(Senior Research Fellow)
Prof. Anuradha Sharma
Department of Community Education & Disability Studies
Panjab University, Chandigarh
Millions of women across the globe are in their reproductive age and, thus, maternal health is becoming a global concern. This study is an ex-post facto research that aims to analyze the effect of music on the maternal health of women. A sample of twenty-four mothers with newborn babies was taken using a purposive sampling technique. The findings of the study indicate that music has a soothing effect on the maternal health of women. Listening to music has helped in reducing mental and physical health issues during the prenatal, perinatal, and post-natal stages of pregnancy.
Keywords: Anxiety, maternal health, music, postpartum depression, pregnancy
How to cite this paper:
Kashyap, Tanvi and Anuradha Sharma. 2024. “The Effect of Music on Maternal Health: An Empirical Analysis.” Sangeet Galaxy 13(1): 140-146. www.sangeetgalaxy.co.in
The maternal period in every woman’s life has a long-term impact on her mind and body. Pregnancy and post- partum periods are major events in a woman’s life because not only the body changes but also the psychological and social functioning of a woman (Oates, 2006).
Studies have shown that nearly 10-15% of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression. Also, about 50% of new mothers suffer from temporary mood swings, emotional instability, and a feeling of incapability in taking care of the baby. (Wulff, 2021)
Research has also shown that anxiety and depression during pregnancy may cause a shorter gestation period and may adversely affect fetal- neurodevelopment (Schetter, 2012).
1.1 Maternal Health-
The World Health Organisation defines maternal health as “the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.”
According to UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), every two minutes, one woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth due to preventable causes.
Maternal health is becoming a global concern because millions of women across the globe are in their reproductive age and good maternal healthcare services can ensure better antenatal, perinatal, and postnatal care for these women (Kifle, 2017)
1.2 Music and Maternal Health-
Listening to music was mentioned in midwifery care for prenatal and peri-natal stages, in the mid- 1980s (Clark,1981)
Research has shown that listening to music during pregnancy leads to better mental health and less pronounced symptoms of postpartum depression. (Perkovic, 2021)
Prenatal music intervention has been proven to be beneficial and effective for reducing anxiety in full-term pregnant women. Music intervention also helped in improving the delivery process for women who faced complications in delivering a baby in previous pregnancies. (Gonzalez, 2017)
Research has also shown that music not only had a positive impact on postpartum depression but also proved to be less expensive than other treatments (Yang, 2019).
According to Pabst (2022), listening to music during pregnancy and postpartum has many benefits. Listening to music for 20 minutes every day during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety in pregnant women. Also, listening to music before stressful clinical events can reduce cortisol levels at the pre-natal stage. Anxiety during labor can also be reduced by listening to music, along with heart rate and blood pressure. It also helps improve tolerance of pain. Lower levels of postpartum depression have been associated with listening to music during the third trimester.
2.0 Significance of the Study:
Maternal health is a concern for a major chunk of society because the health of a mother directly affects the health of her child, and every child born healthy positively contributes to society’s development.
Many women face mental and physical health difficulties before and after childbirth, which if not dealt with, at the right time, may turn chronic at a later stage. Often, the root cause behind these problems is hormonal changes which need to be catered to with the help of mind-body interventions like music and art.
Thus, this study aims to analyze the effect of music on maternal health of women. This study is an empirical analysis that is significant for music therapists, educationists, researchers, doctors, pregnant women, and new mothers.
3.0 Objectives of the Study:
- To study the effect of music on relaxation during pregnancy
- To study the effect of music on prenatal health
- To study the effect of the music on perinatal health
- To study the effect of music on post-natal mental health
4.0 Research Methodology:
The present study is an ex-post facto research as the investigation started after the event had occurred without any interference from the researcher. Ex-post facto research has identifiable variables, however, there is no direct manipulation of the indirect variables like in the case of experimental research, as the event has already occurred.
A sample of twenty-four mothers with newborn babies (within the age group of 6 months to 1 year) was taken using a purposive sampling technique.
Primary data was collected with the help of a questionnaire, which was circulated amongst the sample as a Google form. The questionnaire was created by the researchers after getting help from industry experts.
5.0 Findings of the study:
The present study was undertaken to empirically analyze the effect of music on maternal health. Maternal health includes the health of a woman during pregnancy, childbirth, and at the postpartum period. A total sample of 24 respondents (mothers with newborn babies within the age group of 6 months to 1 year) was taken.
Out of the total sample, only 15 respondents listened to music during their pregnancy. The following conclusions were drawn from the analysis:
5.1 Effect of music on relaxation during Pregnancy-
The results indicate that 12 out of 15 (80%) pregnant women who listened to music during their pregnancy, experienced relaxation after listening to music, particularly spiritual chants, and Indian classical music.
5.2 Effect of music on prenatal health-
During the nine months of pregnancy, a woman’ s body goes through a lot of changes which can also be mentally and emotionally overwhelming. The results indicate that music had a positive impact on the prenatal health of the respondents. Only 3 out of 15 women (20%) who listened to music, experienced complications during pregnancy. These complications included high blood pressure, glucose intolerance and pre-term labor.
5.3 Effect of music on perinatal health-
The perinatal period or the time of childbirth is a very crucial time for every pregnant woman as it can affect her mental and physical health. The results indicate that music had a positive impact on the perinatal health of the respondents. Only 5 out of 15 (33.33%) women who listened to music during pregnancy, experienced complications at the time of delivery.
5.4 Effect of music on post-natal mental health-
The results show that only 1 out of 15 women (6.66%) who were listening to music during their pregnancy, experienced post-partum depression, and 6 out of 15 (40%) women who were listening to music during their pregnancy experienced post-partum anxiety. It is very common for women to experience anxiety post-delivery as their lifestyle undergoes a complete change, but listening to music during pregnancy at least helps in avoiding post-partum depression.
5.5 Percentage of participants who listened to music after delivery-
The results show that only 33.33% of participants listened to music after delivering the baby.
5.6 Effect of listening to music after delivery on post-partum depression-
The results indicate that none of the participants who continued to listen to music even after delivering the baby, experienced post- partum depression. Thus, it is an interesting finding that the new mothers who listened to music after delivering the baby experienced no post-partum depression.
The mental and physical health of every woman is important as it directly impacts the health of her child, who are the future of our nation. For women, each stage of her life, particularly pregnancy, perinatal and postnatal period should have a positive impact on her body and mind as that will help them to raise happier and healthier children. Listening to music helped a large chunk of the sample in relaxing during their pregnancy. Music has a soothing effect on pregnant women which may contribute to better physical and mental health of the baby for the rest of her/his life. Women usually go through certain mental and physical health issues during pregnancy. The findings of this study have shown that listening to music during the prenatal stage has helped in reducing complications like high blood pressure, glucose intolerance and pre-term labor. Results of this study also indicate that listening to music has reduced complications at the time of delivery of the baby. Effect of music on postnatal mental health has also been positive as only one respondent who listened to music during pregnancy experienced postpartum depression. Also, those respondents who listened to music even after delivering the baby experienced no postpartum depression or anxiety.
Maternal health and care are an essential topic and detailed research on this topic is needed for the betterment of society and future generations. Since the size of the sample in this study was limited, it is suggested that a similar study must be conducted with a bigger sample size to confirm the findings of this study. Also, a similar study can be conducted for a different geographical area or community.