The Effects of Music-Based Interventions for Pain and Anxiety Management during Vaginal Labour and Caesarean Delivery: A Systematic Review and Narrative Synthesis of Randomised Controlled Trials

Amy Rose Hunter, Annie Heiderscheit, Megan Galbally, Davide Gravina, Hiba Mutwalli, Hubertus Himmerich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Music-based interventions are not physically invasive, they usually have minimal side effects, and they are increasingly being implemented during the birthing process for pain and anxiety relief. The aim of this systematic review is to summarise and evaluate published, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the effects of music-based interventions for pain and anxiety management during vaginal labour and caesarean delivery. Following the PRISMA guidelines, a systematic search of the literature was conducted using: PsychInfo (Ovid), PubMed, and Web of Science. Studies were included in the review if they were RCTs that assessed the effects of music on pain and anxiety during vaginal and caesarean delivery by human mothers. A narrative synthesis was conducted on 28 identified studies with a total of 2835 participants. Most, but not all, of the included studies assessing music-based interventions resulted in reduced anxiety and pain during vaginal and caesarean delivery. Music as part of a comprehensive treatment strategy, participant-selected music, music coupled with another therapy, and relaxing/instrumental music was specifically useful for reducing light to moderate pain and anxiety. Music-based interventions show promising effects in mitigating pain and anxiety in women during labour. However, the long-term effects of these interventions are unclear.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7120
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume20
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • anxiety
  • caesarean section
  • labour
  • music
  • music therapy
  • pain

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