Classical Music and Pregnancy

The popular image of expectant mothers and classical music is that of a woman with Mozart playing through headphones anchored over the developing infant. But you (and your child) might be better off if you simply listen to classical music yourself. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing measured the effects of listening to classical music on a group of 116 women, vs. a control group of 120 women.

Before the study, the women in the music group scored 17.44 on the Perceived Stress Scale, which ranges from zero to 30 and is used to measure the perception of stress.Afterwards, their stress levels had dropped by an average of 2.15, compared with 0.92 in the control group.Anxiety was measured by a scale ranging from 20 to 80. It fell by 2.13 from 37.92 in the music group and rose by 0.71 in the control group.

Depression was measured by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, which ranges from zero to 30.

The music group reported an average level of 12.11 before the study and a reduction of 1.84 at the end of the two-week period. The score was almost constant in the control group.

Professor Chen said: ‘The music group showed significant reductions in stress, anxiety and depression after just two weeks.’

Why is it so important for expectant mothers to reduce stress during pregnancy? On the same page, there was a link to this article :

Babies born to mothers who were stressed during pregnancy are more at risk of developing asthma, research has shown.Women who are highly anxious while expecting are 65 per cent more likely to have a child who develops asthma.More than 5,800 families were monitored for eight years by Bristol University scientists.

Anxiety levels were assessed using questionnaires completed by mothers at 18 and 32 weeks of pregnancy.

The children were assessed for asthma at the age of seven. Around 13 per cent of the children had asthma, according to results presented today at the European Respiratory Society congress in Berlin. Overall, the risk of developing asthma was 65 per cent higher among children born to mothers who were most anxious compared with those who had the lowest levels.

Pregnant woman dressed in white tank top and white pants holds noise-canceling headphones against her abdomen

Pregnant Woman
Science Photo Library

It is thought the developing immune system of unborn babies can be changed by maternal stress, probably through stress hormones such as cortisol.

Simply by changing the dial on your radio station, putting on a classical CD, or listening to classical music online, expectant mothers can reduce their stress and thereby decrease the likelihood that their child will be born with asthma.
If this is important to you, you need to consider this inexpensive and easy choice.

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