“Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.”
This is a quote from well-known, bestselling recording artist Elton John. Indeed, music has been used in healing for quite some time. The modern music therapy profession began after World War I and World War II, according to the American Music Therapy Association. Community musicians went to VA hospitals to play for veterans suffering from physical and emotional trauma. Results were positive and the demand grew, leading to a need for prior training and soon, a college curriculum.
During pregnancy, moms-to-be are anxious about many things, especially about the health of the baby. Recently, a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders suggested that music therapy may help women lessen symptoms of prenatal anxiety. Researchers studied 409 women in their third trimester of pregnancy. None of these women have a history of anxiety, and half received music therapy, while the other half did not. Researchers did a before and after non-stress test (NST) on all participants and assessed maternal anxiety based on the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory a “definitive instrument for measuring anxiety in adults.” They found that women from the group that received music therapy experienced lower anxiety scores than those that didn’t. This means that music therapy can help reduce prenatal anxiety for women in their third trimester.
Why is this important? According to these researchers, prenatal anxiety can cause the following:
- Increased risk of postnatal anxiety and depression
- Increased risk of prenatal health concerns such as preeclampsia, preterm delivery, and low-birth weight
Of course, some woman may require more intense help such as psychotherapy, but music therapy is an example of something that has the potential to reduce prenatal anxiety.
If you are pregnant and feeling anxious or stressed, we definitely recommend that you contact your healthcare provider.