Effects of music listening on stress, anxiety, and sleep quality for sleep-disturbed pregnant women

Women Health. 2016;56(3):296-311. doi: 10.1080/03630242.2015.1088116. Epub 2015 Sep 11.


Prenatal sleep disturbance has been associated with undesirable birthing outcomes. To determine the effectiveness of listening to music at home in improving sleep quality, 121 Taiwanese pregnant women with poor sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index [PSQI] score > 5) were systematically assigned, with a random start to music listening (n = 61) or control (n = 60) group. Participants in the music listening group self-regulated listening to music in addition to receiving general prenatal care similar to that in the control group for 2 weeks. The PSQI and State-Anxiety Inventory were used to assess outcomes. ANCOVA analyses were used with the pretest scores as covariates and showed significant improvement in sleep quality, stress, and anxiety in the music listening group compared with the control group. The most frequently used music genre by participants in the experimental group was lullabies, followed by classical music and crystal baby music. This study supported the theory that 2-week music listening interventions may reduce stress, anxiety, and yield better sleep quality for sleep-disturbed pregnant women. The analysis of participants' journals also implied that the expectant mothers' choices of musical genres may correlate more with perceived prenatal benefits or the desire to interact with their unborn child.

Keywords: music therapy; prenatal care; sleep quality; women health.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Music*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women / psychology*
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / therapy*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome