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International Day of the Midwife
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What are the therapeutic effects of music upon childbearing women and neonates?
Caroline J. Hollins Martin PhD MPhil BSc ADM PGCE RMT RM RGN MBPsS
Professor in Maternal Health, Edinburgh Napier University
The therapeutic effects of music are well recognised in the literature. People who listen to music that they enjoy have been shown to experience increased levels of natural serotonin (a monoamine neurotransmitter), which creates a more relaxed state. Provisional evidence supports that there are therapeutic benefits from women and neonates listening to music, with research reports citing benefits in terms of reducing stress, anxiety, labour pain and depression in childbearing women, and number of days to discharge, reduced pain response behaviours, increased weight gain, improved Brazelton scores, improved parent/infant intimacy, improved oxygen saturation, increased formula intake, stabilized vital signs and calming in neonates. In response, it is recommended that a music package be developed for midwives and neonatal nurses to use in clinical practice. Also, more research is recommended in this area to develop the body of knowledge. Since evidence supports advantages from childbearing women and neonates listening to music, it is suggested that maternity professionals use it in more creative ways.
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