Researchers in Taiwan randomly assigned 116 pregnant women to a music group and 120 to a control group.
Four pre-recorded 30-minute music CDs were created and featured music that mimicked the human heart rate at between 60 and 80 beats per minute.
One CD included lullabies featuring composers such as Brahms, a classical CD included pieces by Beethoven, another CD contained nature sounds and a crystals CD included Chinese children’s rhymes and songs.
Women in the music group listened to music for 30 minutes a day for two weeks and the control group did not listen to the CDs.
Before they took part in the study, women in the music group scored 17.44 on the perceived stress scale, which ranges from 0 to 30.
After intervention stress levels had dropped by an average of 2.15, while women in control reported a fall of just 0.92.
Anxiety scores fell by 2.13 to 37.92 in the music group, and rose by 0.71 in the control group, depression was measured by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression scale, also ranging from zero to 30.
Music group reported an average level of 12.11 before intervention and reduction of 1.84 after the two-week period. Anxiety scores in the control group fell by a clinically insignificant 0.03.