Music during Pregnancy: Myths and Facts

Since ancient times, music is believed to have healing powers and has been used as a form of therapy. Singing songs to the babies is known across different cultures and societies all across the world and many renowned music composers including Mozart, Brahms, and Schubert, composed memorable lullabies.

Many benefits of music therapy to treat various physical and mental health conditions during pregnancy have emerged in recent years. Daily listening to music during pregnancy has also been recommended by many researchers for relaxation.

Music is known for the reduction of stress symptoms and anxiety by reducing catecholamine and stress hormone levels. This, in turn, improves general health and wellbeing.

A unique approach

Music therapy could be a cheap, effective, home-based suitable alternative solution for pregnant women. It has the advantages of being cheap, socially accepted, and an enjoyable non-pharmacological option of treatment. The pregnant woman can listen and enjoy the music at the comfort of her home.

Beneficial during pregnancy

Studies have shown that music therapy can improve sleep quality and can reduce stress and anxiety during pregnancy. Music can help in lowering blood pressure in pregnant women with pregnancy-induced hypertension/ preeclampsia. Therefore, it can be a useful adjunct to conventional preeclampsia treatment. Listening to music can also help in reducing labor pain and can provide better-coping skills to deal with stress and anxiety before a surgical procedure.

Addressing good mental wellbeing is vital during pregnancy to prevent low mood and mental health problems after childbirth.

Type of music beneficial to the fetus

The physiological and psychological response of listening to music depends on its type and rhythm.  For example, heart rate and blood pressure can increase while listening to fast-paced music. Whereas, calming, relaxing and slow-paced music can lower both the heart rate and blood pressure. Researchers suggest that regular and soft-rhythm music (such as lullabies and classical music) are most suitable for the fetus and newborn babies.

Things to remember

Loud noise (>80dB) should be avoided during pregnancy and headphones/music devices/ loudspeakers should not be placed directly on the abdomen during pregnancy.

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that music therapy/ specific compositions during pregnancy make the baby more intelligent.

Image courtesy of (Image Courtesy: Sarvyoga)

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