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Table 1 Summary of included studies

From: Music interventions to reduce stress and anxiety in pregnancy: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Study Method Sample Intervention Outcome measures and timing of assessment Findings
Bauer et al. (2010) [17] RCT 80 women, mean age 31.4 yrs., 24–36 weeks gestation at enrolment, medically high risk Intervention (n = 19): 1 × 1 h with music therapist – 90% participants chose music-focused relaxation.
Intervention (n = 19): 1 × 1 h relaxation intervention – 90% participants chose creative arts.
Control (n = 42): waitlist attention group.
• Distress
(Antepartum Bedrest Emotional Impact Inventory)
Baseline + immediately post intervention + 48–72 h after intervention
Distress was significantly reduced by music and relaxation when compared to the control group.
Chang et al. (2008) [2] RCT 236 women, mean age 30.3 yrs., 18-22 weeks or 30-34 weeks gestation at enrolment, medically low risk Intervention (n = 116): routine antenatal care plus listening to music for 2 weeks for 30 min/day. 4 types of music to choose from: lullabies, classical music, nature sounds, and crystal music.
Control (n = 120) = routine antenatal care.
• Stress
(Perceived Stress Scale)
• Anxiety
(State-Trait Anxiety Inventory)
Baseline + immediately post intervention
Music significantly reduced both stress and anxiety. However, stress was also significantly reduced in the control group.
Chang et al. (2015) [18] RCT 296 women, aged between 24 and 41 yrs., gestational age ≥ 17 weeks at enrolment, medically low risk Intervention (n = 145): routine antenatal care plus listening to music for 2 weeks for 30 min/day. 5 types of music to choose from: crystal music, nature sounds, classical music, lullabies and symphonic music.
Control (n = 151): routine antenatal care
• Stress
(Perceived Stress Scale)
• Pregnancy Specific Stress
(Pregnancy Stress Rating Scale)
Baseline + immediately post intervention
Music listening did not significantly reduce stress scores; while pregnancy specific stress was significantly reduced by music.
Shin & Kim (2011) [19] Quasi-experimental: non-equivalent control group non-synchronised design 233 women, modal age 30-34 yrs., 1st trimester at enrolment, medically low risk Intervention (n = 117): listening to music for a single 30 min session during Transvaginal Ultrasound. Music chosen by researchers; ‘Prenatal music album with the sound of nature’
Control (n = 116): Transvaginal Ultrasound without music.
• Anxiety
(State-Trait Anxiety Inventory)
• Pregnancy Specific Stress
(Pregnancy Stress Scale)
Baseline + immediately post intervention
Music significantly reduced anxiety compared to the control group. However, it did not significantly reduce pregnancy specific stress scores.
Yang et al. (2009) [20] RCT 120 participants, “most (96.7%) were under 35 years old”, gestational age: 28-36 weeks at enrolment, medically high risk Intervention (n = 60): usual care plus listening to music for 3 days for 30 min/day. 3 types of music to choose from: classical music, pleasant music, and Chinese folk music.
Control (n = 60): usual care
• Anxiety
(State-Trait Anxiety Inventory)
Baseline + immediately post Intervention
Significantly larger reduction of anxiety in the music group than the control group.