Effects of prenatal music stimulation on fetal cardiac state, newborn anthropometric measurements and vital signs of pregnant women: A randomized controlled trial

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2017 May;27:61-67. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2017.03.004. Epub 2017 Apr 1.


Background: Music has been used for medicinal purposes throughout history due to its variety of physiological, psychological and social effects.

Objective: To identify the effects of prenatal music stimulation on the vital signs of pregnant women at full term, on the modification of fetal cardiac status during a fetal monitoring cardiotocograph, and on anthropometric measurements of newborns taken after birth.

Material and method: A randomized controlled trial was implemented. The four hundred and nine pregnant women coming for routine prenatal care were randomized in the third trimester to receive either music (n = 204) or no music (n = 205) during a fetal monitoring cardiotocograph. All of the pregnant women were evaluated by measuring fetal cardiac status (basal fetal heart rate and fetal reactivity), vital signs before and after a fetal monitoring cardiotocograph (maternal heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressure), and anthropometric measurements of the newborns were taken after birth (weight, height, head circumference and chest circumference).

Results: The strip charts showed a significantly increased basal fetal heart rate and higher fetal reactivity, with accelerations of fetal heart rate in pregnant women with music stimulation. After the fetal monitoring cardiotocograph, a statistically significant decrease in systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and heart rate in women receiving music stimulation was observed.

Conclusion: Music can be used as a tool which improves the vital signs of pregnant women during the third trimester, and can influence the fetus by increasing fetal heart rate and fetal reactivity.

Keywords: Fetal heart rate and anthropometric measurements; Full-term pregnant women; Music therapy; Prenatal; Vital signs.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Apgar Score
  • Birth Weight / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Body Size / physiology
  • Cardiotocography
  • Female
  • Fetal Monitoring
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Heart Rate, Fetal / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Pregnancy