How Can Music Therapy Help Pregnant Women Overcome Depression?
Researchers from the College of Nursing at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan set out to answer the question of how music therapy can help pregnant women overcome depression. They randomly assigned 116 women to a "music" group and 120 to a control group. After just two weeks the women in the music group showed marked reductions in stress, anxiety, and depression. The control group showed a slight reduction in stress, but no change in anxiety and depression. Four pre-recorded 30-minute CDs were used in the study, featuring music which mimicked the human heart beat at 60 to 80 beats per minute.
One of the CDs featured lullabies from Brahms and the song, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", while another featured nature sounds and children's rhymes and songs. The women were asked to listen for 30 minutes a day and write in a journal what they listened to and were doing at the time. They were tested before on well-established scales for stress, anxiety, and depression and then tested afterwards, showing great improvement in all areas.
Music has also been used in labor and delivery and has been shown to speed up labor and decrease the amount of pain. It has been shown that fetuses at 16 weeks' gestation can respond to outside sound. It would make sense that calming, relaxing music could be beneficial for both mother and baby.