yang The Third Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, China
  • Liping Chen Department of Nursing, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, China
  • Haoke Tang Department of Nursing, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, China
  • Yingchun Zeng Department of Nursing, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, China
  • De Chen Guangzhou Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, China




Introduction: Pregnancy and childbirth are highly challenging, as it is an event of significant psychological, social and emotional change for women that may predispose them to stress and anxiety. Music therapy is emerging with increasing popularity as an additional treatment for ameliorating stress, anxiety and labor pain. This study aimed to examine the effect of music interventions on maternal perinatal mental health and childbirth outcomes to establish comprehensive evidence for clinical decision-making. Methods: This study is a systematic review and meta-analysis. Results: Twenty-six randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving 3,969 women included in this review. The overall effects indicated that anxiety levels in women in the music group were significantly lower than in the usual care group (SMD =- 4.17, 95% CI: -5.13 to -3.20). The pooled results also indicate that music interventions could significantly reduce depressive symptoms (SMD =-2.66, 95% CI: -4.98 to -0.34). The music interventions also tended to reduce women's stress, but without significantly statistical differences (Z=1.84, P=0.07). Eight studies reported the effects of music interventions on the physical outcomes of pain and blood pressure and pain. Music interventions could significantly reduce pain intensity (SMD =-1.43, 95% CI: -2.67 to -0.18, blood pressure: systolic BP (SMD =-2.23, 95% CI: -3.76 to -0.70), and diastolic BP (SMD =-1.80, 95% CI: -3.00 to -0.61), and reduced heart rate vital signs (SMD =-3.33, 95% CI: -4.36 to - 2.30). Five studies reported the effects of music interventions on women's satisfaction and quality of life, and found that music interventions significantly improved these outcomes (SMD =2.86, 95% CI: 1.66 to 4.05). In terms of child outcomes, the music interventions positively stimulated fetal movement (SMD =1.62, 95% CI: 0.05 to 3.19) and accelerations (SMD =1.08, 95% CI: 0.74 to 1.42). Conclusions: These results suggest that music interventions may have the potential to reduce obstetrical complications, so that application of music interventions across all three trimesters and during labor may be advisable in routine obstetric practice.


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