Background: Perinatal anxiety affects the antenatal woman, the growing fetus, and the newborn. This systematic review evaluated the effect of listening to music on perinatal anxiety among pregnant women and on newborn behaviors. No available reviews focus on interventions that include only classical forms of music or its benefit on perinatal anxiety among low-risk pregnant women or on newborn behaviors. Methods: We included peer-reviewed primary research studies on the effect of music on perinatal anxiety, published in English, between January 2010 and August 2022. PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and ProQuest were searched using specific keywords, resulting in 225 studies for screening by title, abstract, and full text. Two independent reviewers screened them and assessed the quality of the included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) using Cochrane’s Risk of Bias 2.0 tool (RoB2) and non-randomized controlled trial studies using the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal tool. Due to the heterogeneity of outcome measures, the review’s findings were summarized qualitatively. Results: Nine studies with 1646 pregnant women and one with 260 pregnant women and their neonates were included. Results of all studies suggest that listening to classical music reduces the anxiety levels among pregnant women, as measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Only one study reported the beneficial effect of antenatal exposure to music on improving newborn behaviors like orientation (ES 1.13, 95% CI: 0.82–1.44, P < 0.0001) and habituation (ES 1.05, 95% CI: 0.53–1.57, P = 0.0001). The risk of bias was unclear in most of the studies. Conclusions: Listening to classical music during the perinatal period may be an effective non-pharmacological intervention for reducing anxiety and pain and improving sleep quality and newborn behaviors. There is a need to conduct further interventional studies on the types of music provided and their effects on perinatal health outcomes. Registration of the Protocol: The review was prospectively registered in PROSPERO 2021 CRD42021256806.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-572
Number of pages8
JournalIndian Journal of Psychological Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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