Music seems to offer a note of pain relief for women during childbirth.
A study done at two hospitals in Thailand found music can reduce the sensation of labour pain and delay the emotional distress that may accompany childbirth.
The study included two groups of women, aged 20 to 30, all having their first baby. Women in one group chose from among five types of calming music and listened to it for the first three hours in hospital after their active labour started.
The women in the second group received standard care during labour. Standard care at the two hospitals was to not give analgesic medication to women in labour because of its effect on the infants.
Much less pain and distress
The women's reports of labour pain were measured during the first three hours of labour. The women who listened to music had much less pain and distress than the women in the other group.
The study notes that better pain management during labour may speed a woman's recovery after childbirth and improve the mother-infant relationship.