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.
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