Listening to music during pregnancy may increase levels of wellbeing and reduce symptoms of postnatal depression in the first 3 months after giving birth

In July 2018 researchers from the UK published the results of their study to assess whether listening to music during pregnancy is associated with lower levels of postnatal depression and higher well-being in mothers following birth. A total of 395 new mothers, aged over 18, were included in the study. Information on time spent listening to music was collected in the third trimester of pregnancy, and at 0-3 and 4-6 months after giving birth, with the length of time being categorised as rarely; a couple of times a week; every day up to 1 hour; every day 1-2 hours; every day 3-5 hours; every day 5+hrs’. Each individual was also assessed for post-natal depression. Results showed that listening to music during pregnancy was associated with a higher level of wellbeing and reduced symptoms of post-natal depression in the first 3 months after giving birth. However, these effects disappeared by 4-6 months. It was noted that this result was particularly seen in women with lower levels of wellbeing and higher levels of depression at the time the study began.

Fancourt D, Perkins R. Could listening to music during pregnancy be protective against postnatal depression and poor wellbeing post birth? Longitudinal associations from a preliminary prospective cohort study. BMJ Open. 2018 Jul 17;8(7):e021251

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